For Lucky - Unchained Melody - CycleBlaze

January 3, 2024

For Lucky

Kap Choeng to Phanom Dong Rak

Another roadside temple attraction.
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For Lucky

This has happened to me before.  I'm riding along and have to pee so I pull into the end of a dirt road, a grassy driveway, that looks as though it has not been used in years and suddenly there are vehicles coming out of it like no tomorrow.  Every few minutes, cars, motorbikes, weird side car thingys with motorbikes attached, trucks and even a large open-back truck with two benches - a taxi!  I had no idea where they were all coming from but I still had to pee.  I wasn't going to go off to find a different place, I was committed to this place.  Then a ladyboy came riding his bicycle out of the driveway and greeted us with a big smile.  Then they asked for money!  What?  We asked, "What for?"  The ladyboy said, "For lucky."  We said no.  They were not going to be lucky with us.  They rode off.  I guess they were just trying to see what they could get off the millionaire foreigners.  It's very rare that anyone in Thailand asks for money but we are out in the sticks where the people are very poor.   

Then, I went way down into the ditch and thought I was fairly well hidden and was peeing when two guys on a motorbike came out of the driveway and of course they saw me and I heard them comment about the farang peeing and they laughed.  Sheesh, what a guy has to go through just to pee nowadays!

There are lots of gender fluid people in Thailand and Thais don't care one bit.  Thais are totally accepting of anyone; another reason I love Thais.  There are lots of what are called in Thailand, ladyboys.  I must say, the ladyboy who hit us up for money was pretty cute.  They were full-on ladyboy with makeup, jewelry and a nice skirt.  We were in the middle of nowhere and it's unusual to come in contact with a full-on ladyboy in the boonies.  Of course with all that traffic coming out of that driveway who knows what the total population was back there.  

And this leads me to tell you about a cat we met a few days back.  We were at our guesthouse when a cat and her four kittens came to lounge in front of our door.  The mother was extremely protective, more so than I've ever seen.  She didn't want me touching her kittens or herself.  She was more relaxed when the kittens were nursing.  Then Andrea and I saw that she had all the male apparatus as well!  We've never seen this before but might explain why she was more aggressively protecting her kittens.  I guess this cat was a ladyboy cat!  Only in Thailand?

Oh yes, the ride today.....It was another nice ride on more small roads along more just-planted tapioca fields with lots of lone trees dotting the landscape.  We also had some time on a bigger road with still more people driving home from their New Year's holiday.  Driving too fast usually because Thai cops don't do anything about speeders, nothing.  That's why we always make an effort to find the small roads or even roads in poor condition because they will be avoided by most people. It was a similar day to yesterday on country roads, always looking for the cutest coffee shop or restaurant but most things were closed or didn't exist in the first place.  It seemed that we were so far out there that we had found a food desert; no restaurants.  We did find a papaya on a table in front of an old woman's house but that is for breakfast.  We did find some iced coffee just before the guesthouse we had marked but a restaurant eluded us. 

I love the peaceful landscape we have been riding through.
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These little trucks full of produce and other things roam around in the far away tiny villages in the early mornings, selling their wares.
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Field road
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When you see a row of these little pagodas that contain someone's ashes you know they are placed along a temple's property line.
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Remember Color Tile? This is Color World, same company. It's big in Thailand.
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Inside one of the little wooden rest structures that Thailand is famous for having every few miles on most roads.
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Jen RahnI love seeing your smiles.

Or, is it youse's smiles?

All y'all's smiles?
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1 month ago
Coffee is always a good idea!
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As soon as we had pulled onto the long driveway to the guesthouse we knew it was going to be interesting. The cement driveway was slowly going back to nature and we had a sinking feeling about what condition the guesthouse might be in.  There were loads of cute wooden bungalows and everything looked all right except the place looked abandoned.  The office didn't look like the office anymore with a mattress in it but a guy came out of it and went to the first bungalow, knocked and yelled for whomever lived there.  A very groggy young man eventually appeared and in a daze showed us one of the bungalows.  I had read the reviews so I knew the price should be 400 baht but the man said 500.  There was something about him that told me that he, like the ladyboy earlier, was going to try to get some extra cash at our expense.  I tried to talk him down to 400 but he would only come down to 450.  That was fine because we had no other options and the bungalow was actually beautiful.  

We settled into our bungalow, one of twenty I counted but no one else was there.  Eventually three things needed to be addressed.  First, we only got one bottle of water with our room.  Guest houses always provide two bottles of water per day.  Second, he didn't give us the key and third, we needed the wifi password.  

Our guest house for the night. Very quiet.
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Our bungalow at the seemingly abandoned guest house.
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Since I've been showing ceilings of our places this one is nice.
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One of the little sitting areas at our guest house. There is a huge baray in the background. The ancient Khmer dug them. They are for holding water reserves.
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Desert rose.
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It was 2PM by the time I decided to go deal with these three things.  I found a woman I hadn't seen before.  She told me that it was now too expensive to give out two bottles of water!  OK, that told me alot about the viability of the guest house being in operation much longer.  She passed me off to another guy who gave me the wifi password but I was directed to the original groggy guy to get the key from.  He opened his door a crack and looked even more disheveled and groggy than before.  I seriously wondered what was going on inside his bungalow.  Was he a drug addict?  Something felt very off.  

He wanted a 100 baht key deposit and did not reveal himself more than the cracked door.  I really hesitated to give him a deposit because I REALLY didn't think I'd ever get it back in the morning.  I told him in Thai that we would be leaving at 6AM and would he really be awake?  He nodded he would.  The only reason we needed the key at all was because we needed to go out to try and find some dinner.  I gave him the 100 baht note, kissing it goodbye, I thought.  It was only $3 but it was the principal of the thing.  I had every reason to believe this was a tactic he had used many times in which to get more money from people who stayed there.  He wouldn't answer his door in the morning and eventually the people would get frustrated and go away.  

Again, we were in an area of Thailand that is dirt poor.  I saw a sign at the end of the road where huge trucks were hauling tapioca roots for processing.  The handwritten sign had the price they were paying for tapioca root; 3.2 baht per kilo.  That translates to one dollar for every 25 pounds of roots.  The average farm is not huge so a ballpark guess is that each farm is getting no more than $500 per year growing tapioca and possibly much less.  It's a lot of work to deal with tapioca which means their labor comes to pennies per hour.  Years ago I saw a statistic that the average Thai farmer made $1500 per year.  I doubt it has changed, at least where we are.  These Thais are poor so it is understandable that some will try to scrape a few extra baht from people like us.

But the whole thing at the guest house set poorly with both of us.  It was just depressing to think about how much work and money someone had put into such a nice guest house and to now see no one there.  Each of the twenty bungalows were beautiful but if no one is coming to stay anymore they are going to go downhill quickly.  There was a large open-air dining hall but the restaurant looked like it had been abandoned long ago.  It was sad.  The plantings all around were beautiful but no one was there to appreciate or support any of it.  It was down to some suspicious looking continually disheveled guy running the place.  Something was very wrong with this picture.  

We found some noodle soup down the road a mile and were grateful for that.  We bought a beer and a miniscule bag of potato chips at a little store and sat on our beautiful veranda and watched the sunset.  We loved our little bungalow and the surrounding plants and birds.  We would have been happier if there had been families enjoying the place as we were.  I could see Thais barbecuing in front of their carports and kids running around screaming.  We have been to places where Thai families do these things and it is great, everyone happy.  But things change quickly in Thailand.  We figure that these sorts of wooden bungalows were all the rage just a few years ago but now the Thais want brand new bungalows with modern windows and screens, big TVs, larger refrigerators, fancy, clean, modern.   We, however, don't care one way or another: antique looking wooden bungalow or sleek modern.  I just want my 100 baht back in the morning.

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lovebruce

Today's ride: 30 miles (48 km)
Total: 714 miles (1,149 km)

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Rachael AndersonHow are you a managing on so little food?
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1 month ago