Well, I am a happy little bunny at the moment as I have just finished a 10 day sojourn in Bangkok while waiting for my new carnet de passage to arrive.
It's here today and I can now leave for Malaysia tomorrow. I am not very fond of big cities but the enforced stay here was quite comfortable and it enabled me to buy a new camera, have an xray done on my leg) which felt
miraculously better as soon as I forked out the money) and meet some more nice people including fellow overlanders Suzy and Bernard from Germany and Austria who are going in the opposite direction on a KTM. I've also
watched a few movies at the guest houses, taken lots of river taxis on the Bangkok river and been to a pottery island. It has actually been great to know where I am going to lay my head each night.
The weather has
been fairly reasonable, humid but not too hot and I have done quite a bit of walking around the sights of Bangkok and also taught some yoga asanas to local Thais who saw me doing them in the park. Also have had a chance
to practise on Chiang, my fiddle.
Just a quick comment on my journey down here from Nong Khai from where I sent the last report.
I was accompanied by Richard, the American biker to the Sculpture park on the
outskirts of Nong Khai. Huge brick based figures mortered over. The park was the inspired work of one man whose body was in a glass dome in an adjoining building. Supposedly, though he has been dead for a number of
years the mortal remains have not disintegrated and his hair still grows (!?) Since the dome was behind closed doors, albeit glass, at the distance it was impossible to check this out. (would you really want to?)
Anyway, from there, when Richard went home to Sunday lunch I carried on south, following the Mekong but only made about 250kms.The road was easy but boring, apart from a diversion to a waterfall, and I was glad to find
a friendly wat to sleep in in a small but interesting town. On my evening walk to find my normal meal of Pad Thai (fried noodles with veg and peanuts) I found some amazing stores that sold everything. Rather like 100
peseta shops in Spain. In one there was a variety of bells for hanging round animals necks and they were so melodious that I bought one for my own neck. The reasoning for this is that, with my record of losing things
the next would be my self. I tinkled merrily all the way back to the wat and a few heads turned.
After a blessing by the Abbott over breakfast next morning with the wat residents I did a very long days ride. Flat
boring road and my leg was aching. The wat in the town I was aiming for was not quite so peaceful, instead of chanting they had a big PA system blasting out music and , instead of the usual indoor quarters, I was
assigned a concrete platform with pagoda style roof. At least it kept the rain off the tent.
I was aiming for an area near the Cambodian border where there are some Khymer temples built in the same era and style as
Angkor Wat, but on a much smaller scale. After poking about in some off road areas I found them, some in better condition than others, and the nicer ones were worth the trouble of finding them. Not too many tourists so
good photo material. That night saw me in yet another Wat, where there was peaceful chanting but, once the sun went down the frog chorus was so loud I couldn't hear myself playing the fiddle.
I had been given a
contact in the area I was heading by Choo's family in KL so I rang them and Mike came to meet me in Khorat and took me home to meet his wife, Pranee and some of their large family. They belong to a Christian group
called The Family which has contacts in many countries and they were very kind, letting me relax, do my washing, watch telly and stay the night. I sang some songs and taught them the Brown jug polka, as my contribution
and was glad to have a day off as my leg was still aching and I was finding it difficult to walk.
Skip and Rachel, who I met in Phonsavan, Laos, had told me of a nice Homestay in an area about 100kms east of Bangkok.
To stay there would put me in a good position to ride into the city early enough to get a room at Lamphu House where my post was coming to. So I found the homestay which was a delightful bungalow in a hilly area near a
dam. Hiring a bicycle, I spent a very pleasant day exploring the area and would have stayed another day if I hadn't finished my reading material.
Finally, I rode into the dreaded city. What a nightmare the traffic is.
However, no sign of the carnet and no room at the inn. However, I got established in another cheaper guest house and just kept checking there and so it all worked out in the end.
Yesterday I took the train out to the
ancient Thai capitol of Ayatthaya and, in bicycling round the old temple ruins, found an elephant kraal where a Thai philanthropist is funding looking after retired elephants, rehabilitating roque elephants and has set
up a breeding program. He is being aided in this work by some dedicated Australians and they have initiated a program whereby people can sponsor an elephant and actually come and stay in specially built accomadation so
they can live with their elephant on holiday.
For more details of this scheme log on to