Preferring Nothingness to Weirdness - Unchained Melody - CycleBlaze

January 21, 2024

Preferring Nothingness to Weirdness

Prachuap to Thap Sakae

One last look at the distinctive islands in the bay in front of Prachuap, one of our favorite places. It was hard to leave.
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Preferring Nothingness to Weirdness

Well, it was finally time to leave one of our favorite towns in SE Asia, Prachuap, or, its full name Prachuap Kiri Khan.  We always get going very early so as we wheeled out past the front desk we were not expecting the hotel's daily coffee, cookies and bananas already out for us guests.  Since the cookies had been such a treat each morning we had to delay our departure time a bit.   And, it's always good to have a banana or two stashed in a pannier for future consumption.

When one leaves Prachuap to the south one must cross the Wing 5 Thai Air Force base.  It's a unique sort of thing because it is at the same time a loose situation but you are actually crossing the runway where light aircraft take off and land.  A guard greets you and asks where you are going.  If it isn't to see the langurs on the other side of the airbase on a spit of land that the air base also owns, then the only other option is that you are going to be taking the road that follows the coast to the next town. We were heading south and not to see the langurs.  At the checkpoint we used to have to dig out our passports and sign a book at the guard house but they have loosened the requirements. We told the guard some town way down the coast that he would know and we were good to pass.

Ao Manao Beach just south of Prachuap connected with the airbase. The servicemen clean the beach daily. This looks a lot like some advertisement I've seen.
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The small town just south of Prachuap, Khlong Wan, has always intrigued me because I've always thought of it as essentially the perfect little Thai town.  It's cute for one thing, the way the one road snakes through it.   Each time we have ridden through there have been loads of interesting things going on, mostly food oriented, right on the main street that winds through the town.  There are only short side streets off the main drag which means that just about everything the town offers takes place on the one road.  

A nice old house/shop in Khlong Wan.
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Once again, (we're in Thailand afterall), there were food carts everywhere and what seemed like a market stretching along the street, restaurants everywhere, coffee stands and all sorts of food being fried in oil like bananas.  Granted, each time we have been riding through Khlong Wan (3 times) it has been early in the morning when those sorts of food related activities usually do take place in any Thai town.  But Khlong Wan seems to have an excess considering how small a town it is.  I jokingly said to Andrea, "It's a nice town but too bad there isn't any food."  Thais love food for sure but possibly they love food even more in Khlong Wan.  I always say I want to stay in a guest house there sometime but we will probably never do that because Prachuap took our hearts long ago.

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Once we cleared all the tempting food items we were on a small road along the ocean.  Two friendly Thai guys rode with us on similar folding bikes and asked us a bunch of questions in English.  Then a pick-up truck lost half its load of freshly milled boards in the middle of the road.  The two Thai guys on bikes and I helped the driver get them all back into his truck.  They each weighed a lot, as do all the tropical woods in Asia but these were not even dry yet which meant they were slippery and heavy.  No wonder they slid out.  

I wasn't photographing the wires as much as that rock up on the hill.
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Here's a closer look. If this were in the U.S. that rock would have been pushed off by some drunk fraternity boys long ago.
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A very nice spirit house to be out near the ocean with no buildings nearby.
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We knew we had to turn off the nice little road because soon it would turn into a dead end.  But first I insisted on a short little detour.  I always want to see The Dome of Silence, which I have named it.  The Dome of Silence is a roof over a picnic table in front of Waghor Aquarium overlooking the ocean.  And, of course, I always want to take a photo of Andrea sitting in The Dome of Silence but for the second year in a row she refused and instead I sat inside and she took a photo of me.  If you talk inside The Dome of Silence there is an echo that will eventually drive you insane, which I love.  I'm certain no sound leaves The Dome of Silence because when I said something to Andrea she kept saying, "What?"  

I love The Dome of Silence.
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Gregory GarceauIt's your inner Maxwell Smart persona! Your enemies will never hear your conversations while under the cone of silence.
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4 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Gregory GarceauOh yes, you are right again, Gregory. It's Cone of Silence. But I like Dome better anyway. Especially for this cement thing.
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4 weeks ago
At the Waghor Aquarium and science museum.
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After that fun experience we had to ride the flyover and enter the big highway.  At the base of the flyover we found the same board-laden pick-up truck stopped and the driver tying the boards together.  I think he had phoned his wife and she, on her motorbike, had brought him some rope.  We all laughed as we rode by.  The flyover is steep and it was a good idea to secure those slippery boards.

From one flyover to another.
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Karen PoretLooks like the old way station for the people mover ride at Disneyland (circa 1964)
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1 month ago
The big highway had lots of shade. All over Asia these trees, we call Blessing Trees, should be planted by the millions immediately. They have huge canopies providing loads of shade.
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On the big highway there are still these nice rest spots where we can wheel our bikes right in.
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The big highway wasn't all that bad.  The big trucks were going more slowly than I've ever seen.  It was Sunday morning but I doubt that had anything to do with it.  We soon got off and zigzagged on small roads in the midst of palm trees instead; much preferable even though it was slower.  Even so, we made it to where we kind of wanted to stop for the day in record time.  It was only 9:30AM!  

Andrea had picked the hotel.  We stopped in front of the big open gate to see if there was any sign of life there.  It seemed abandoned and if there is one thing I love it's abandonment.  A rough-looking, older, whispy woman on a motorbike quickly rode up to us from inside the huge compound and with lots of smiling, showing that she had no upper teeth, she ushered us in to see a room.  She was very enthusiastic about us taking the room.  I had no problem with the abandoned feeling because I kind of love the feeling and I was all for stopping early.   The woman said there was still coffee and Thai donut like things we could have over near the front office.  That was a first - arrive so early you get in on the morning snacks!  And to think that we had very similar snacks before we left our last hotel the same day!  Those two things will never happen in one day ever again.  It's nearly an impossible feat but we did it!

Green Beach Resort
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We arrived so early we got in on coffee and snacks, a first for us.
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The bar on the beach at Green Beach Resort.
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Beautiful and amazingly clean beach at the Green Beach Resort.
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The pier and Green Beach Resort to the left.
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The end of the pier, literally.
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The Green Beach Resort sat on an enormous amount of land.  It must have had 500 feet of oceanfront, adjacent to a breaking apart cement pier.  The end of the pier was downright dangerous; caving in.  It wasn't just the "resort" that had the abandoned, broken down feeling but the whole, immediate area.  There are many places in Thailand where there are broken dreams but more so along its coasts.  Someone has a dream and money, or investors, and they build a rather wonderful hotel complete with a big restaurant and a bar on the beach.  And they may have been quite successful when they were new but times change.  Either people want newer places all the time or people are fickle and the area isn't the cool place to go to anymore.  Whatever the reason was for the Green Beach Resort it really has sunk to the point of no recovery.  That's when Andrea and Bruce arrive on the scene and kind of marvel at the once pretty special place now forgotten.  We do this over and over because we can afford these places and I enjoy them.

Part of the Green Beach Resort.
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We stayed in one of these rooms and not the individual cabins.
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Our room was enormous and even had bunk beds.
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Karen PoretThis is where the “discount hotel” factors in..;-)
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Karen PoretNo trap either which means that often these places have a horrible sewer gas odor.
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1 month ago
Karen PoretTo Bruce LellmanHow do they really expect this to “ pass” 😬
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4 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Karen PoretThere are no codes over here.
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4 weeks ago
Karen PoretTo Bruce LellmanSo unfortunate no morality or ethics codes apply. Surely they don’t like it either? Thanks Bruce! Safe travels back home 😉
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4 weeks ago
Andrea BrownTo Karen PoretThat’s a bit of a stretch. He’s referring to building codes.
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4 weeks ago
Karen PoretTo Andrea BrownThanks for the clarification, Andrea and please excuse my ignorance ..
Hope you get those eye shades so you can sleep easier!
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4 weeks ago
Another part of the Green Beach Resort, still nice looking bungalows.
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Two deer at the Green Beach Resort.
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Karen PoretAppreciate the recycle, trash, glass receptacles ( if this is accurate )
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Karen PoretYes, I think so. The Thais definitely pick up all plastic bottles so they must get money for them, whereas the Lao burn them! We were so sick of the smell of burning plastic in Laos that that alone made us want to leave sooner.
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1 month ago
We never went into this main big building of the Green Beach Resort.
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For a while we thought we were the only ones at Green Beach but then we saw a couple staying down the way from us and then another couple.  It was too hot for us to do much exploring in the area and actually we had seen quite a lot on our way in.  The other thing about the place was that it was at the end of the road along the beach - a dead end.  Of course that made it all the more appealing.  

When I'm in a place where I feel what I felt when I watched the film, The Last Picture Show, I come alive.  I don't know how to explain it.  There is something really fascinating about nothing going on in a place.  Saloon doors banging in the hot afternoon wind and nobody around, just dust.  I love the mysteriousness.  The woman on the motorbike came and went several times doing who-knows-what, the two girls who worked there walked quickly in the hot sun across the vast distances of the place to get to one bungalow to tidy up and then across the dead grass and sand to another to do a little sweeping.  We didn't really think they were accomplishing much but they seemed to be walking too quickly for how hot it was.  Since there was nothing else to watch or do we sat on our porch and watched all the nothing.  

When one of the fast-walking girls appeared, our gaze was fixed on her and nothing else, well, there was nothing else.  Andrea and I didn't say anything to each other, we just watched the girls intently.  There weren't even any dogs for our eyes to lock onto.  Dogs usually do a lot of nothing so it would have been nice to watch them too, but no dogs.  I reveled in all the nothingness the Green Beach Resort had to offer until it was too hot to sit on my wooden stool any longer, then I went in and did nothing on the bed until I fell asleep.

In the late afternoon we figured we needed to somehow find a place to eat.  What would we do without Google Maps?   We found what looked like a promising restaurant not too far away,  It was fairly new and possibly had lots of typical Thai dishes.  We rode our bikes to Kritsana House Restaurant a little more than a mile away.  

The menu was big and everything looked good.  We ordered and then as we sat there waiting we saw white haired men and women ride by on motorbike after motorbike or motorbikes with attached side cage things, common in Thailand.  But if you own one of those you most likely live in Thailand.  Why were there so many foreigners and why were they all older with white hair?  There were so many that I was getting really weirded out.  A couple of them came to eat at the restaurant too.  Not all of them were old and some had young kids.  I was starting to feel like I was in an old episode of the Twilight Zone.  The people all seemed happy but maybe too happy! and somehow, even though they seemed happy they also all had the same vacant look on their faces as well. I don't think I'm making that up.  I was totally weirded out by them.  And why was there some Swedish on the menu?  Then Andrea told me she had read something about Swedish enclaves in the area.  That didn't do a whole lot to release me from the realm of the Twilight Zone.  Enclaves!

A great meal at Kritsana. Green curry with sticky rice and radna noodles.
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The woman owner/cook was really nice and we had a great meal for less money than we had expected. But I kind of wanted to get back to our nearly abandoned resort to erase the Twilight Zone feeling and get back with The Last Picture Show feeling, preferring nothingness to weirdness.  As it was, the two were colliding in my brain and we had to stop at a store on the way back to get some ice cream as an antidote.  

Back at our place we sat on a very wide swing near the beach to decompress.  We watched the eastern clouds get painted with warm colors as the sun set.  I looked up to see where the ropes of the swing were attached to find out they were around a very large dead and rotting branch.  If that would have come down on us we'd have died on the beach at the Green Beach Resort, mostly abandoned but apparently surrounded by enormous enclaves of Swedes.  Each and every day is a new day for us in Thailand as we make our way south but today was pretty great.

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This was a really cute swing for kids at one time but the salt air really destroys things.
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The Green Beach Resort looking festive in the evening and there were a handful of people drinking beer there.
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lovebruce

Today's ride: 21 miles (34 km)
Total: 954 miles (1,535 km)

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Ron Suchanek"When I'm in a place where I feel what I felt when I watched the film, The Last Picture Show, I come alive"

I couldn't have articulate that as well as you, but yeah, that! So many of the small towns we passed through during Porridge have me that feeling. I appreciate the empty. Paper Moon had a similar feeling for me.
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3 weeks ago