Thailand Power of Ten Update -28 Oct
Heading out north
We have finally negotiated our way out north east of Bangkok and are heading towards Ayutthaya which we hope to skirt to the east as well. Then we will cut in west and join some smaller farm roads that we have seen that run in the same direction as the main road called the “Asian highway” and then head north. There is a river that we want to follow up towards Cheng Mai. The heat is unbearable; from 11:30 until 2 it is killer, then the massive cumulonimbus clouds climb up to about 20 000 feet. The sky blackens. The tell-tale sign is there is a little wind that gets sucked into the clouds, it then turn and pushes back as the sky blackens spurring on the lightning and thunder and all hell breaks loose and down the rain comes in bucket loads. Within seconds it’s just a flood everywhere. But back on the road in the worst of the heat as we toil down the track, the Thai folk are amazing. Little kids will drive down the road on their bikes, fetch us ice cold water. People will stop in their car and do the same. You stop just to ask directions and a woman quickly runs into her home and comes out with a tray of ice cold water and glasses for us. What a special country.
A place to sleep
We haven’t quite managed the art of finding a place to camp yet. Our Thai communication skills are zero so this is a mission. We have the video with the cab driver requesting a place to pitch a tent, but not too successful. We are actually wondering what he said. Last night we hit luck at a Buddhist temple. Really great guys. We were given permission to sleep in the main hall. But we were not informed of a service that was to take place shortly. We were just bedding down on our mats ready to rest our weary bodies and in trooped the monks followed by the town folk and the chanting began. An hour later everyone disappeared as quietly as they had arrived. The monks then returned with fruit, water and were intent on making sure that we were happy and content before they left.
One old monk remained, (our guard) rolled out his mat about 10 metres from us, but was armed with a small TV set that he then switched on and proceeded to watch some program, very high pitched, whiney and at full blast all night. 4:30 in the morning he shot up, hopped onto a 3 wheeler bicycle laden with bowls of food and headed out into the dawn – peace at last.
Finally the open road
We are about 90 km out of Bangkok and finally seeing the beauty of the Thai countryside that we were dreaming of running. Deep water canals, km after km of rice paddies, little villages and country folk meandering through the green fields tending to the crops as the sprout and preparing the soil for new fields to be planted. Thank goodness I had the tranquil countryside to take my mind off the road and heat. It was a hard day for me. We now pushed up to 40km. I haven’t run for 4 weeks due to a calf strain, so my fitness is a bit down but getting there. Another few days and I should be into that autopilot mode. It takes a few days to also get the food sorted.
What we have quickly found out is that there is no need to cook along the way. There are so many little eateries along the road cooking fantastic food. So it’s just stop and sit-down and within 5 minutes you have a great meal. It’s probably some of the best food that I have had on a trip. This evening we managed to get permission to sleep at the back of the local police HQ, a concrete slab, a bucket shower, a power point and life rocks!