Mysterious Peacefulness - Unchained Melody - CycleBlaze

February 4, 2024

Mysterious Peacefulness

Sawi to Lang Suan Beach

Heart 3 Comment 0

Mysterious Peacefulness

I'm always the one who delays our departure every morning.  There is just so much going on!  I didn't have to cut my fingernails again this morning but I'm always the one who carves the papaya and this morning we had a papaya AND a mango to drop into our bowls and then cover with muesli, which we have so much of now that we have upped our daily portion appropriately.  Our breakfasts may sound boring to all of you but you would be so wrong!  We have discovered that every papaya and mango tastes different whereas muesli and soy milk taste the same every day.  

Oh, and this morning, as I was scraping out the millions of little black papaya seeds into the wastebasket, the plastic and paper contents of the wastebasket were suddenly alive!  I didn't know what was happening but it didn't seem good and I decided I shouldn't be sitting there above it anymore so I jumped up and yelled, "What's going on?" Before Andrea could guess, out popped our friendly little nightly room gecko and scurried off onto the safety of a wall.  He had been in there waiting for the rain of papaya seeds to stop but they kept coming and finally he couldn't take it anymore and decided to make a run for it.  We have at least one gecko friend occupant in each and every room we've had this entire trip.  They help us out by keeping the bug count down but I often wonder what they are eating because our rooms have been quite free of bugs.  And how do geckos adjust to the air conditioning? 

Today's mango and papaya were both super fantastic tasting and eaten together, well, it sent me into another realm of happiness which was hard to come down from but we had to get going. Andrea was waiting outside for me but as I stepped out of our beautiful bungalow I found that I had entered a world of amazing sounds - birds everywhere and I had to record for a bit.  We are further south than we have ever been in Thailand and there are new bird species we are unfamiliar with.  It is more tropical down here and it seems tropical birds, at least some of them, make odd sounds instead of songs.  Some make sounds that I would accuse monkeys of making.  But, no, these are birds.  There are also the birds that make beautiful songs and together, like delicious mangoes and papayas eaten together, they produce a chorus that sends me into another realm of happiness altogether.  So, how can I possibly ride when I'm in multiple states of happiness, you may ask.  Well, I simply don't know the answer to that or how I do anything but somehow we set off down the small road a bit after sunrise. 

We had stayed in the midst of oil palms on a small road away from towns. Oil palm forests (plots) are mysterious any day but it was Sunday morning which meant there was nearly no traffic and the odd sounds of the unfamiliar birds engulfed us, along with the humid mist.  I was suddenly on high alert for snakes and water monitor lizards because of all the deep dark dank oil palms which often had waterways between the rows of trees..  No way would I ever think of wandering among oil palms.  It was nice to ride through them in the mysterious peacefulness in the early morning though.    

Leaving our brand new beautiful bungalow just after sunrise.
Heart 4 Comment 0
Lots of the oil palm plantations have these trenches dug between the rows to collect rain water.
Heart 4 Comment 3
Jen RahnA guess on the source of that color:

Kermit the Frog took a bath there?
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Jen RahnGood guess but it's what we called duckweed when I was a kid. It multiplies pretty quickly and floats on the surface of stagnant ponds. There are probably many varieties of it.
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Jen RahnDuckweed!

I've seen something similar a couple times.

Glad it's not the water itself.

And it would be fun to see Kermit's head popping up out of that water. 🐸
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Heart 4 Comment 0

We were in a vast area of planted oil palms on small roads winding around. generally heading east towards the ocean which we hadn't seen in the past few days. Some of the roads were dirt for short distances.  We passed a temple which had the old, original, falling apart temple there too.  It had not been kept up and was in serious disrepair, too far gone really.  I was curious about what was inside so we stopped.  I crept in and the place was a mess of falling down beams and roof tiles.  I was scared of spiders and snakes inside it but at the far end was a Buddha statue in pretty good condition.  The people had kept the Buddha clean while the building was disintegrating around him.  I had never seen such a scene in a temple so I took a few photos and got out of there.

We're starting to really appreciate oil palm plantations. I know it's not original wilderness/jungle but it is vegetation that completely shades. It is cooler and lush under them with lots of ferns.
Heart 4 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
Either jack fruit or bread fruit, I never know the difference. I'd probably say this is jack fruit.
Heart 5 Comment 1
Bill ShaneyfeltYup! That's Jack! Really big, growing off trunks and small smooth edged leaves.

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/123003-Artocarpus-heterophyllus
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Heart 5 Comment 2
Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like I finally found it! Queen's wreath.

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/166546-Petrea-volubilis/browse_photos?place_id=6967
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Bill ShaneyfeltWow, good job, Bill. Thank you. Looks like it even grows in southern Florida.
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
A falling apart temple. The only thing being taken care of is the Buddha statue.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 1
Mark LellmanIs there an after picture
Reply to this comment
4 days ago
Buddha - Mysteriously peaceful amidst a caving-in temple.
Heart 3 Comment 2
Jen RahnEmbracing impermanence!
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Jen RahnYes, you're right. I can just hear the head monk's sermon for the week talking about the Buddha in the tumbledown temple is there as an example for people to meditate on impermanence.
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago

Then we had some pretty substantial hills to climb before we could get to the coast.  We haven't done a lot of climbing this entire trip but now we are pretty strong and we were able to ascend without pushing.  But it's hot and humid and to climb is an added chore.  We climbed several and at the top of the last one were lots of broken up spirit houses and their additional ceramic animals and other stuff often put on spirit houses like vases.  It seemed like most of them had been dumped there.  I have always thought that people place spirit houses on the top of passes to assure they won't get into car accidents and the spirit houses/shrines either get hit by passing vehicles or they fall apart for one reason or another.  But Andrea has a theory that when people replace their spirit houses and shrines at home, for one reason or another, they can't just throw the old one in the trash so they actually do dump them at the summit of hills or dangerous curves.  I think her theory may be correct because there were dozens and dozens of broken spirit houses, too many for the number of bad drivers who may have hit them knocking them over.   It's always been a strange thing to come across at the summit of hills. - a ditch full of broken up spirit houses!  And every vehicle which passes will honk as well to make sure the spirits are awake and watching over their journey.

Spirit house rubble at the summit of a big hill.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Spirit houses and shrines discarded in the ditch at the summit of a big hill.
Heart 4 Comment 0
Discarded spirit houses and their inhabitants.
Heart 4 Comment 0
This discarding of old spirit houses is strange to us but we are not in the know when it comes to spirits or their houses.
Heart 2 Comment 0
We haven't talked about this in our journal but these things are springing up everywhere in all four of the countries we visited this time. They are buildings built expressly for swifts to live in. We hate them because they have loudspeakers blasting out recordings of swifts in order to attract more to come live there. The whole reason for these is to collect the nests which are made from the swifts' saliva. Bird's nest soup! It sells for a lot of money in Chinatowns all over the world and especially in China. You do not want to get a room anywhere near one of these obnoxious sound polluters.
Heart 2 Comment 2
Jen RahnThis is fascinating! (in a weird way)

Have you ever eaten bird's nest soup?

If yes, I would love to read your description.
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Jen RahnNo, I never have eaten bird's nest soup and probably never will. How about a bowl of bird saliva? Nope. I don't find the Chinese fascination with eating weird things at all interesting anymore. Shark's fin soup has depleted the oceans of sharks. How about cutting off the head of a snake and squeezing the blood into a shot glass and downing it? Or, How about tiger's paw for desert? The Chinese believe a lot of this stuff is an aphrodisiac. Forget it. They found that SARS came from eating civet cat. I maintain that they will someday find out that Covid came from eating bats. The Chinese will eat anything if they think it will enhance something about themselves. I'm kind of done with it all.
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago

We finally arrived at the beach and rode the rest of the day along its shore.  It felt different from anywhere we've ever been and not just because it was new territory for us.  It's a very remote coastline with few people living at or near the beach.  There were more tall coconut palms than I think I've ever seen and they grew right down to the water.  Just in from the beach were low areas full of water creating beautiful little ponds.  They looked completely natural surrounded by lush green grassy areas just like a park.  Some of the ponds were connected by a small stream slowly making its way towards the beach.  Water trickled over the beach embankment and onto the beach sand.  Unfortunately the beach itself was full of trash, mostly plastic.  Most of the trash comes in on the waves, dries out and then the winds blow it inland a bit, up into the trees.  It's a huge problem and the Thais can't like it but it's too overwhelming for them to constantly clean up.  Especially in rural Thailand the Thais are terrible about littering so they are partly to blame for sure. I went onto the beach and it was depressing to see all the trash and not at all fun to walk on the sand.  

Heart 3 Comment 0
An otherwise beautiful beach. The amount of trash that has washed up is depressing.
Heart 2 Comment 0
We have seen a lot of beaches with this amount of junk on them.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 3
Lisa LeslieBruce, you and I share an affection for odd/unusual vehicles. Of course you took a picture of this. Almost looks like a Brat but not exactly. Hmmm?
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Andrea BrownTo Lisa LeslieYou wouldn’t believe the pristine late model Hondas and Toyotas here in southern Thailand. It’s quite puzzling given the salt air. I own a 91 Honda Civic wagon, so I NOTICE these vehicles. So cool.
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Lisa LeslieYou are right, Lisa, I do go for the vintage ones. But, I'm very much color oriented too. This vehicle had both going for it. I have no idea what brand this is.
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Just in from the beach. Park-like.
Heart 5 Comment 0

We went through a little town which I think may be called Arunothai Beach.  There was a pretty large river emptying into the ocean there, full of moored fishing boats along its banks.  It was a cute little town, very sleepy, and I suspect the people there were very poor.  Fishing is a hard way of life.  We come all the way from America and ride our fancy belt-driven bikes along their coastline but the people of that little town are just trying to scrape by.  The weathered boards on their houses, the old pickup trucks held together with baling wire and all the broken dreams represented by shells of buildings, all point to a rather extreme poverty.  I feel weird riding past them as they mend their fishing nets.  The people in little broken-down towns are always kind to us, giving us big smiles and even greeting us in our own language.  It's kind of amazing how a people can almost universally not hold any animosity for us.  That must be because of their Buddhist beliefs. Maybe they have found some sort of mysterious peacefulness in which they can live. 

The very poor town of Arunothai Beach
Heart 2 Comment 0
Arunothai Beach is a fishing village.
Heart 5 Comment 0
Near to Arunothai Beach.
Heart 5 Comment 0
A broken dream. This had been either a guest house, a store or a restaurant or even someone's house as well.
Heart 2 Comment 0
I had been wondering how tall oil palms get before they die. Now I know.
Heart 3 Comment 0

We went around a headland and down onto a straight beach, Lang Suan Beach, with a few resorts.  We had not seen a lot of places to stay all day so we thought we should get serious about picking a place soon.  It was getting beasty hot.  We chose one called Chai Haad Resort.  It was very large with lots of individual bungalows and a restaurant on the beach.  The bungalow we got was not great but it was very near to the beach and the restaurant.  The beach, there at least, was beautiful.  

Heart 4 Comment 2
Bill ShaneyfeltI remember that movie!

https://www.wholesalemonograms.com/movies_with_monograms/its_a_mad_mad_mad_mad_world
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Bill ShaneyfeltI had no idea!
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0

We ate a nice seafood dinner there and Andrea surprised me by ordering a large Chang beer, two glasses and a bucket of ice.  We're getting close to the end of our trip and she's pulling out all the stops!  A beer on the beach!  I love it.  And then, since there was a 7-Eleven across the road, we also had ice cream.  What a day - from a gecko jumping out of the wastebasket, to beer with ice cubes and then ice cream!  We are finally living it up!  But I will always feel sad that the inequities are so large in this world and like trying to clean up a beach that constantly is inundated with plastic and styrofoam, it doesn't seem like things are going to change anytime soon.

The view of the parking lot and part of the restaurant from our bungalow's porch.
Heart 3 Comment 0

lovebruce

Today's ride: 26 miles (42 km)
Total: 1,148 miles (1,848 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 10
Comment on this entry Comment 1
Jen Rahn"Multiple states of happiness"!

That's a lovely way to start the day.

I wish you had a video of the gecko escaping from the rain of papaya seeds.
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago