North West Thailand.
Sit down comedy.
Rural Thai people are excellent. Those protected from the onslaught of the booming tourism machine that pollutes much of this beautiful land are crammed full of warmth
Most Thai people have begun laughing before you have spoken a word, never mind a joke. They are constantly primed, ready to burst into giggles, desperate for you to give them a reason. It doesn’t have to be much, just say ‘hello’ or a wave is normally enough. And they laugh from the belly and with innate joy. What a lovely way to be.
Makes you feel like a stand up comedian, though i am of course mostly sitting down. And quite uncomfortably. I’m shuffling around the saddle so much these days it looks like I’m dancing the twist.
My bottom has been struggling recently.
Theres a sentence I’ve never said before.
My finest and (it seems) funniest charade-based action came into play at the pharmacy today, explaining my problems and how they came to be through the medium of performance art. I will spare any further detail, but i lie in wait with hope in my buttocks for positive results with the new ointment i was given.
Today I rattled past families enjoying their Saturday lunches and old ladies looking up and waving from their work in the fields. I even joined in with a church rave in a small town but quickly moved on when i was asked to perform a solo routine.
In the evening i walked around the Pyay ruins before heading west into the National Parks towards the Myanmar border.
The mountains are rich green and intimidating sights from both the bottom and the top, it’s the in-between bit that’s more challenging. The roads, although good quality, are extremely steep and in the heat of the midday sun i turned to pushing on a few occasions, the first time in 7 months of cycling.
Having been on the road for that long it’s a wonder I haven’t learnt to carry sufficient water and food. An exhausted trot round a strawberry farm providing my evening meal and throwing iodine into some stream water to dilute my (now peculiar tasting) bed-time whisky.
I spent the night perched on a hill-side stretched out on my mat guessing at constellations I have no idea about, so resorting to creating my own shapes. I found loads, but the more elaborate ones probably more whisky-led.
Despite the remaining inclines i was pushed along using the encouragement of lorry drivers who would gesture thumbs up, shout encouragement or motion me to keep going. One even stopped to give me water and oranges, getting me over the final climbs before a long and relieving evening descent into Mae Sot, only 10 kms from Myanmar.
The Myanmar border was the first potential problem as this land crossing hasn’t been open long and there are reports of tourists getting turned away. But with a lot of smiling and a hand from some locals i was over and ready to take on a country I’ve been excited about for a long time.
As i sat down to take in the border town chaos on a small rickety chair, i noticed the new ointment was starting to work.
A good start.
Pyay ruins at sunset.
Pyay ruins at sunset.
A hot morning to wake up to.
Pagoda number 1.