Post #5 Chaing Rai day2

Day 8 Days to go 1072 It’s 6.40pm sitting in the night bazaar listening to a three piece Thai folk band if there’s such a thing. It’s really beautiful soaking up the music and aromas so what a great place to end an awesome day ipod’ing what’s happened. The day started perfect skyping my partner at early o’clock so I had to excuse myself for a couple more hours sleep ready for another Skype session a bit later. Have I told you how much I love the Internet. I then spent some time packing up ready to head to chaing kong tomorrow via Mae chan and chaing saen then along the Mekong into chaing kong. I thought I’d start to include some place names for the geographically interest especially my Pops xxx it should take about 2 days. I decided to stay another day here it’s really lovely and time is a luxury I do have to a degree, I was feeling a bit weary from the heat and k’s from the last days but feeling good tonight how could I not. Whilst packing I made friends with the house keeper Dang and her helper, Dang has 3 children 10, 8 and 1 and is raising them as a single mum, fun naughty lady so into sharing stories. I showed her all my gear, maps and wedding ring but “no children” much to her very sad face, lovely lovely time spent sharing their respectful intrigue and giggles. I popped back into the hotel durind the day to drop some and I hear “Moree!!!” it was Dang with a Powerade gel for me how gorgeous, I headed to the tourist info to find out how to best head and again the guy was fascinated and wished me God’s protection and safe travel watch out for trucks-his broken English was excellent. On that more Dang taught me thankyou the word for the day which I regimately used all day awesome “khawp Kuhn kha”to the store Man I bought bananas from. Another to the checkout girls at the super market where I bought another tofu hit. And again to the bakery lady who was selling these tiny pastries filled with a fruit paste for 1 baht each yum. And so on …. I came across this buddhist monastery that grabbed attention with the old whitewashed Temple at the rear of the more modern one. Wow what a great find I spent ages there loving it’s age and tradition. Blue dog and Miss Jane even made a cameo appearance climbing the statues up to all sorts of mischief. It started getting dark so I road around town checking the exit route for Tomorrow something I forget to do in chaing Mai oppsy and now sitting very content in the night markets. I like this place allot so I hope you enjoy the photos. Heading back to the hotel soon sadly but it’s An early night for these little legs after uploading this post and photos from the day. Favorite part of the day mmmmmm right now thinking about what a great day it’s been and sharing it with you. Least favourite that it has to end. Tomorrows another day yay onwards to chaing kong. Talk soon x ps thankyou to everyone for your comments x I have taken some videos but still trying to work how to attach these – I’ll get to that one – right now – Photos uploaded nd time for zzzzzzzz

Post # 4 – Chaing Rai

Day 8 Days to go 1072 – It’s 7.46pm Wed 7/11/2011 and I am in downtown Chaing Rai. I’m on my iPod typing this as I have finally convinced the blog to upload my fav photos. It’ll take some time so I’m multi media-ing it. This morning started beautifully with Munee putting on a free breakfast, the THai lads working there giving me
Some intro Thai lessons, a handful of photos and two bottles water and I was on my way. The countryside here was beautiful: rice fields started to pop up, lots of farming land and street stalls along the way. My Thai word for today was sa-wat-dii kha or hello and it was fun calling it out to the locals with a big head nod and grin yay. It’s more hillier country as you head north but the road managed to wind its way through as opposed to over another yay. 65 km for the day and I arrived to find a cool hotel 200baht, laundry my very smelly gear 30baht, stock up on some supplies 170baht including the biggest wod of tofu I could find for a protein hit. The town looks really relaxed and I’ll enjoy checking it out more tonight and early tomorrow before heading off to Chaing Kong the border town with Laos. From there it’s a long boat ride to Luang Prabang along the Mekong. I thought this could be a cool way meet the river I ll be following for the next weeks-it’s a bonding thing. I met some lovely people today a girl from Sweden who showed me the hotel and a guy from chili both were very excited about my trip which was really fun to chat about with them. They had a few tips
On chili and Norway which really interesting. At a set of lights this fella pulled up alongside peddling one of those cycles where you lay back and peddle in a seated position. In that short time he told me he had cycles around Thailand during the floods and to be safe and to invest in side mirrors. he was this very tanned and wrinkled all smiles character who has reminded me to be very vigilant with the sunscreen and moisturizer. someone asked from an earlier blog what a buddhist prayer gesture was. Hands are in a praying position in front of your face with a short bow to the person. There’s a real strong Buddhist culture present and each of the towns are centered around their main wat or temple. Even the tiny villages pride themselves on their temple which is kept on as best state of ornate I’m sure they can manage. Given the amount of people that live humbly on their farming produce their hearts seem calm and happy. Of course the bigger towns and cities have their share of those living a western lifestyle but there seems a stronger sense of character amongst the more rural people at least what I’ve seen so far. That’s my favorite part of today exchanging sa wat dii kha’s with the roadside stall folk. Least favorite: mmmmmm waiting for the photos to upload into WordPress when I can here the night bazaar just around the corner. I’m on the lookout for some fruit on ice or another coconut ice-cream mmmmm why choose both sounds perfect. Costs 495 baht plus desert to come. Talk soon. X

Post #3 – Closer to Chaing Rai

Day 7 Days to go 1073 – It’s 7.45pm Tues 6/12/11. I am sitting in an open area common room at Mohn mye horn resort I’m guessing about 60km from Chaing Rai. That sounds a bit flash for a $15 Aus a day girl or about 400 baht. No I didn’t pay the 2000 baht per night. It got to ‘the end of the day’ o’clock about 5pm when I started asking locals where I may sleep. I kept getting waved onto this place. Here I was met by the owner ‘Munee’ who in his best English told me the cost and in the same breath apologised knowing I wouldn’t be able to afford it. I then asked if he had a quiet spot I could camp and here I am. He didn’t accept any baht and gave me two yogurts and a bottle of water instead. Kind is the word. I promised him a plug on the blog which he did graciously accept so I’ll post his own to say thank you. I’m loving the Thai people. What I ‘m appreciating most is the warm generosity comes from the richer and the poorer. Last night I’m staying at a tiny rural home and tonight I’m soaking up the lavish all given in kind. I even managed a decent bird bath in the female amenities so I’m feeling a million bucks. I started today by having a photo with by all accounts the grandad of the extended family living on the farm. He was sitting in the sun watching the mushrooms dry literally and was very happy to have his photo taken. The ride was really hilly this morning. One thing I have learnt early about cycle touring is that it teaches humiliation 101. It’s not very glamourous pushing your bike and trailer up hills that get too long and steeps for these little legs at least. However once over the range it was downhill (max speed 52.8 yay) and flat for the next section which was great. I stopped for a break at a local road stall and had my first thai noodle soup with green veg, peanuts and chilli Yum (35baht or $1.50). Tummy rumbles tonight but who cares when travelling solo 🙂 All carbed up it was a really enjoyable afternoon even the last couple of hours which were back in the hills. I went through a town and saw a wifi sign in front of a cafe’ so for the price of an expresso (30baht) I got onto the internet yay. I tested sending a post via the ipod using what I typed last night from the notes application so I hope it worked. i didn’t proof read it first so please excuse the grammar. I put dido on the ipod today for some inspiration to get up and over one of the more trickier climbs. It chomped into the battery life so tonight I’m using my solar charger for the first time and it’s working yay. I’ve got such a great range of safety toys thanks to my genius partner so it’s fun to play with them now in real time to have more of a clue about how great they are. I’ll be all IT savy in no time 😉 So the stats for today. Distance 78km, Costs 85 baht, Favorite moment: the whole day. least favorite: my first decent puppy attack who chased me for about 50m with the sound of my growling back at him echoing in the hills. Life’s good and all going well I’ll be in Chaing Rai tomorrow arc. It’ll be good to share some photos. I have a slide show going on my camera and it doesn’t take long to collect some cool memories. Ipod all charged its te for bed. Talk soon x

Post #2 – Out of Chaing mai

Day 6 Days to Go 1074 – Day 1 touring distance . Location somewhere 47.38kms from Chaing Mai on route to Chaing Rai. I decided to do a diary log using my ipod notes app (great great toy) so I can share the day as its had rather than the next time I have access to internet. As I am currently trying to stretch out a cramp in my left hammy as I type my thoughts go straight to the temp today. I nearly threw out my gatorade container trying to cull some weight and thank goodnes I had a change of heart. I was literally eating it today. I have drunk 4litres of water 2 with gaterade and counless mouthfulls of the powder to top up and my legs are still complaining go figure. But given all the weather types I’ll encounter along the way today has been perfect but hot and sweaty like I havn’t experienced. There was a long hill climb 1 hour out and I had my first encounter with heat stress. I was saved by a Budhist shrine of sorts 3/4 way up the hill where I stopped to recover. Passing cars were all beaping their horn and doing a budhist gesture out the window in respect. I was trying to stay out of view so not to offend. It was a cool experience using a shaded spot as a sanctuary out of the heat and it being a shrine. I had stopped once i out of the city to put my hat, gloves and bike pants on cause my but was already complaining. Funny how perspective kicks in as the heat was far more distressing and needless to say all the gear I had put on including my sports bra came off. Once the body temp came down I headed off again and was very happy to know the top wasn’t far off. I let out the biggest cheer going down the other side. Unfortunately there was many more hills to come today but not as steep. I came across lots of little villages with people selling their produce and got a couple of great picks. At about 5pm I had had enough the legs were cramping and I needed to stop. Unfortunately I have no guide book so it was on the lookout for accomodation options. I came across this rest place with a shop and house and acted out of I could pitch my tent in their yard offering baht. The woman said it was ok and refused any payment and I gave her the biggest hug much to her surprised look. I encountered a few puppies today guiding their farms and have quickly developed this bellowing growl driven by the adrenaline dump reaction I experience when They come snarling at my heals. It’s worked so far so i’m going with it. I was later leaving today as I met this young couple of girls from the States that had all sorts of questions about getting an Aussie work visa that I had no idea about but they were fun and keen to chat about travel. One gave me a silver dollar for good luck how cool. I met this expat in the internet cafe who was telling me of his adventures in Thailand of the last 4 years. He was keen for my card and to follow the blog. He tried to help me find some kero for the stove but no luck so far, I’m typing now eating the still dehydrated food which is yum still like a vegy style beaf jerky. I also met these 2 guys from the States who are mad cyclists and bailed me up on my bike yesterday with lots of Qs and advice. They said they would be in touch with some hints cycling USA and said I was welcome to stay with them also very cool. They were all excited about my blog and loved the card. It’s turing out to be a good idea and a way of sharing what I doing with people I meet yay. I must say I’m pretty happy with day one now done and spot checker sent with I’m here safe, healthy and happy given a bit weary. I was thinking today it could be cool to include some trivia to end each blog like distance travelled, average costs per day and my best and least favourite moments since last post. So on that closing note distance 47.83 Odometre 368.2 average speed 14.5km/hr baht spent today 45. Favourite moment – easy hands down the generosity of my host family. My favourite thing about Thailand from what little I have seen is the people – they are truley lovely and clearly influenced by a budhist approach. Least mmm close runnings between seeing a steep inclide coming road sign and very protective puppies but I’d say given my cramping leg musles tonight that the hills take the crap award. again it’s a matter of perspective and I know this is all very small in the grand picture. I am safe and well and happy to be sharing my first day with you. x

Post # 1 – Chaing Mai Thailand

Day 5 Days to Go 1075 – Hi there.  It’s Monday morning 5/12/2011 here time and I’ve found an internet café for the inaugural virgin post for shecyclesolo. I can’t believe it’s only 48hours after touchdown Chaing Mai.  Leaving was emotionally harder than I imagined and the flight and transit seems a blur now.  The next 1080 days isn’t intended a holiday and I wasn’t really prepared for the moment of letting go of the logistics phase and entering into a whole new world literally.  Let’s say it’s been a transition from the overwhelming to now feeling ready to rock and roll.  What has helped is a newfound insight for the gift of internet: to video skype with my partner and exchange emails with my family.  We are not so far part and I am certainly not alone in this adventure.  Plus it definitely helped to have a loving upper cut from one of my sisters to get on with it one peddle and post at a time.  But enough of the heavy… 🙂 

 I head today for Chaing Rai then onto the border town of Chaing Konginto Loas in about 5 days.  Chaing Mai has been a trip for the senses and an amazing beginner’s introduction to Asian travel.  The local people are colorful, friendly, helpful, and down to earth and respond warmly and graciously to the universal smile.  I’ve made a point to catch the eyes of locals and smile with a nod.  Local people speak little English so it’s been an entertaining mix of acting, drawing, laughing and trying again.  Thai folk away from the tourist centers are keen and patient to understand.  Plus I think I have been a source of amusement in my efforts. For a seemingly hectic place the people are relaxed and polite and move around each other with an ease that works.  There is lots of honking and beeping but no aggression in it.  It’s a language of its own used to communicate to people and other traffic goers – and there’s a whole mix out on the roads spilling onto the footpaths: Cars, mopeds, cyclist pedestrians, dogs, cats, and taxis of all sorts. 

Everyone seems to have a street sense or a survival sense I’m guessing.  Moving around the place there is a theme of food and more food and the sight and aromas from street stands and stores is intoxicating.  Of course there are heaps of shops and stores selling cheap everything aimed at the tourists.  That seems to be the dominant industry catering for the visitor.  Children are used allot providing street entertainment to gain sentiment and baht.  There is of course some begging but there’s also many other disadvantaged persons particularly handicapped attempting to entertain for pay as opposed to just begging.

To get away from the tourist traps I have peddled my way around over the last two days and have loved every moment.  The centre is a walled old town with a moat and wall remnants still land marking the old quarter.  Outside the old town is more Chaing Mai municipal but a bustling mix of old and new.  Markets are another main theme: Food and more food, clothing, flowers, and mixed wares.  The temples or ‘wats’ are focal points for stores to attract the tourists.  The temples themselves are ornate classically decorated with gold and colored trims.  Most I have seen are still active places of worship by a very present Buddhist culture.  It is the common practice by every day folk to meet, greet and thank with a Buddhist style prayer bow.  It’s very warming and compelling to mirror back which continues to be a cool experience. 

I have dealt with the initial shock of it all by getting out there amongst it literally on my bike playing in and with the traffic all sorts.  I have quickly established a security regime with my valuables and that has been great for my confidence in being able move around and do things safely and confidently.  It’s been really fun taking picks to capture the initial 48 hours.  I’m so glad I took a few days to experience Chaing Mai, find my feet and settle into new look day-to-day. 

I have managed this morning to attach a few of those but the internet is slow and you have a sample only.  I add the rest when I get the chance but it’s a taste. On the photos the old man was sitting with his wordly possession smoking a cuban cigar how random.  He was all smiles with no teeth and loved his photo when I showed him.  My first Thai food was a tofu kabab thing drissled with thai chille sauce yum followed by coconut icecream for desert double yum – vegetarian style of course, 

So today is the start of touring and my first spot check GPS location will be uploaded at the end of the day.  I won’t get going until after 11am as I have to now check out.  Lets see how far I get on route to Chaing Rai.  One thing I know for is that it’s going to be an amazing ride.  All the senses are firing with the saturation of everything new and this is a very cool good good thing.  One peddle and post at a time as I wiser woman advised (x).  Thankyou for sharing post #1.  Talk soon. 


Here we go . . .

Thought I’d share part of a letter from my sisters.  “We have to take risks – we can only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen….The danger of an adventure is worth a thousand days of ease and comfort” (Author unknown).  To which my sisters added … and what’s with the risk and excitement of 1080 days of adventure?

Ruby and her trailer, companions Blue Dog and Miss Jane and I leave Brisbane tonight 11.45pm arriving Chaing Mai 10.30am 2/12/2011.  I’ll be the one wearing the ‘who’s idea was this?’ look and grasping my St Christopher and Flower of Life pendants and wedding ring for comfort.

Thank you for all the help and love that has supported me over the last 7 months of preparations.

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves (Shakespeare)

I’ll be talking soon . . .here we go!!!!!!

‘She’s looking good Vern’

Far Side fans will appreciate this?  This is one of my favourites.  Picture 2 bulls and a blow up cow and you get the gist of my excitement loading up the cycle-trailer  yesterday.  I needed to check if the gear would pack into the space and generally she’s looking good.  On that note instead of she please meet ‘Ruby’.  Ruby was my 40th birthday present from my partner  in 2007.  Her specs have been somewhat modified for better weight , carriage, and maintenance but she’s still a spicy thing.  Ruby and I will share a great deal including tent space at night to keep her safe.  As such we’ve been bonding.  Like all virgo’s we’ve had our share of tiffs over housekeeping and the remote.   Lucky the X-factor has brought us together and we’re buds now for the road ahead.

She won’t like me saying this but her weight is a bit dodge.  We have to cull and repack.  Her weight in the panniers needs to be minimal with most packed low in her front trailer.  The trailer takes up to 32 kilos but I’m aiming for 15 without water.  I’m very light frame so 15 kilos seems like a good weight/strength ratio.  This will also reduce trailer wobbles.  Thus us girls have to shed some k’s by sorting extras from essentials.  It appears Ruby can be checked in as special baggage on the same flight .  Unaccompanied baggage was almost double with up to 14 days delay in arrival.  So in short she can be 15kilos and I’m allowed 20 with 7 hand luggage.  We’re onto it!!  Weight aside she is looking good even with the dinky yellow flag.

Confessions of a Vagabond

Forgive me it has been 2 weeks since my last post…… Can you believe it? The last 2 weeks is up there for significance. Each morning a smiling soon-to-be nomadic vagabond greets me in the mirror.  Apparently the change fits well if the smile is any indication.  I have loved sharing bon voyage time with family and friends.  It reminds me that despite soloing it a while I am still very much connected.  This counts!! Thankyou xo.

I have uploaded a few photos to share with permission.

I pack and weigh my gear today to consider transport options given I will have excess weight.  Apparently you can book unaccompanied luggage ahead at less cost than excess baggage.  I’ll do some weighing before I call Brisbane airport baggage services to enquire further. I promise a snapshot to share how the cycle set up will look peddling outbound Chiang Mai on the 2/12/2011.  PS My bike is red mmmmmmmmm shiny pretty.

Red is definitely the colour of speed and sex however given my marital status and the nature of solo travel a speed focus seems far more appropriate 🙂 On that note my partner arrives home from offshore deployment on Tuesday 1/11/11 yay!  We head to New Zealand on the 4/11/11 for a two-week hike near Arthur’s Pass South Island.  It will be a beautiful time for us to share and celebrate important goals met.  It will also be an awesome way to try out some IT gear for the trip.

Talk soon! M 🙂