Posts Tagged ‘Monkey’

Day 2 Noises in the night – Batang to Baiyu

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

I did a 360 degree sweep of the area and could see nothing, no bears not even a mouse. I stayed sill and watched and listen for 15 minutes, still nothing, I got back in the tent and eventually drifted off to sleep. I woke up again at 2.30 feeling cold, the sides of the tent were frozen, it was colder than I thought, I pulled out the other sleeping bag and soon fall back asleep. The 6am alarm went off and I felt like had not slept at all. I switched it off drifted back into dream world. I woke up again at 9am and decided it was really time to get up. I packed up had breakfast and instant coffee, still no real coffee found. I ran out a week ago. I pushed the bike up to the road and cycled back the way I had come to the junction. I had already asked another guy that morning and he had confirmed it was the right way. It was a steep climb and the road was in bad shape, initially I was doing ok, cycle about 10m stop catch my breath and carry on.  This was a good bit of road.Bad road


Then I got really steep and I had to push for a bit, luckily this only lasted a few hundred meters and I was soon back in the saddle puffing and panting as I climbed up the hill. I only passed a few people and when I could, I asked them if I was still on tracked. All seemed to be going OK until I reached a high point and started to descend. This was not in my route description. With no one to ask I kept on going. I stopped for lunch at 2pm having had a late breakfast. I managed to get a GPS location from the phone and found that one of my maps had latitude and longitude on the side. I plotted my position and was slightly relived that I was on the right road. However three seemed to by a lot more roads around than the map had and I was not 100% trusting the GPS as it was on the phone. The compass said the road ahead was north to I washed up and carried on. The road was flat now mostly, following a river. Every so often I would have to climb up a steep section and then I would be able to plod along again. I stopped at the sound of an interesting animal and looked up in the trees to see a group of monkeys. I got a glimpse of a few of them as the moved but then they were quick and soon hiding in the higher trees. I pushed on a admired a flock of birds with blue wings diving in and out of the trees and valley. I watched them as I had a break, maybe they were waiting to see if I had left any nuts or raisins behind.

Abandon huts

I pushed on leaving a few nuts for the birds and found myself by some seemingly abandon huts. It was 4.30 and the road ahead looked like it was going to climb. I decided I would set up camp here for the night and push on in the morning. Whilst I cooked dinner I pondered, I had either done the first pass, missed it by taking another road or it was still to come. All were possible but I would not know until the next day or until I arrived in BaiYu. Only one motorbike came by and it did not stop, they said hello waved and beeped their horn but that was it. As I had stopped earlier I thought I have better make good use of the time and started writing some of the blog.

camping in an abandoned hut2

While doing so a small mouse scurried from the hut under my legs. I filched and it went strait back where it came from. At least it was not a bear, still I though, best to put up the inner tent to prevent any visitors in the sleeping bag during the night. As I fell drifted of I though, I am protected from mice and bears tonight, I think. Just hope that I don’t get woken up in the middle of the night be a disgruntled or worse drunk hut owner.

Abandoned hut China, Sichuan

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All the way here…

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Leaving Ranong we set off in the rain, donning waterproof trousers for the first time in months, in the hope that my cycling shorts would not get wet (therefore avoiding chafing issues!). Being so hot I decided to roll them up and make them waterproof shorts…

We cycled along, the road was very new and took us up and up a winding route, with the water pouring down the gutters and drains like small rivers as we rode. Reaching the top we then whizzed down the hill and passed a sign saying ‘Scenic Area’ – with the cloud so low and the rain and spray so dense, it was hard to see anything scenic at all, but I’m sure it was a great view! We both enjoy cycling in the rain, it’s very refreshing and quite good fun, not too different from stomping in puddles with wellies on!

We stopped along the road side for a Beng Beng and a cheese sandwich made with the little bread and cheese we had left – felt like old times, cheese sarnies by the side of the road in the pouring rain.

The road continued to go up and down but through very pretty, leafy, lush areas, before we came to Kra Buri. I zoomed ahead and then realised I had lost Chris. I waited for a while then turned the bike around and went back to see if he was ok – probably stopped to chat to someone. But no he had a puncture. After fixing the puncture it was about 4pm, so we went to get a hot meal and come up with a plan. We decided to stay in Kra buri and went to Pannika Resort, which is a small place off the highway with little ‘bungalow’ rooms, that look like gingerbread houses from the outside. The lady who runs it has lots of cycle tourers staying with her, it’s in one of the Dutch guidebooks I think, so she was used to people turning up on bikes and spoke great English, making us feel very welcome.

Chris promptly fell asleep and then later we watched Bridge over the River Kwai on the laptop – we are going to Kanchanaburi, where the bridge was built, Chris had never seen the film so we downloaded it to watch.

Acts of kindness and a disaster

Next day we had breakfast, which ended up being free and the lady gave us a bag of sugared mango strips to take on our journey to Chumpon – so kind!

The road was flat compared to yesterday and we speeded along, once again with the threat of rain. We reached the Kra of Isthmus which is where the border with Burma meets Thailand and you can see Burma across the river. We stopped briefly as it was now raining quite heavily!

The rain cleared however and we stopped to have a small rest near a house. As we were leaving the lady of the house came out and gave us a bag of mangostine fruit, with a smile and then rode off on her scooter. The fruit lasted us days and is similiar to lychees.

We were making good progress, Chris was ahead of me slightly on the fast roads and as i approached an Army checkpoint (for vehicles, drugs testing) I smiled and prepared to carry on through. One of the solider signalled to me to stop and pull over, slightly bewildered I looked around and saw that Chris was already sat with two Army guys  -  they had invited us to join them for coffee! I sat down and had a cup of tea ( not being a big coffee drinker). We chatted to them for 10-15 mins, Chris smoked a cigarette or two with them and we explained about our trip before heading off again. Chris has said how nice the coffee was and before we left, the army man gave us a big bag of coffee to take with us!  What an amzing day this was turning out to be, people everywhere were so friendly and welcoming.

As we set off I knew i needed to stop somewhere to go to the loo. Public toilets are very uncommon in Thailand, so I usually just dive into the bushes, behind a tree or something. So I said to Chris that I would pull over and go now, but that i would catch him up. After a quick wee I hopped back on the bike and pedalled to catch him up. As I came round the bend in the road I saw an accident up ahead. My first thought was that Chris was involved, and I felt the panic rise in my stomach, however as i got close I saw that it was two vehicles. I looked ahead and couldn’t see Chris ahead of the accident, he must have got further along the road. The two cars (4×4 style) were right across the road, smashed into each other, with glass and debris everywhere. I stopped my bike and got off. As I did the driver of the vehicle most badly damaged, staggered out of his car through the broken windscreen and I saw his face pouring with blood. Chris carries our main first aid kit, but i carry a small one too. I quickly opened my bags and found it, my hands shaking as i did. I wanted to help, and having done two first aid courses I knew the basics, but it’s still the first time I’ve actually had to use it. I found a large swab bandage, good for applying to a wound with pressure to stop the bleeding, but i had no gloves and little else except plasters and wipes. As i turned around i saw that there was a passenger in the car too, the driver opened the door and I saw  a young woman, conscious but she fell forward and was helped out of the car.  I could see she was badly hurt, her head and eye was badly bruised, swollen and bleeding. Several Thai people had stopped by to help and they took her to the back of a pick up truck and lay her down there, with a pillow for her head. I passed the large bandage to one of the people helping and pointed for them to help the woman. But with virtually no Thai language other than words for food and greetings, I wasn’t really able to explain much and there was so much blood – it was hard to tell where her injuries were. The injured man got in beside her, obviously in shock and his nose still pouring with blood.  They lay her on her back and so I gestured for them to turn her on her side into something of a recovery position, and mimed breathing and pointed to her mouth, they turn her on her side but I don’t know if they understood about her airway and to check she was breathing as they travelled. Then before i had chance to do anything they sped off. The nearest hospital was 30km north, same place we were heading, I could only hope they would get there and that she would be ok, hoping that it all looked worse than it was.

The man in the other vehicle was fine and I stopped to ask him if he was hurt, but he motioned that he was ok. His vehicle’s air bag had deployed but the others weren’t so lucky. I cycled away, feeling a bit wobbly myself. The roads here are very good, fast and wide but this road has many sweeping bends. They are blind bends, yet the Thai regularly overtake on a bend, at speed, and I can only think that that is what happen here. I was cautious as i continued and stayed close to  the left side of the hard shoulder, watching the traffic in my mirror constantly. I really wanted to catch up with Chris now, but with stopping to help, he was probably quite ahead of me. With my adrenaline still pumping I pedalled hard, going about 26km an hour,  and caught him up, relieved to see his relaxed, smiling face – he has stopped to wait for me. I told him what had happened and that i was worried that the girl might stop breathing and no-one would know what to do, maybe I could have done more to help, but it all happened so quickly? We stopped for some food and a drink, before continuing so that I could calm down a little.

As we got closer to Chumpon the  roads were straighter and busier and it was like entering a city. At the lights we saw a monkey on the back of a coconut truck, he didn’t look very happy.

As we continued I saw several hospitals and was glad, I knew that the injured couple would be there somewhere, being looked after.

In the hussle and bustle of Chumpon we looked for some accommodation. As we did the heavens opened and we got soaked in under a minute. It sure does rain heavy here! We found accommodation and I was relieved to stop to sleep after such an eventful day!

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Thailand – first few days cycling…

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

We have been nearly a week cycling in Thailand now and we are slowly getting back into the rhythm of things, having spent a month sailing from Penang in Malaysia to Railay, Krabi Thailand. Our legs and bums are remembering what life should be like and we are learning a new language too. We have climbed more hills in the past few days than in the whole of Malaysia, and Thai culture is beginning to become familiar.

To leave Railay beach we had to take a long tail boat as the peninsular is cut off from the main land by big mountains. It was a noisy and exciting ride in a boat that you know is designed to roll about but at any moment you think it will tip over when the next wave hits. We made it to dry land and my visions of the big red bags and bike sinking to the bottom of the sea disappeared.

Arriving at the small port in Krabi we fixed our punctures that we both had for some reason and loaded up the bikes. Our audience of locals smiled at us intrigued by what I presume were thoughts of what is all this stuff they are carrying. We managed to communicate that we were travelling to Chiang Mai, smiles broadened and we were told it was a long way. Some other tourists passed by and recommended a hotel up the road. We checked in showered and changed and hit the food market to sample the culinary delights of offer. The market was a great experience with some passionate chefs, exciting and delicious foods. The next day we stocked up on food and got some odd jobs done and generally wandered about.

Our first day from Krabi was a sensory overload, new trees, giant rock formations, different faces and expressions and smooth roads.

We slowly made our way north and stopped at the only place we found that said ‘inn’ in English. We realised that we had no idea what the Thai is for home stay or hotel as the Thai language has a different alphabet to English. We managed to get the message across that we wanted somewhere to stay for the night and we got set up in our clean and comfortable room.

The next day we set off from Ban Klang only with going North in mind. We left the main road and slowly climbed up our first hill in what seemed like ages, Ubud in Bali perhaps.

At the top there was a small temple and plenty of cars beeping. We later discovered (from what we can gather) that rather than being temples these sites are in memory of the people that have died here, accident hot spots. The beeps from the cars were the people saying hello to the spirits of the dead, and to prevent further accidents.

We freewheeled down passing more impressive outcrops of rock covered in trees. The landscape here is so green and lush and there seems to be varied species of trees compared to some of the monotony of Australian gum trees or Malaysians palm plantations. At the bottom of the hill we stopped at a small shop to by provisions, not knowing how populated the road ahead was, we wanted to be prepared. We asked if there was any accommodation nearby and were told that there was a resort about 2km away.

With our hand drawn map we set of in search of the resort, not knowing what to expect. We had turned down the offer of an escort from the shop owner, who said that it would be difficult to find. It is sometimes easier to make your own way and stop when you want to, as we found out later it would have been good to get the escort. After 2km no sign of the resort, we kept asking people and they kept saying a little further. After the third conversation we were escorted by a guy on a motorbike to the, I ♥Idin resort. It was a bit like Alice in Wonderland, arriving in the dark to a manicured resort with fairy lights in the trees, a stark contrast from the small houses and trees we had passed on the way. We felt like we were imposing, this was not a tourist resort and we were the only tourists there. But we were made welcome and shown to an institue tent that would be our home for the night. Tired we washed showered and eat before heading to sleep.

The morning sun encouraged us from our sleepy state; we took advantage of the shower again, packed and left. We had not felt right staying there somehow and were keen to move on. We cycled the 7km back to the main road for breakfast. Chicken rice and egg made us feel better, as we cycled north again our thoughts turned to our experiences of the past few days.

The bike is a wonderful place to think and you can lose hours pondering the simplest things or the meaning of life. I decided that we had had some negative experiences and were dwelling on them. Many of the Thai people we had met were reserved and somber. We were worrying if we were welcome here or if we were offending people in some unknown way. We were concentrating on these experiences rather than the smiles and help we had received. Were we reflecting this energy back onto the people we met? We decided to go in fresh and confident, smiley and happy try and speak Thai, if we get it wrong smile more and try again. We arrived at another resort and although we were hot and bothered we made the effort. We were rewarded with warm smiles and managed to convey our desire to camp in our tent. We enjoyed the evening and the thunderstorm that cooled us down immensely.

We woke a little late, the camping area was next to the restaurant area and the karaoke had kept us awake till 4am. Despite our frustration we had to remember that it was only a few people that had kept us awake and they probably had no idea that we were so close and wanted to get up early. As we left the staff were arriving, they greeted us and bade us farewell with more smiles and we set off again ready for our next experience.

We had planned to explore one of the National Parks, the guide book gave the place a good review and we were excited about tree house accommodation. Unfortunately we missed the desired turning but had arrived at junction where a side road and a different national park was 5km away. Stopping at the junction we checked the guide book, there was no mention of this place in the guide book and all we had was the sign that said waterfall and national park. Should we head north or turn right and see what happens. A few minutes later having turned right we were heading into the unknown, excited for what awaited us. Thoughts of wilderness and steep climbs into the cool mountains crossed my mind and I envisaged camping next to a river with my feet dipped into the cool water. 5km later the road ended we had arrived at the National Park.

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