Medals and amulets - Unchained Melody - CycleBlaze

February 5, 2024

Medals and amulets

Lang Suan to Had Lamae

Dear little friends,

Our ride along Thailand’s east coast has the same elements nearly every day. Long curving beaches, palms and coconuts, butterflies, bird calls, early morning departures, and the heat. Always the heat. I’m pretty aggravated that each day’s operations are driven by heat and the avoidance of. My sweat production is epic, pathological, ridiculous. 

It’s oh so beautiful and oh so difficult for me. Fortunately, Thailand provides gorgeous scenery and pristine road conditions which help a lot. Few hills also helps.

Heart 4 Comment 0

We both had time to wander over to the restaurant area to view the sunrise before leaving. A man was cleaning up the beach in front of the resort, tossing water bottles and such into a wooden cart. Fishing boats headed in, or out, or down the shore, wherever the fish/squid/shrimp were. The stormy crash-y waves of last week are all petered out and it’s back to placid lapping for the Gulf of Thailand. A resident cat napped on a table next to the serving dishes, which were covered to keep the sand and salt spray off.

Heart 5 Comment 1
Jen RahnNow that's an inviting sunset.

Playful, peaceful, calm.

Beaming myself over!
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Heart 5 Comment 1
Heart 4 Comment 0
The Chai Had Resort's restaurant which was excellent for seafood. And the view was about as good as it gets too.
Heart 3 Comment 0

The timing for our week means that we have a few days in Surat Thani, our southern endpoint, before boarding the train on Sunday the 11th. If we find a place we like we can stay two days there and still be in good form. But we sure weren’t going to stay two days in this place. 

Chai Had Resort
Heart 2 Comment 0

Don’t get me wrong, it was fine, but the bed was hard as a rock, the folks there a little rough around the edges, the wifi wasn’t so great. Honestly, it feels good to jump on a bike and leave a mediocre place. We did grab a couple of our favorite coffee mix packets on the way out so that was a tiny win.

The reception area (believe it or not) of Chai Had Resort. Here we could get free water, coffee mix, ovaltine and in the morning there were fresh khanom - sticky rice wrapped in a banana leaf and patongo, which are a Thai version of a donut. The best offerings of such things of any place we have stayed.
Heart 3 Comment 0

Shortly after leaving we entered Pak Nam Lang Suan, the river town that we were hoping to score some more breakfast fruit in. It was larger than we realized and we even got slightly lost, I’m not sure quite how. But then we ran into the Swedes we had met recently, it’s odd that that happened, we always figure they will ride way faster than we do, and they were able to point us toward the market. No luck there.

The small fishing village of Pak Nam Lang Suan.
Heart 3 Comment 0
The beautiful eating area inside the central market of the town of Pak Nam Lang Suan.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 0
At Pak Nam Lang Suan.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Pak Nam Lang Suan's fishing fleet.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Pak Nam Lang Suan.
Heart 3 Comment 0
From the big bridge at Pak Nam Lang Suan.
Heart 3 Comment 0

There is a rather tall bridge to cross afterwards, you can look down and see some sort of small ferries or tour boats, it was unclear. Bruce went ahead back down the other side, riding very quickly, and several sleeping dogs leaped into action to chase him. They were remarkably fast, his odometer was at 25 mph! Oh brother, now it’s my turn. But they had no idea I was following him, and right around the moment they tired out one of them started to turn right into my path.

I hollered, he turned and saw me, we missed each other by an inch or less. That would have been a super sucky event, with him yipping off in pain and me landing ass over teakettle onto a shoulder or head or collarbone or arm. The potential for injury was in the high 90s. Damn it all. Here I would have been, almost finished with a very long trip that had only the barest of scrapes, no illness, no nuttin’. 

Years and years ago, I don’t even remember when, my mom gave me a St. Christopher medal. Actually, two. One is in my purse. One is in my handlebar bag. As I rode along, a bit rattled by my near-miss, a song came into my head, the Mary Chapin Carpenter song, “The Moon and St. Christopher.”

I can see why the Thais adorn their vehicles with photos of monks, Buddhas on the dashboard, marigold wreaths, and hang amulets around their necks. The world is mostly pretty safe, but maybe I can sleep better at night with a protective medal, I don’t know. I’m not a believer. But there is some evidence that somebody believes in me.

Heart 4 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 2
Jen RahnLove this photo!

Are any of these the dogs that gave chase?

They're kind of intimidating-looking.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Andrea BrownTo Jen RahnThey were not far from the chase dogs and were harassing the person walking. They were probably related. No way did we get photos of the other dogs, they were out for blood.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Heart 5 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0
A beautiful beach, except for....
Heart 3 Comment 0
.....all the trash at the high tide mark.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 0
Most of the oil palm plantations place the fallen palm fronds in long mounds. For once they are not something that is burned!
Heart 2 Comment 0
These are like floats that are occasionally pulled down the street when a temple is wanting donations. People can walk up and place money in the many donation pots along the side.
Heart 4 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0

There are Thai cyclists, of course, and they hit the roads early in the morning too. We passed several individuals who waved or gave us thumbs up. They are serious about their workouts. But suddenly, one of them veered across the road where I was waiting for Bruce (who was photographing something of course) and was very excited about life. He had seen and talked to the Swedes (sorry, we don’t know their names) and after they rode off he thought of a million more questions to ask about bike touring, and so he was primed and ready for us. His name is Tchot/Tjokt (I’m making up the spelling), and spoke excellent English and asked his million questions and gazed with great curiosity at our bikes and panniers. He was great.

Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 1
Jen RahnThose smiles!
Reply to this comment
1 week ago

The road was beautiful, beautiful palms, beautiful butterflies, noisy cicadas, very little traffic. Things were heating up and we had a few places marked on our maps to stay at and after 18 miles we pulled into the Sonsai Resort (a recommendation from Frank Roettgen). It was 10 am and 90 degrees and I was done. 

Sonsai Resort
Heart 3 Comment 0
The view from out bungalow at Sonsai Resort.
Heart 3 Comment 0
We had bungalow No. 1 (on the right) at Sonsai Resort.
Heart 4 Comment 0
The dining area of Sonsai Resort. A table like this in the States would be worth several thousand dollars! Here they are no big deal.
Heart 3 Comment 0
The dining area of Sonsai Resort where we had two excellent meals.
Heart 5 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 0

We got our pick of the wooden bungalows and the ladies made us some lunch and we could look out our window at the beautiful bluegreen placid sea. The tide was going out and there were two or three guys out in the shallow water pulling seine nets up and down, up and down the shoreline, hour after hour in the bruising sun. They were out there until after dark and were there when we got up the next morning. 

Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0

I’m not sure why life has to be so unfair. I’m not sure why we are the lucky ones. Things can be beautiful and yet there is suffering right under our noses and there’s nothing we can do about it except be grateful it’s not us with those heavy nets on our shoulders. We can only accept the protection that we hoped for.

Heart 7 Comment 6
Jen RahnNo way!

That critter is an artist!
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Andrea BrownTo Jen RahnThey’re tiny crabs that surround their holes with these tiny sand balls. Love them.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Bruce LellmanTo Jen RahnI believe they roll the sand getting nutrients out of it so that might mean that the sand is held together with their saliva or something else that they secrete. Maybe I should start collecting them and make sandball soup. Someone might be interested and then someone else might say it's an aphrodisiac and then I'm rich!
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Jen RahnTo Bruce LellmanSandball Soup!!

It may be gritty, but it will make you witty!

I would love to be on your marketing team.

I'm sure Mr. Grumby will want to be in charge of T-shirt design.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Andrea BrownMr. Grumby does such nice work at marketing so many of Boof’s innovative inventions.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago

Today's ride: 18 miles (29 km)
Total: 1,166 miles (1,876 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 9
Comment on this entry Comment 5
John SolemBeautiful, thank you!
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Jen RahnSo glad you and the dog did not collide!!
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Lisa LeslieAnd here I was thinking I'm the only person playing back Mary Chapin Carpenter songs as I walk or ride.
Can't believe you are nearing the end of this adventure.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Andrea BrownTo Lisa LeslieI think this song of all of her distinguished discography is the one that means the most to me.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Rachael AndersonI’m very glad you didn’t crash! I had a similar incident around Salem but actually crashed into a huge dog that right in front of me and I had no chance of stopping. I ended up flipping over him and sliding n my back several feet. I had horrible road rash that took several weeks to heal! However, I was lucky that a cop came by and could give us a ride back to our car!
Reply to this comment
1 week ago