500 Miles Away from Home - Unchained Melody - CycleBlaze

January 23, 2024

500 Miles Away from Home

Ban Krut to Bang Saphan Noi

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500 Miles Away from Home

Our old style wooden bungalow was great.  No mosquitoes once again and a very comfortable bed.  The only downside was the bass thumping until 1:30AM from a nearby karaoke place.  That was awful.  I can't even believe it is allowed but the Thais are the most tolerant people I've ever known, therefore they wouldn't dream of complaining about it even if it was hurting their business as a hotel owner.  

For variety we had an unbelievably delicious mango, muesli, soy milk breakfast in our room while it was still pitch black outside.  The person who sold me the mango had been stressing that it was a different variety of mango than the cheaper ones and finally, and fortunately, I believed her.  

When we rolled out towards the dining area far from our bungalow, we saw that there was coffee and toast so to be appreciative we stopped and had some of each.  There was more major breakfast stuff in the making but we wanted to get going while it was cool.  We were excited to see one of our favorite stretches of road along the beach while it was still early morning too.  It was just a short distance away.  But, I have to give Ban Rim Haad Resort high marks.  We were not expecting a breakfast, the price was good for the bungalow and there was even a pool.

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The simplest things when offered at guest houses make a difference. Coffee and toast!
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There were going to be lots more offered at this guest house but we had to get going. There are eggs in the distance.
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Just a mile away were a series of more expensive resorts.  A little used road runs between the beach and the resorts.  It's so quiet on that road that it is more like a bike trail.  The beach is continually cleaned by the resort workers and it's just a lovely part of Thailand.  Ban Krut Beach.  The resorts are not actually all that expensive or fancy anymore since they are aging and maintenance is usually the big downfall in Asia. It was so peaceful and lovely that we stopped in the middle of the road to do a FaceTime call with the Grumbys - friends we have made through CycleBlaze.  Sometimes we just want to beam friends to where we are so they can experience what we are at that very moment.  

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Jen RahnI'm so sorry I missed this call!

It feels good to be beaming my attention to this beautiful place as I catch up on the journal.
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3 weeks ago
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The road runs for many miles just a few feet in from the coastline through thousands and thousands of coconut palms.  A couple of the enormous coconuts were lying in the road and to see them in person like that right where we were riding I had to wonder about death.  A couple of days ago it was death by huge dead rotting limb while both of us sat on a  swing and today it was death by coconut.  Death from a falling coconut would be such a random and pinpointed thing that if that was going to be the way of death, well, then maybe that would be a pretty natural and interesting way to go.  Often under the coconut palms there are cows grazing and I have always wanted to go out there and ask the cows if they could ever remember a fellow cow friend being killed by a falling coconut.   I'll do it someday and report my findings.

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There was a cloud bank on the horizon to the east, out to sea, which held the sun off of us and made for interesting lighting on clouds.  It changed often and sometimes shafts of light came through to the sea.  It was one of the most enjoyable rides we maybe have ever had.  Plus, because of the cloud cover the temperature was perfect, a bit humid but hey, you can't have everything.  

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This is my favorite area, with the big stones.
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We came to a familiar curve in the road and a huge carnival was set up there.  I don't think I've ever seen such a big carnival except for Shan New Year in Taunggyi, Myanmar once.  But it was all closed down because it was early morning.  All the carnies were sleeping in their concession stands, under tents, under tarps and in vehicles.  It looked like such a nice carnival that I was sad that we couldn't attend.  One of the stands advertised, "New York City Pizza," a crazy notion.

This is part of the carnival setup.
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The road remained along the beach but the beach didn't remain free of trash.  In fact, it was horrible with massive quantities of styrofoam.  There is a long stretch of road right along a very deserted beach which without the trash would be a gorgeous beach.  Thailand has a lot of coastline so I guess it is understandable that some of it that looks like the most perfect place to have resorts actually don't have any. Since the beaches are still free of buildings they should be made into parks and kept natural forever.  

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Very friendly young pups.
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Interesting way of doing something. Not sure what.
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Karen PoretRoad ties Thailand style ;)
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4 weeks ago
My new tattoo.
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Rich FrasierAll the cool kids have them.
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4 weeks ago
Brent HirakWhat does it mean?
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4 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Brent HirakIt means my belt, which I put oil on to stop the screeching from dusty dirt, touched my leg. Every time I stop to photograph something or do something else I have a very hard time holding my fully loaded bike at the same time because Bike Fridays don't have a center bar which most bikes have and you can grab with your thighs. These "tattoos" that most cyclists get are from chains but I thought it would never happen to me again with a belt. I had no idea how awful the sound is of a dry dusty belt and I had to put something on it.
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4 weeks ago
Brent HirakTo Bruce LellmanThat’s street cred
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3 weeks ago
Ron SuchanekI keep saying I'm gonna get an actual tat of the calf chain one of these days.
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3 weeks ago
Jen RahnThat's the first belt tattoo I've seen.

It's so cool that it may be the single reason some of your readers switch over to a belt drive bike.

We want to Be Like Boof!!
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3 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Jen RahnI didn't want to be the one to say it but I'm sure you are right.
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3 weeks ago
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This crop is a type of morning glory. The new tendrils are plucked off and boiled. We see it on menus all the time.
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Just before Wat Bo Thang Lang, which sits on a rocky spit of land jutting into the sea, are two fishing piers which are still in good condition and are in intensive use.  We rode out onto one of them to see the fishing operations.  The boats had probably been out at sea all night and the fish were now being offloaded into icy containers and onto trucks.  It was quite an active scene with lots of Burmese men doing the dirty work.

Thai fishing boats are the cutest boats I've ever seen.
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Squid lights. They swing these booms of lights out over the water at night and the green light attracts the squid.
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The captains who sit up top and maybe a couple of other guys like this one in the blue shirt are Thais. All the rest are Burmese.
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 Fishermen work hard.  I realized I was basically offering myself as a diversion to the hard work.  They joked about me as I photographed them.  Burmese are generally super respectful so I was not in fear that they were saying anything bad about me. There was a lot of friendly laughter.  I feel so sad that they are displaced from their country, a country at civil war.  Hopefully the opposition wins and the economy improves and they can someday go back home.  I bet most are at least 500 miles away from home.  But for now it is slogging barefoot in squid ink on deck, working hard.  I'm glad they could still laugh.

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Truckloads of ice went out onto this pier while I was out there.
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A lunch cart has arrived and guys are wolfing down a meal.
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We rode around the spit and into the town of Bang Saphan Yai where we quickly exchanged some money at a bank, gazed at a rack of whirling barbecuing chickens, took a quick run through the market looking for papayas and turned onto the road south - 3374.  We ate lunch at a tray food restaurant in preparation for a long slow slog up a hill that we knew about.  It really wasn't bad at all.  

These looked delicious. If they had been done I might have bought one. They were still spinning.
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Andrea had marked a possible place to stay, Sareena Resort, on the other side of the hill.  The sun had finally come out and it was boiling hot again after what had been a relatively cool day from the cloud coverage.  I would have gone on but Andrea wanted to stop and it's a good thing we did.  Ten minutes after we got settled into a nice bungalow the skies opened up.  We haven't seen rain since night time in Vietnam and we have never ridden in rain at all on this trip.  It was kind of shocking that it was actually raining and raining hard.  We were very lucky we had stopped where we did.

Later we walked to the only restaurant around, only 300 meters away.  The restaurant was combined with a store which was kept immaculate. 

A nice little restaurant with a well organized and clean store behind.
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 The food was good and as we ate four middle school girls in their uniforms came in and sat at a table across from us.  They would look at us and giggle.  They couldn't take their eyes off of us but we heard them talking among themselves practicing some questions in English.  They were each trying to get the other one to say something to us first but then they would burst into giggles.  Eventually Andrea broke the ice and asked them a few questions.  They came over and lined up in front of our table and took turns telling us how old they were and their names.  They were not nearly as shy and intimidated as most Thai girls but they sure were little squirrels. They were all ten years old and all adorable.  They were like four young cats occasionally spontaneously jumping about.  I heard them repeatedly counting, one, two.....three in Thai and I got the impression they wanted to sing a song in English for us.  I told Andrea that I thought that they were plotting to sing for us but no one would start.   I couldn't believe they actually wanted to sing us a song but Andrea asked them if that's what they wanted to do and, yes, they did.  They sang, 500 Miles Away from Home, for us and it was great.  Andrea filled in the words they forgot.  

They must have a pretty good English teacher to teach them enough English so that they were at the point of initiating contact with foreigners without too much fear -so unusual in Thailand.  The teacher would have been proud.  Maybe they will tell the teacher what they did.  Extra credit!

Then a woman came over to talk to us with her limited English knowledge.  She, too, was brave to do so.  We think she said she was some sort of teacher but she also seemed connected with either the store or restaurant or both.  She said she would cook us breakfast since there was nothing else around but we told her we leave at 6AM.  That didn't seem to matter to the woman and she still offered, but we declined.  It was quite a dinner we had!  We aren't far from major tourist beaches but the girls and the woman all acted like it was the first time they had ever seen a foreigner.  

Then the rain had started again and we needed to walk back to our resort.  The woman arranged with the store for an umbrella we could use.   We gave it to our resort owner when we got back and asked him to bring it back to the store tomorrow.  Such nice people we always meet.  

Three of the four squirrels who talked to us and then sang for us.
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lovebruce

Today's ride: 24 miles (39 km)
Total: 1,004 miles (1,616 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 12
Comment on this entry Comment 5
John SolemMade my day. Thank you.
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4 weeks ago
Gregory GarceauGreat post. I haven't been five hundred miles from home for a couple of years.
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4 weeks ago
Lisa LeslieCute boats, squid lights and little girl squirrels. What a wonderful day!
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3 weeks ago
Ron SuchanekIt was fun to talk to you mid-ride and mid-road. Technology has some benefits!
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3 weeks ago
Jen RahnThis was a great morning for sending my imagination to Thailand.

Your descriptions and fascination with everyday life always make it easy and fun to jump into your experience!

I will be thinking about the story that the cow will tell you about its friend being killed by a falling coconut.
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3 weeks ago