Sunday, January 28, 2018

Peaceful Travel in Thailand

Nope, I don't think this monitor lizard is big enough to eat Tarn.  Lumpini Park, Bangkok

Our first request to camp at a Buddhist temple was a positive.  So nice to figure out an easy and peaceful place to lay your head in Thailand.  Later this night Markos joined a group of teens playing soccer on the temple complex  field.  Temples serve as community centres in Thailand.

Tarn has grown a shade headdress.  He hooked it onto the tandem and Rick and he sported the ornament the rest of the day. 

Is this a reality show?  No, it's real life.  Markos, Sampson and Tarn have fun on a raft at a Scout adventure camp, Chanthaburi, Thailand. King Rama 9 made Scouting part of the school curriculum and all Thai youth experience the Scout program. 
The beach at last.  We return to the island of Koh Chang.  The site of some serious R and R eighteen years ago when Rick and I visited this rain forest reserve during our 25 month bike journey around the world. It still holds it's charm.

The bike trip calls for treats along the way.  This beach side bungalow is a dream.  Rick has made pancakes this morning and we look out onto the aquamarine waters and white sand as we enjoy our breakfast.
I sit in front of a fan in shorts and a swim top having taken two cold showers already today.  No complaints, just a different world.  The front door is open, mosquitoes fly about and a motorbike whirs by off and on.  The wind tunnel I’ve created by opening the back door too is effective at the moment.  We have cycled 6 days straight without a break to land in Chanthaburi and are about to take a family holiday and some downtime on a protected, forested, yet tourist friendly island of Koh Chang.  My life is being available to my family, making sure they stay healthy body wise (sun effects from exposure all day, safe water and plenty of it to stay hydrated, healthy energy food) all the time in an environment that is completely Thai.  No English. No words written that we can comprehend. A new place to stay every night (we camp at National Parks, Buddhist temples, and find economic hotels that have fans.)  The still air at night can be stifling in a tent, but some nights camping is a dream with forest bird sound and clapping palms.  Every day is a new day and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have this “in” on my three teenage boys’ lives before they are off and away in a few years’ time, to say nothing of having my husband man the single burner stove and be ever present in the multitude of decisions that are part of all of our days.  Sampson will have just one year left at home when we return to Calgary in August, then off to University.  Markos and Tarn will follow in the next couple years.  This bicycle expedition has been many years in the planning and I appreciate fully the impacts it is making on our family – communication, learning, confidence.  We are 6 months in, we have 6 months still ahead of us.  

Treats of Thailand, they appear along the road we ride each day
  • spicy green papaya salad as well as green mango salad with tiny crispy fried fish
  • giving each boy 100 baht (approx $3)  for dinner and seeing what they choose at the night market (a mango shake, bbq pork on rice with clear soup, a banana pancake and fresh mango was last night's choice for me)
  • purchasing grilled chicken, spicy/sweet chili sauce and sticky rice on the road in the morning for later lunch biking break
  • finding a cold drink stand and relishing a ice coffee made with sweetened condensed and evaporated milk, brewed coffee and a bag full of ice
  • receiving smiles and thumbs up, and no more of the constant request for "selfie-selfie!" that occurred continuously as motorbikes slowed next to us in India
  • Buddhist wats (temples) that offer a peaceful, shady break, clean drinking water and a wash down option if we ask to camp there that night

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