Thursday, December 21, 2006

finally, we managed to open a text document! all they have here on the computer are stupid video games. we are in Khon kaen, the "big" city. celebrating our first 1,000 km. no Word, so forgive us for the spelling. Due to technical reasons, we decided to stay in town, enjoying the big city buzz, and giving our muscles a first days' rest. Our bike did funny noises, so a local bike technician recommended us to replace the chains, and surprise-surprise, it worked. we are not sure why it happened, we guess the chains were problematic to start with. So what did we have till now? the scenery is not amazing, its the dry season ( not as dry as Israel but not what one would expect of Thailand). and Isan (north east) is the driest part of Thailand. slowly slowly we (mostly Gal) are getting used to the traffic, but still are searching for the small roads. Sometimes we reach a dead-end (and then Rami is upset for the wasted km) and sometimes we find that the road did actually take us to our destination, even though it is not on our road-map, and then we are thrilled from the country side we pass through, where few Falangs (Farangs) have crossed before! Our new routine: We wake up very early ( usually at the sunrise to the sound of the temples' gong) eat something - Gal: chicken soup with rice-noodles, and Rami: their disgusting sweets. If we were lucky, and passed the night in a temple, Rami is always happy to be invited for the monks breakfast: all the women in the village bring their delicious local dishes (curries, sticky 'lice', pork, chicken, fish and all you can't think of). It takes us (Gal) an hour to arrange our stuff (tent, matts, etc.) and shit twice. the locals are amazed by our camping equipment and bike gear. And off we go... Most of the day we cycle - boring... We start slowly (Gal is a slow waker) enjoying the cool and quiet hours of the morning. After about an hour of cycling Gal is hungry again so we stop for flied bananas or pad-see-yu. On the main roads are many food stalls and restaurants/houses. On the small roads it can take us an hour to find some sort of food while Gal is getting edgy. We give our ass few minutes of rest every hour (or 10 km).
Our best hours are towards the sunset. It becomes cooler, and our body is warmed up after five hours of cycling and a good lunch. By the way, going north east, especially after crossing the mountain range, it became much cooler (good) and windy (very bad - the wind direction is north-east...).
20 minutes before sunset (or after...) we start searching for a wat or even just a village (as big as possible). We have a note in Thai: "can we built our tent here?". We were never refused, though, in our first wat, we had to pass an interview: We were introduced to the abbot, we were requested to bow down for three times and say some crap. We passed the interview.
In big cities, we sleep in a hotel, except for one incident when Rami convinced me (Gal) to save some bahts and sleep in a police station (see post "Testing...Kanchanaburi...Testing") - won't happen again!
Rami usually falls a sleep 5 minutes after the shower, around 20:00. and Gal reads the Saramago book she got from Yael (thanks!).
Just to summarize: we wake up, shit, eat, ride, eat, ride, eat, hopefully have a shower and go to sleep.
We celebrated yesterday evening our first 1,000 with a huge fish (fried with garlic) and few drinks. Hopefully, we'll celebrate again today with another huge fish.

Leaving BKK. 05:00 - Trying to avoid Saturday night traffic and getting stuck in the 24 hour market...


Our first night at a wat (with a few kids from the neighbourhood).

Monkeys on the roof (Lopburi).

With Sommai and Orchen at Sa-bote. (At the local school, where Sommai teaches)

Why did the snake cross the road?

Our first mountain

Resting near a river.

Our first dinner: fried shrimps with a local vegy and garlic. served with steamed rice.

Small push-kush, huge elephant.

Eating breakfast at the market

Something wrong with Nike cycling shoes :-(

A nice dirt road

Another sunset on the road.