Thursday, March 05, 2015

North Thailand - Chiang Mai and Bangkok

Pai to Chiang Mai.

The road from Pai to Chiang Mai is just another 136km. More meandering roads were expected in this stretch. At one point the bend was 90 degrees and up a 45 degrees incline.

Nearing Chiang Mai, I had a small mishap. Maybe I was too tired. While we were stuck in the traffic, I rest my back against my backpack on the rear. I got a little too comfortable and ended up falling to the side, almost knocking the tuk tuk next to me. The tuk tuk driver got out and checked on her vehicle immediately. A chap on a motorcycle nearby, stopped and scrambled to help me up. Once he checked that I was ok, he quickly left. I did not even get a chance to know his name and thank him.

The mishap cost me a broken right mirror and 500baht to replace it.

Just right next to where I fell, was an optical shop. For the past few days, Wei Jie's glass frame was flimsily held up with tapes. We decided to stop for a rest while waiting for Wei Jie's glasses to be fixed.

We dropped by Riders' Corner again as Wei Jie and Cherie have yet to say hi to Philip.

It has been 6 days since I left Chiang Mai on my own to meet the rest. Philip asked me how did it go?

I shrugged my shoulders and said "OOkkkkk...." with no mention about what happened earlier. I did not feel like talking about what happened.

Philip's wife kindly asked if we have our accommodation settled. Riders' Corner was already full so she brought us to another guest house nearby.
Food Festival in Chiang Mai
Mobile ATM. They clamped the wheel so you cannot drive it away.
Number of units for the following blood types.
Doppelganger of Wedge's bike. He got a rude shock when he first saw it, thinking his bike was stolen.
This poor dog's face became a canvas probably for some drunken after a Christmas Party.
Wei Jie had been raving about Mike's Original. Nah, conversion failed!

Train ride back to Bangkok

Mike and I headed back to Bangkok on a overnight train while Cherie and Wei Jie continued on to Laos.

Without a bike now, it means that I had to lug my belonging everywhere I go. My load included my riding jacket, pants and helmet because I would not be wearing them any more. Just then, part of the backpack strap snapped. The temporary fixing of the strap did not provide good ergonomics for my back.

Riding gears, half dried laundry and 4 cameras packed into this.
Uncle Mike prepping his bike for loading onto the train.
From this
To this within minutes!
First thing I did was to set up a laundry line to dry my clothes.
For this trip, all I booked and planned was the flight ticket and nothing else. It turned out that I have to stay one night in Bangkok. A few months before, I befriended Yuki while rock climbing in Krabi. She lives and works in Bangkok so I contacted her to meet up. Upon knowing that I have not arranged for a place to stay, Yuki kindly offered to put me up at her place. 

The train arrived in the early hours. After Uncle Mike's bike was unloaded from the train, we had our breakfast. His ambitious plan was to ride from Bangkok to Hatyai in a day. That was more than 900km!

After I washed up myself at the station, Uncle Mike made his trip south before the peak hour traffic thronged the roads. 

As it was still very early in the morning, I stored my luggage and explored the vicinity while waiting for Yuki.

When I met Yuki, I tried to sputter some broken Japanese to her. After returning from Japan a month earlier, I realised I had forgotten most.

Being a polyglot, especially in a foreign setting, it can be quite challenging to get the language frequency in tune. Throughout our time together, she sometimes speak to me in Thai accidentally and sometimes in Japanese. At times, I understood and replied her, many times, I could not. Each time a language confusion happens, it gets us tickling.




Crazily steep steps.




View of Wat Chalong from Chao Praya. Yuki said she likes to take boat ride here when she needs some contemplative moments.
Caprese. We both love Italian food.
We had much to talk over food and wine.
My last meal in Bangkok with Yuki before my return flight. Poached Egg with Spinach and Hollandaise sauce.
She is so adorable.
Yuki, thank you for your warm Japanese hospitality in Bangkok. I hope to meet you again, maybe in Japan.

Special thanks to Wei Jie, Cherie and Uncle Mike for allowing me to join in the great company for 7 days. 

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