Yes, I’ve broken every rule I made before I started the trip. No more than 500km a day after Malaysia. Broken. No riding in the dark. Broken.
I did a somewhat iron-butt distance of 800km. On Thailand roads. This is no Malaysia NSHW – where the road conditions are generally very, very good. In Thailand, you quickly get from smooth, recently paved tarmac to pot-holes filled roads – so full of them that it’s practically impossible to avoid. Speaking of which, pot-holes aren’t the only things to avoid on the roads.
Let’s see what I had to swerve around in the last 2 days…
- Pot-holes (yeah, of course). Lots of pot-holes.
- A cow
- Dogs. Dogs running across the road.
- A dead dog. Probably freshly hit by a vehicle. Blood still looked fresh.
- 3 ducks.
- 2 dogs. Oh did I mention dogs already? Anyway, these 2 were humping in the middle of the road. I kid you not!
- A fallen tree.
- An egret (or what I thought was an egret). It flew so low, so near that I swore I could have touched it if I had reached for it with my gloved hands.
- Cars and trucks from the opposite direction trying to overtake and expecting me to give way all because I’m on a puny bike.
- Sand falling from a truck in front of me. Kinda reminds me of an hourglass.
- Oil palm fruits falling of a truck in front of me.
But really, riding in Thailand is not as crazy as it seem to be. Just remain predictable and always predict what other drivers are trying to do, and you should do fine.
Anyway, my room for last night came with breakfast. Traditional Thai breakfast. So I was up by 6am and had one of the best rest I had in awhile.
So after breakfast, I packed my stuff and loaded up my bike. Inserted my key and turned on the ignition. Hit the starter button, and….. nothing! “Oh, sh*t! Stupid Bajaj!” I thought to myself. Was it the battery? Could it be the starter motor? Is it an electrical problem? Am I gonna get stuck here? Can I push start? After about a minute of meddling, I realised I had the 1st gear engaged. Pulled the clutch lever in and tried cranking again, and the bike fired up beautifully. It was Bajaj’s built-in safety that prevented cranking when the gear is engaged. Phew! Clever Bajaj and stupid me after all!
By the time I got to Ratchaburi, it was around 8pm – just when it turned dark. I had initially intended to not travel that far up north. But when searching for accommodation at one of my rest stops, I found this sweet place in Ratchaburi for THB650 including an attached bathroom and private parking space. And since I rested well last night, I thought I’d just push it a little further.
After checking in to my room, I was hungry. There was a restaurant 150m down the road and the hotel reception recommended it. But it was already closed by the time I got there – which was around 8:30pm. So I walked back to the hotel, hungry. The reception was apologetic and recommended another place to eat. After a 10min ride, I found myself in a local Thai late night hawker centre.
When in Thailand, do what the Thais do, right? As I was really drained and warm after the long ride, and since the food place was a nearby 10 mins away, I rode the bike without my helmet for the very first time. Why? Partly to get the fresh air, and mostly because it now resembles more like a bugs graveyard with bug-juice splatter all over, and I was too hungry to be in the mood to clean it up. Like most of the local kup-chai’s, my speed rarely exceeded 40kmh. Shhh… Don’t tell anyone!
On my way to and back from dinner, I heard some worrying rattle around the chain area. I’m too tired now to check it out. I just wanted to head to my room and rest. Will probably perform some bike maintenance tomorrow.
Good night for now…