Bangkok to Phanat Nikhom 125km
Imagine every rugby, soccer, cricket, netball, basketball and athletics stadium in NZ filled to the brim, and every single person is wearing black. That's what it seemed like today, except it was yellow, the King's colour, because it's his birthday. Busses were fill with yellow shirted people. As we're taxis, markets, footpaths, trucks, and scooters. You would swear that everyone had been to a big match, and supported the same team.
It was a public holiday, so initially, at 7am, the streets were reasonably quiet, but the markets were gearing up and getting busy, and it was showing potential to be a big traffic day, with parades, celebrations, and tonight, fireworks. So an early start was a good idea. Gosh, Bangkok is a huge city. 30km, and I'm still surrounded by shops, businesses, although most were closed, buses, tuk tuks, and taxis. And then I met Dipak.
Dipak is from Nepal, and it also cycling around the world, but he anticipates taking five years. His bike had big nobly tyres, he must anticipate some off road routes, and his luggage, which included a complete spare wheel, and an umbrella, was attached to a child's bike seat instead of a carrier. Maybe he is allowing for a passenger? Any way, we stopped for a chat, and then Dipak insisted that I join him for a visit to a Nepal temple and meeting house, that was just around the corner. It was a very special place, where Nepali people living in Bangkok congregate to pray, and socialize. It had a very relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. One guy was even having a hair cut, an extremely severe one, using a razor. Ended up with just a tuft at the crown. (I thought of you Lucas Smith).
Dipak then decided to ride with me for a while, even though he was heading to Laos, and I was heading for Cambodia. Unfortunately, the traffic was by now pretty thick, and when I stopped at a junction to check our route, somehow I missed him, or he missed me, and I didn't see him again all day. Sorry Dipak. I wish you well in your travels, and perhaps we will meet again somewhere.
For a lot of the day, I cycled next to canals, and prawn farms. These produced some pretty nice reflections at times, and as always there were lots of waders, herons, storks and the like. They are lovely birds, but so hard to get photos of, as they are extremely flighty.
I stopped for some lunch, and was served by three delightful ladies, who even shouted me a slushy. Translation of a conversation they had, (according to my expert Thai): How much are we charging this foreigner for this food? 30 baht. But he's also had three bottles of water. That's because he's so HOT. Lots of giggles.
I had a few giggles as well, and my jaw dropped, almost to the ground. Earlier this morning I biked past a hotel. Two people were just exiting, hand in hand. One of them looked very much like a good mate of mine from Aussie , shortish, and thin on top, but rather buffed up. I had to look twice, because this mate, and his family are known to throw a few weights around, and I haven't seen him for a while, so it might have been him. When I looked the second time I noticed the second person. Just under six feet, wide of shoulder, good looking legs, and all the other attributes, including long dark hair......but was that an Adams Apple? I couldn't help myself. I did a U turn, and approached them again. No, it definitely wasn't my mate from the Gold Coast, but could so easily have been his twin brother, and NO, despite the tight skirt, and good looking cleavage, that was not a woman. The things you see in Bangkok.
And I'm starting to see some "Pimped Up" vehicles. Got a couple of photos for my truck enthusiast mates, (Garth and Barney). I'm sure I'll see others later, especially if I manage to get into Pakistan.
So I might even get to Cambodia tomorrow. I'm pretty excited about that, because that means I'm only one country, and three weeks away from seeing Juliet. Yippee.