Saturday, 30 January 2016

Phitsanulok Promise

New Year

This spherical lump of iron and rock we inhabit completed another arbitrary orbit of our local hydrogen-to-helium fusion reactor. Or, in English, 2015 turned to 2016. To mark the event I invested in 6 Bhutanese Ngultrum (£0.05). So far the Ngultrum has remained steady against Sterling but I'm expecting a sharp rise in the near future. However, I wouldn't rush out to buy Bhutanese currency based on my actions since my last financial blunder saw me hand over my life savings to Brendan Terrill, a thieving paedophile, currently locked up in London.

Free Ride

I went for a spin up Thailand's highest mountain: Doi Inthanon. I avoided the entrance fees by riding the 108 to ObLuang National Park before heading to MaeJaem up the 1088. This route avoids the tolls but adds a considerable distance to the journey. Left is the peak and right is the Hobbit's residence on the lower slopes.

Relegation

CMFC did all they could've done to avoid the drop. They won their last game but still went down by virtue of Krabi's win over AngThong. I knew it was over at halftime as these two reporters kept us updated on Krabi's score. Twas a subdued atmosphere - winning yet still getting relegated! Next year CMFC will play in Thailand's regional third tier against Northern teams. There should be some good away trips to Lamphun, Phayao and Phrae.

X-Factor


The last day of term prompted an impromptu performance by The Physics Band. We mercilessly massacred a Thai song. To see such innocence brutally defiled is a cause for sorrow. The carnage can be endured on youtube. I'll miss these two lads when they go to University after their A Level exams.

Half Marathon 2015

At 5am on Sunday 20th December we were pounding the dark streets of Chiang Mai. I was delighted to improve on last year's time:

Year
Age
Time
2014
41
1h59
2015
42
1h48

There were 803 men and 520 women. I came 131/1323 meaning I just scraped into the top 10%. 21.1km in 1h48 is a canny effort for a 42yo who has smoked for 26 years.

A few hours later we were back on the tabs and booze!!



Xmas Bike Trips

On Xmas Eve we managed to stop boozing for long enough to jump on the bikes and escape Chiang Mai's gravity. We rode 1265km along the Laos border and into Isaan.

The first stop was Phayao where we enjoyed sunset beers served by stunners. We didn't know what to look at. The mountains beyond the lake or the waitresses? Decisions decisions.






The lakeside was too civilised so we headed out to Phayao's very own mini-Pattaya in the slums. This sign in the toilets gives an indication of the ambience we enjoyed. It loosely translates to: "200B fine if you hoy in the sink." Classy. I was gutted that Beam - the lass I met there last time - was off sick. Her twin sister was no match.




Gung Daen

I finally got to sample Dancing Shrimp. I was looking for this dish in Isaan in 2012 but had no luck. In Phayao they pull the small transparent crustaceans out of the lake and keep them alive in pots. A handful of them are drizzled in lemon juice, spices and bamboo shoots. The acid in the lemon juice makes the still alive shrimps jump out of the dish. Twas a strange experience having these little fellows jumping around in your mouth before swallowing. I only managed a couple of mouthfuls.

The day after was a ride around the lake. Very pleasant.




I bumped into this cosplay girl and a lad making glass ornaments at the Winter Festival that was taking place while we were there. There were some great live bands but what sticks in my mind was the microphone battle between the Thailand's Got Talent contest and a nearby woman conducting a raffle. Amplifiers were set to max and it was impossible to focus on either. I'm still left scratching my head sometimes.


Nan

We stayed on the edge of town opposite BigC since the center was rammed with Bangkok tourists. We watched some Boxing Day football before drinking a Leo Tower. Draught Leo in towers? Life doesn't get much better than this.

The next day was a short journey to MaeCharim National Park where we stayed in a log cabin overlooking the Wa River - what a name. Twas good to sample nature's tranquility AND have a night off the lash (alcohol is illegal in Thailand's National Parks).


The bike hit 60,000km near Bangkok. I had a spot of bother locating Sukhumvit Road, Soi Cowboy or Nana Plaza here!





The jungle-clad mountains of PhuSoiDao National Park on the Laos border offer an exhilarating ride through spectacular rain forest.

I really enjoyed this area - highlight of the trip.








Isaan

No Xmas bike trip would be complete without a trip to Isaan. We rode to Loei Province to hear the Isaan dialect and see for ourselves where the majority of Thailand's bargirls hail from. Isaan produces most of Thailand's rice but it's also the country's poorest region. I can't say I noticed any of this in NaHaew District. I've stayed in many rooms but this one was, by far, the best. 500B? Bargain.

Phitsanulok

Loei is an aberration. The Isaan plateau is mostly flat (ideal for farming) but Loei has undulating countryside making it a great province to explore by bike.

Crossing the border from Loei to Phitsanulok means leaving Isaan and crossing back into the North. Well, the Southern part of the North - Phitsanulok is halfway to Bangers from Chiang Mai!





This was the scene outside our 200B/night rooms at the Hotel just outside the Railway Station. Phitsanulok's bustling center reminded me of Trang.


First things first we had to have a beer. Where better than a Nan River sunset?










When it came to 'lurve' Phitsanulok had promised so much. In fact, Phitsanulok Promised Perfect Pussy Paradise Provision (PPPPPP  - shame a Perverse can't be squeezed in there somehow). There were supposed to be better-than-Bangkok soapies. There weren't. There were supposed to be hordes of lovelies around the clock tower. There weren't.

We ended up naming the place Phitsanu-gohok (Gohok means lies in Thai). Lesson learnt: Never trust t'internet.

Phitsanulok is a strategic crossroads in the center of the country giving it a transitory feel. Despite this it manages to retain the essence of real Thailand - untouched by the tourist masses. Let's hope Lonely Planet doesn't come so it stays this way.

A couple of Santa's elves helped ameliorate the lack of female attention.

I rode back to CM on New Year's Eve after 7 nights and 1265km of adventures. The roads were busy but I got home in time to do the countdown with Paddy and Alasdair in one of our local haunts.

Newcastle would have to wait another 7 hours for their fireworks.

Booze

I was drunk 11 out of 14 nights after the marathon. Twas brutal. Most of the two week holiday was spent either drunk or hungover. It's not good riding when you're hanging out your arse.



Bikes

I love abusing the bike but it also needs a some TLC if you're in a long term relationship with it. 5000bt was blown on tyres, chain, oil change and a wash after the trip.




Beautiful. A bike as good as new and a sublime CM sunset near my room.

Birds

Well, well, well. After almost two years of blissful singledom it looks like I've found a unicorn to suck me back into the matrix. I met Wan (of the karen tribe) in the park. I was drinking water after a run when I saw her jogging towards me. I was hooked immediately. I love petite lasses and Wan's only 36kg. She returned a smile as she passed.

I waited for her to come round a second time before throwing out a "SawadeeKhrap" and waving her over. She replied but didn't stop.

The third time I motioned for her to stop but she kept on running. I'd given up when a Thai buddy told me to give it one more shot. She's probably shy because of the park being busy. I was heading home but he dragged me back. Just as well because she stopped on the fourth lap and gave me her number.

The rest, they say, is history. We've been to Mae Jaem, drank beer, eaten steak, gone to Doi AngKhang and shared MuGaTa at Fang. I love the fact that she doesn't speak a lick of Anglais.

We often draw glances as we jog together because, although she's 21, she looks younger. Half my age and half my weight. What more can a man want? I hope this honeymoon period lasts forever. I'm besotted with Wan and enchanted with Thailand.

No poetry this time. Sadly.

Lingo

Pajonbai = Adventure

YomPare = Give up

SamurDonSamurBlai = Consistent

BenGanEng = Friendly/Informal

1 comment:

  1. Thanks and the Issan run is great. Wan does sound special at 36kg.

    ReplyDelete

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