Friday, 18 May 2018

South of Thailand on a CBR500

The danger zone

Betong is the most southern town in Thailand. A twisty 270km south of the Hat. Passed through Yala where I was surprised to have coffee with John Lennon. Imagine. Wasn't expecting this as Yala feels like Islamabad.

Every vehicle in Thailand must display a number plate indicating the province it's registered in. However, Betong is the only district in Thailand to issue its own plates. Locals told me it's because Betong is remote - although I've been to far more remote districts. Umpang in Tak for example.




Nice scenery on the way. Betong has a Chinese feel about it.











Had a few beers with an Aussie from work. Felt rough riding back the next day. Lost the way and found myself guzzling water at a 7/11 in front of Pattani Grand Mosque. Forgot to take a pic. Not many Farang in these parts .... lots of Muslims, Army checkpoints, staring and bombs.




Closer to home

Breaking in a new bike means spending weekends exploring.

It's a hard life.











You get to meet people like Stef in Trang and this lass with a Harley type bike in NaMom district.










But sometimes you get caught in rain at the beach. Never looks like this in the brochures.

A random shot of the Songkla/Satun border.









BIG Trip

The two week Easter/Songkran break allowed me to really push the boat out. Took her on a 1350km trip round the entire south of Thailand.

Spent the first night in AoLuek district, Krabi. Well away from the tourist hordes. This was the view from the hotel balcony.






Then it was up to Ranong Canyon and the hills inland from the Andaman Sea.

A couple of friendly dogs came to say Hello.










North of Ranong I was lost in LaUn District before a friendly woman and her son directed me across roller coaster mountain roads to Khao ThaLu in Sawi District, Chumpon. Stunning.

Continued to PakNamLangSuan and found a room right on the beach.





Onwards to this impressive bridge spanning the TaPi River in Surat Thani. The lad on the bicycle was part of a team cycling 1800km from Ubon Ratchatani to Naratiwat.

Stopped for a drink at CC Beach Bar in Khanom to remember my old mate 
Aussie Russel who passed away. Used to drink here.




Slept in a knocking shop. In the middle of nowhere. 200bt for a few hours or 400bt for the night.

The next morning I rode down the coast from Pak Phanang in Nakon-Si-Tammarat to Ko Yo island in Songkla past dozens of wind turbines.





Beach stop at Sating Phra before heading back home and getting a proper number plate fitted.











Wheeling and dealing

I paid 215k THB for the bike but it came with a host of freebies including this bluetooth headset which I immediately sold for 5k.

I ride motorbikes to escape the white noise of life. The last thing I want to do is talk to anyone. I often find myself in a Zen meditative trance while riding. Lost in my inner world. Simple pleasure. Solitutde. Freedom.


A French lad bought it so he could talk to his girlfriend while she's on the back. I joked that one of the advantages of a bike over a car is the fact you don't have to listen to a gf ... hehe. Posted it up to Chiang Mai. He lives not far from where I used to live.

I put the 5k straight into cold storage on a hardware wallet. Less astute observers may have thought I was FOMOing in but I was really ignoring FUD and buying the dip in anticipation of a long term HODL. When moon? I'm well into this crypto bollicks.

So much so that I spent an entire Friday evening engrossed in Elliptic Curve Public-Key Cryptography (y^2 = x^3 + ax + b). When and how did my life's pendulum swing from the hedonistic pursuit of piss ups and pussy to the more rarified stimulation of intellectual indulgence? A divvent knaa. Life eh? What a journey.


Age

It's with this in mind that I've been thinking about the human condition, sentience and our invariable slide down a mortal coil. I recently back paid 11 years of National Insurance to avoid penury in old age. It was a jolt to learn I left Blighty 12 years ago. It was another jolt to see that I've now paid 28 years of NI contributions from age 16. 16 + 28 = 44. Never thought I'd get to 44. But here I am. Never thought smart phones would be a thing. But they're here too. What a time to be alive!

12/44 = 27% of life in Asia.
10/44 = 23% of life in the Royal Navy. 
16/44 = 36% of life ... never had a say.

I was jogging around Jiranakon Stadium mulling over stock/bitcoin investment ratios when a random idea spontaneously embedded itself in my conciousness. An hour later I found myself in a sleazy den, laid out with a needle in my arm.

It says "Sateeb. From Satun. Likes Sateak." Sounds funny in Thai. The tattooists (and their facebook followers) were laughing and shaking their heeds.

Plenary

So right now enjoying a spartan life of contentment. A rewarding job, a decent bike, a healthy diet, tropical weather, light exercise and the Toon avoiding relegation. Not much more a man could ask for. Life begins at 40 ..... there might be something in that.

Live your passion. 
Live your dream.

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