Thailand Power of Ten Update – 9 Nov
With any of these adventure runs, the mind plays the biggest part.
You can plan and plan and plan as much as you want, try and work out a route to follow, where to stay and the rest – I am sorry, none of this will ever pan out as you planned. You just have to take it day by day. This is where mental strength and mental resilience comes into play. One needs to build the mental ability to block out every little distraction around you and focus on getting through the day.
I have been struggling with this; I have been distracted through various outside issues that are blurring my focus. When this happens you find your ability to deal with fatigue, heat hunger are no longer there and they grind away at your resolve. You keep hitting little walls all day, instead of smashing through them and bounding on the other side as if nothing has happened. Each hard patch I hit I am stumbling a bit, finding it difficult to grind through – I want it and I want it bad, but just can’t click in at the moment – then 5 km on I see a long hill and I punish myself for the weakness I have shown, only for this to come back and bite me again.
I think the yoyo mindset that I am trying to come to terms with is also affecting Andy’s rhythm. I am working on it. It’s always around the 35 km mark for the day that I seem to go flat, but once I have eaten, I am up and out there again smashing the next 15 km to the 50 km mark.
Well I still have a good few days to find that rhythm. I find that I am waking up every morning with this nervous feeling in my stomach, what am I going to deal with today and how I will keep hardening my mindset?
For the past two evenings we have stayed at schools and on both occasions were assisted by really cool teachers.
At the first school we met Jet, the school’s deputy director, who let us camp on the grass outside his home. He then ordered us a really cool take away meal from the local market that was scooted up by the chef and her son in about 6 pots on their bike.
We set up our camp table and chairs just as the sun was setting and the swarms of mosquitos were coming out to play. The chef then laid out this little feast for us plus a mountain of rice that would scare even a hungry local. Jet joined us for our dinner which was really cool as he could explain the different dishes of food as well as some interesting stories about Thailand and the highly respected King who recently passed away. Eventually the mosquitos got the better of us and we had to abandon our after meal chatter and coffee, scattering for the sanctity of our tents and protection from the piranhas with wings.
The next evening Pete found us another school who offered us a place to stay. The teacher, Patti, said we could stay at her home just down the road – just down the road in Thailand is quite a trek, but well worth it.
She had this incredible little cottage at the back of her parent’s property. (By the way we were told that her father was a policeman). What a special person she turned out to be. She did our laundry, cooked us this really tasty wholesome fried chicken dish; what a great home stay this was.
The best of all was that her English was excellent and we could gain some more insights into what lay ahead for us. I will never forget the farewell in the morning as she hopped out of her room in her pyjamas as if it was normal gear to bid us farewell.
Things are getting more and more rural as we head north from Bangkok.
I have always found on these journeys that the further you get off the beaten track and begin meandering into the heartland of a country and dive deep into the little rural villages, so too do the folk become more suspicious of you.
Our main problem is we tend to bound into villages out of a rice paddy or some little track, dogs going wild, chickens squawking and folk look up in amazement at what has just walked into their town. Where do they come from, where are they going- tourists are never seen here. On top of this, we now try and ask for a place to stay in broken “Thaiengchineese” (Then we wonder why we get these strange looks).
Now the whole village knows about us and we are palmed off from place to place as we try to explain we would like to get permission to stay at the Temple or school. We are just looked at with great doubt and suspicion. You can bet on it, the call has already been made to the local Police station. Eventually with very little help and a few diversions we find the local temple a km out of town and the whole game of “charades” starts again, as we try to explain our trip, why, when, where we are going, flying arms, video clips and gestures. The local monk finally agreed to put us up for the night.
We are sent right at the end of the property, we always seem to be sent there every time. There is normally a beautiful shrine with a very high long turret and next to this, you will find an open structure with a roof where we pitch our tent, but the biggest bonus, there is always a toilet block with a bucket shower. This is the standard spot we get. (We only found out last night on closer inspection, this is the crematorium where the burn outs are held – not so cool any more, but getting used to it)
We had just settled in and the Law arrives; this was our first encounter. I must admit, he handled us in a really friendly manner. Out came the phone, he photographed our number plate, passports, got the three of us to stand together, did a group picture of us 3, a bit of chit chat and he was out of there.
From tiny little hamlets along the winding roads between the rice paddies to little shacks along the truck roots or carts that have grown into the sidewalk they have been there so long.
Then there are the bigger ramshackle timber and sheet iron roadside restaurants in the towns with shredded canvas adds flapping in the doorways, held together with multipurpose electrical wire bringing life to the numerous fans that breathe a breath of fresh air into the humid steamy eatery.
You can stop at any one of these and randomly point at any dish on the chalk board and you are going to have a feast. A lot will only specialise in one dish, others may do three or four, but they are always a taste sensation. The most common thing one has to get used to is you will never get what you order, but it does not matter. We often go into in-depth discussion on what we would like and everyone nods in agreement and you get the thumbs up, which normally means I don’t know what the heck you have ordered but will bring it.
In your mind you have this plate of fried beef, garlic rice and spinach you have been dreaming of all day. Then here it comes with this massive friendly smile – the chicken stew…