Sunday, 15 February 2015

Pre-Nepal Scrawl.

New Year

2015 began as 2014 ended. With a Sea-of-Leo marking our planet's insignificant orbital progress around an obscure fiery ball of hydrogen. The arbitrariness of our human-constructed time measurement system (seconds, minutes, hours etc) fascinates me - we still use Babylonian units of 60 from over 5000 years ago. I wonder what aliens would make of our celebrations marking this trivial celestial event?

Anyway, I spent it at the local shop (for local people) where these points fell on deaf ears.

Twas a chance to reflect on what a mixed bag 2014 was. My first full year in CM was excellent. It's the first place I've lived for more than a year that I don't want to leave - thus shaking off the transience which has afflicted life up to now.

However, offsetting this settled feeling was the loss of my entire life savings in 2014. I guess that's what they mean by ying and yang?


What better way to ease into 2015 than a yoga session with Armin - the famous Austrian guru? After an hour of grueling stretches the red wine flowed causing a heated debate about the size of Austrian towns. Twas epic. I love Austrians. (Vienna, Graz, Linz, Salzburg, Innsbruck by the way).

Heinz (left) runs AsiaBikeTours and takes people all over the Himalayas (mainly India and Tibet). He's currently scoping stuff out in Africa. Canny lad.


Owning anything mechanical involves periodic injections of maintenance. I changed the chain after a year and 20,000km costing 960bt + 60bt fitting.

I also washed it 
(by hand) for only the third time in 2yrs 2mths. Forgot the back wheel though - doh.

Then a quick test run to Samoeng. Look at that view from one of my little coffee hang outs.

Riding the bike with a new chain is like having sex without a condom.


I have 5 younger brothers and the youngest visited CM for 10 days. First time I'd seen him in 9 years! In those 10 days I was shedded 6 times. We were the man in this poster.

Wor Joe seemed to enjoy himself - especially at the shop where Nui taught him how to count to ten.


My last post covered running a marathon and two epic bike trips. Things have been more sedate since the earth completed it's 2015th cycle of the sun since the (debatable) birth of Christ.

Losing one's entire net worth compels one to seek out money again. Re-build a fiscal cushion as it were. Most humans do this by volunteering for employment. Employment is a strange concept that Charles Bukowski sums up quite well in his 1975 novel Factotum:

“How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?”

I've read two of his books now - highly recommended.

Anyway, for this particular human it involved an interview at Varee International School for the esteemed post of 'A Level Maths and Physics Teacher'. After two years of chillaxing I will be re-joining the full time drones in August. It's with mixed feelings that I'll be resuming the role of a wage slave. I honestly thought those days were behind me.

A massive plus is that I think I'll love this job. I love the topics, the level and the small class sizes. I've already started studying and I can truthfully say that integrating parametric functions is gonna be a riot.


A quick 220km trip took me north up the 1009 to Phrao, west along the 1150 to Chiang Dao and then south along the 107 back to CM. Quite a nice shot of Baan Paang Ma Yao School in Chiang Dao distrcit. Those karst structures behind remind me of Krabi.
A shot of Thailand's third tallest mountain Doi Chiang Dao at 2175m. Way bigger than Ben Nevis' paltry 1344m but small change compared to Annapurna's colossal 8091m.

Look at the (lack of) traffic on this road. How I ever managed a year in Bangkok I'll never know. Sends shivers down the spine when I think back to it.

Soi dogs

Thailand has countless dogs roaming the streets (sois in Thai). They're generally well fed as locals give them scraps. They have no collars or owners (in the western sense).

Anyway, this is BakDam or Black Mouth. It took me months to be able to get this close as he was very wary. Now we're best mates. I love it when I come home and his tail starts wagging. 

I only hope the gangs I read about in the news don't abduct him and take him to Vietnam where he'll become BBQd canine.


I was in the Royal Navy from 1991-2001. Much of what I'll be teaching in A Level Physics is what I learned as a young Apprentice. This is the only photo I have of my time there. I served on HMS Coventry (Frigate) and HMS Victorious (Submarine) as an Electronic Engineer.

The two stripes mean I was a good lad for 8 years. The two anchors mean I was a Petty Officer. The medal was for patrolling the Adriatic Sea off Bosnia/Croatia in 1994. The dolphins are given to qualified submariners. The hat looks f*cking ridiculous.

Man, this photo causes a flood of memories from a previous life that seems so distant now. I'd like to thank Craig for finding it, scanning it and emailing it.

Portsmouth, Plymouth and Faslane. What a walk down memory lane.


I have some facebook friends au fait in the use of photo embellishment software. These photos are class. I may consider moving home if I'm offered the NUFC manager's post. Think about it. One year's 'work' then retired for life.


On the 19th Feb I'll be flying to Kuala Lumpur to hopefully obtain a 'non-b' visa. On the 25th Feb I'll be flying to Katmandhu, Nepal to trek the 300km Annapurna Circuit. Ultimately crossing the 5416m ThorongLa pass - the world's highest.

I'll be packing extremely lightly and buying/hiring trekking gear in the Thamel area of Katmandhu. The mere name Katmandhu evokes visions of the exotic. I'm very excited to be going but I know I'm going to miss CM immensely.

I've already started growing a beard with the hope I can look something like Brad Pitt in Seven Years In Tibet by the time I reach Pokkara.

Random meaningless Poetry

twas just a bairn
in ashington spawned
lornt to stand up
and waak away yem

a bit awlder noo
lines on the eyes
dreams deep inside

spurious thoughts 
always spew forth
ephemeral in nature
can never be caught

the cranium strains
to keep it all in
what if it bursts
leave you insane

what is a thought
does it have mass
just firing neurons
here and then past


  1. I admire the way you ride around everywhere on your bike Stephen. We've been here 6 months now and I don't think I would get behind a wheel, much less a motorcycle, the way the Thais drive. Never makes you nervous?
    One thing I've noticed is that the soi dogs less aggressive than owned dogs. Less territorial I guess...Spanky scared stiff of dogs but I love them and if I could I'd try to make friends with them all (and their fleas).
    Nice to see you good, hope you get the job! (even if I couldn't agree more with that quote)
    Frank (bbqboy)

  2. Cheers Frank. Come to Nepal and you'll never be critical of anything in Thailand ever again hehe. I'm loving it here but missing CM. Next blog gonna be epic.


Please be nice.