The Sea Was Angry That Day My Friends - Unchained Melody - CycleBlaze

January 25, 2024

The Sea Was Angry That Day My Friends

Bang Saphan Noi to Pak Khlong (Chomlay Restaurant)

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The view from our bungalow. Too bad about the big storm. We stayed in this same place a year ago and the view was absolutely stunning but different from hour to hour.
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The Sea Was Angry That Day My Friends

After a very rainy day of mostly sitting in our nice bungalow we had to get back on the road no matter what.  It wasn’t raining when we started but began pretty quickly.  The small roads we navigated on to avoid bigger roads were mostly through oil palm groves replacing all the coconut palms we had been experiencing.  Oil palms are much less graceful and artistic and much less interesting.  Whenever I’ve seen tall coconut palms I get a sense that I must be somewhere exotic, even if it’s just a little bit exotic like Florida.  But oil palms are downright boring because they don’t rise up gracefully but instead are squat - like to the ground with lots of long fronds.  Even when they get a bit taller they are still uglier than coconut palms or almost all the other palms of which there are hundreds.

Oil palms. This owner is thinking of the future by planting new trees in between. Very few seem to think of doing this. I think when the trees get tall it is difficult to harvest the prickly fruit which is where the oil is extracted from.
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My mind was quickly taken from being bored by the oil palms, though, because it was raining.  I didn’t want to get completely soaked right away early in the morning but that’s what happened.  I had left my rain gear in Bangkok because I would have bet my bottom Baht that it would not rain on us for the rest of our trip.  We hadn’t had a drop of rain on us for our entire trip so this was super unusual.  

The rain got harder and harder and we stopped in a brand new but abandoned small structure and waited for the rain to quiet down.  Then we took off again.  Fortunately there were very few vehicles on any of the roads.  It was like the Thais thought it was super unusual as well and they all stayed home.  Restaurants and coffee places were closed all along the way.  

Early in our interesting day we waited in an abandoned structure for the heavy rain to stop. I find that there is always something to photograph no matter where I am.
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We were not right along the coast but we could occasionally hear the waves.  It sounded like a pretty wild ocean. We were riding a gorgeous route called the Royal Coast Road, or, as I like to say, The Royal Roast Code, just to be silly since I am so serious all the time. 

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We made it to a temple complex, Wat Bang Boet, overlooking the ocean when it really started to pour down.  We first took refuge in the large mourning area of a crematory but then being a little weirded out by the place I wanted to move over to the temple itself.  It was still raining hard and I went first but found the temple had a locked gate!  What kind of refuge is that!  At least the crematory mourning area had doors that were not locked.  I found a small covered area on the opposite side of the temple out of sight of Andrea.  She texted me wondering if I was coming back or if she should find me.  I had left my bike under the structure and gone down to view the wild ocean.  My hands and phone were so wet that when I tried texting her it went into some program I had never been in before and I just pressed send.  I thought I noticed it had added some embellishments but there were so many water droplets on the phone and the wind was at gale force that moment that I didn’t know what had just happened.  Later she showed me what I had texted: “Come fond me.”  and my message was accompanied by all sorts of floating “Come fond me’”s.  Wonderful inadvertent embellishing!  

After I sent her that text I had to run back to the structure with a roof because it was a serious squall that was pelting me with heavy rain.  I had been very near to the ocean and as George on Seinfeld once said, “The sea was angry that day, my friends.”  I have never seen this sea so wild.  The waves were enormous, the water all churned up and brown and the waves were hitting well above the normal high tide line, eroding the shore.  There were boards and other refuse being battered.  Andrea did fond me and together we stood under the roof, drenched and getting a bit cold but waiting for the heaviest rain to slow.  

I like temples right on the coast because then that land won't be developed further, except for all the gew-gaw that sometimes get built around temples.
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The sea looked angry.
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I've never seen waves this big in the Gulf of Thailand.
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Eventually we ventured out again and were on a small dirt road right along the shore in front of a few very broken down wooden shacks where fishermen lived.  We saw a couple of the men and they did not look happy.  Everything was being battered by the sea so I imagine they had a lot to worry about.  That’s when I started to think this storm was very unusual.  

Even though it was absolutely raging with wind and rain and we were soaking wet, we were in great spirits and loved this little road in particular.
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We skirted the base of a headland and were suddenly approaching another tiny community, Bang Boet.  We were still right along the wild shoreline and the waves were washing over the road leaving all sorts of debris that we successfully dodged but just barely.  Besides trash and boards there were jagged rocks that had been thrown up by the waves.  It was just a short stretch we had to navigate with all the debris but it told us this was definitely an unusual storm.  When we got to a place where the road was not being inundated by angry waves we stopped and at first I couldn’t believe my eyes but yes, there were surfers out there!  I’ve never even seen a Thai surfer but to actually exist and to be out there on such a crazy day was, well, a bit crazy I thought.  

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Small boats had been pulled into this small stream.
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Boats had been pulled up on shore to be out of danger.
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The only problem for us riding through this was that it was salt water.
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There were only three surfers and since I used to be a surfer in Florida in high school I took some interest and watched them for a while.  The waves were pretty gnarly -  not nicely formed.  It was a raging storm!  I sure wouldn’t have gone out there bobbing with boards and other debris.  The water was a pretty gross brown too.  I’ve always thought that to surf you have to be just a little bit nuts so it was normal that on a wild and crazy day a surfer would get excited about it.  I just didn’t know there were surfers in Thailand.

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There was a restaurant with a coffee house right there so I suggested we get some coffee and sit in the little thatched hut next to the ocean and watch the surfers.  Andrea went along with my idea and we had the tiniest lattes known in the coffee universe delivered to our hut.  Although small, the coffee was really good and great to be drunk on such a blustery day.  We never thought we’d actually feel a bit cold on this trip of ours!  The lattes were more like espressos.  

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This was a really great cup of coffee.
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Jen RahnThat smile!!
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3 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Jen RahnMost people would have been angry as the sea with our soaking wet day but we were both having a great time. Actually, so were the cycle tourers.
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3 weeks ago
I had never before given a single thought to surfers in Thailand.
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Then, as if the oddity of seeing surfers in Bang Boet on raging waves was not enough, we noticed a group of a dozen or so cycle tourers picking their way through the minefield of the road being washed over with debris and rocks.  They were on skinny tires and were having a much harder time than we had even though they were carrying nothing.  They pulled up next to us and then two, no three!, sag wagons pulled up.  What!

This is the first group of cycle tourers who came through, picking their way through the debris on the wave washed road.
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The first group through.
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We talked to a couple of the women in the group and one of them had a hard time wrapping her brain around the fact that we didn’t have a leader telling us how far we were going to ride each day, where we were going to ride and where we were going to stay each night.  She even asked, “Now, Saigon is a town in Thailand?”  But it seemed like the other woman’s mind was working on it and she was in awe and maybe envious of the way we travel.  

Andrea and I have a hard time wrapping our minds around going on a tour such as theirs.  Although we think it’s great that they are doing such a thing (they were mostly pretty old people) we will certainly never even consider it.  Too independent, too abhorrent of groups, Andrea and I are lucky we can stand each other!   The thought of going down the road with a mass of others on bicycles is something we will never do.  But, again, it is great they are doing it and they all must be in very good shape because of the tours they go on.  It was getting on to late morning and they were still going another 50 or 60 miles!  

We thought about all the beautiful things to see in the next 50 miles and how they will see little of it.  We will stay in at least two different beach places in the next 50 miles.  I guess people don’t have the luxury of time like we have made for ourselves.  And some people don’t want to think about finding a place to stay each night or carrying panniers with all their stuff, etc. I get it.  

They left and then, unbelievably, a second group of cycle tourers came to stop right in front of us!  So strange to see not one but two in the same half hour when we hadn’t seen any before for 77 days!  They were all men, we guessed were either German or Swiss.  Ignoring us they clicked their way over for some tiny coffees.  

It was so funny, before the group arrived, we watched as the sag wagon guy set up little tripod racks all in a row in front of the van.  As the cyclists came in they hooked a rear part of the frame onto one of the tripod racks.  Thirteen bikes all in a perfect row!  I’m sure there is competition as to who gets there first.  Sorry bike tourers out there, it’s all really foreign to me.  I’m more in line with the lone German cyclist we met a week or so ago who had attached flip flops to his pedals and was barefoot otherwise!

This is the second group's bikes. The bike on the far right is the leader/guide's. It has a kickstand. I didn't get a photo of the group because they ignored us and quickly disappeared into the coffee shop.
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We took off and immediately were on another of our favorite roads.  Well, it was a continuation of the Royal Roast Code.  It’s a beautiful road with no vehicles.  We could see the ocean through the Australian pines and definitely hear it.  We zipped past the famous sand dune because it was nothing really and we had seen it before.  We skirted another larger headland and then began a short climb that has Wat Kaeo Prasert on top.  I call this wat, Wat Kaeo Berserk because of all the various statues that have nothing to do with Buddhism.  Kwan Yin, sailfish, crabs, eagles?  We met the head monk there nine years ago and even had lunch there which he offered to us.  He also gave us amulets to wear around our necks.  He was a jolly guy and I’m sure the one responsible for directing the building of all the statues.  He probably also ordered the building of a huge Buddha high on the hill behind the wat.  It’s now finished and stares out at Thung Maha Bay.  

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Talk about embellishments. All those things lined up on the far right are side mirrors!
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The Royal Coast Road
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Wat Kaeo Prasert
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The group of either German or Swiss cyclists caught up to us at this point and one of them possibly identified their ethnicity by giving a little yodel as they passed. They peeled off to see the temple, I believe, but not before all of them yelled at some dogs in the road who were not about to disturb anyone.  That was irritating.  Andrea said to them, "They are fine!" We approach dogs in a completely different manner and have had no problems.  They all passed us again later - whoosh - like a clot of testosterone and I wondered how long they possibly could have spent at the temple.  They will all go home and tell their friends and family they cycled through Thailand, which they did, straight through.

They reminded me of something in my past, when I was a house painter.  We were painting the house of the former president of Oregon Steel who had recently retired.  He was always sitting around looking very bored.  He had accomplished what he set out to do in his life and he was quite wealthy. He told me he had been to Thailand and he described the most expensive hotel in Bangkok where he stayed.  After talking to him about it more I started to think he had possibly never gone outside the hotel.  But he had, in fact, been to Thailand.    

We were on the last leg now, with our favorite guest house almost in sight across the bay.  We stumbled upon a food market as it started to rain harder and I did a walk through looking for any of our favorites.  I came away with mangos and oranges but no papayas or bananas.  We were trying to stock up for three breakfasts at our destination which was very remote.  Chomlay Restaurant is a restaurant so we were not going to starve.  The place also has four bungalows but the owner doesn’t advertise them at all.  When we were there a year ago we declined the included breakfast and the owner included dinner instead.  That was a better deal for us so we were hoping for a repeat performance and eat our fruit for breakfast with our muesli and milk.  

We noticed flooded little rivers and flooded oil palm groves as we rolled into Chomlay.  It was obvious it had rained a lot harder further south.  The rain had petered off but the wind was still blowing hard.  

This had been a tiny stream and probably nearly dry before the big rain.
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We wolfed down some of Chomlay’s great food and tried to get the same bungalow we had last year but it was taken, at least that’s what we thought.  But once we were in a bungalow we realized it was the one we had last year!  Good thing that other one was taken because the one we did get has the best view.   The owner came to our bungalow to greet us and to tell us he saw us at the market but wasn’t sure it was us returning once again.  Good thing we did come back to his place or he would be sad.  It’s good to be back.  It was a strange but good day.  The owner of Chomlay is strange but good also.  He’s a funny guy, always using his phone for translation, a big heart and always ready to wheel and deal to keep us happy. Now, if only he could calm the sea we’d be really happy. 

Chomlay Restaurant beyond and one of the four bungalows in the near.
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lovebruce

Today's ride: 31 miles (50 km)
Total: 1,035 miles (1,666 km)

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Scott AndersonLooks like an excellent day, one you’ll no doubt relive many times in the years to come. I liked your observations on the German(?) tour group. It reminded me of a night in a small mountain village in Sicily when a similar tour group invaded our hotel. They were on a blitz ride across southern Italy, devoting a whole three days to crossing Sicily. Why?
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3 weeks ago
Jen Rahn"Clot of testosterone".

That's such a brilliant description that I can feel the energy of them yelling at the poor dogs.

And .. how did I not know (or remember?) that you were a Surfer Dude? If you have a photo of your surfer self, I want to see!

What a day.
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3 weeks ago
Gregory GarceauA most exciting day, and I think the big waves on the sea helped make it so. I lived on Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula for a few years, and loved to watch those November gales whipping up huge waves. I didn't surf in them though.
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3 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Jen RahnI think there is exactly one photo of me standing with my surf board but I haven't seen it in years. It will surface someday and I'll post it on Instagram for all to see. I went to college in Minnesota and when one of my friends found out I had been a surfer in Florida he immediately named me Surf City. The 'City' was dropped but there were lots of people who only knew me as Surf! For years!
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3 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Gregory GarceauI love Lake Superior AND Upper Michigan. Lucky you to have lived there with both.
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3 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Scott AndersonI do like that bicycles can attract such a wide range of people to ride them. I get that there are those who are pure jocks and want the workout/performance/mileage/personal best. But then there are also people like us. We tell people we meet that we are not in as great shape as they think. We are simply tourists who ride bikes.
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3 weeks ago
Ron SuchanekClot of testosterone! Yeah, I admire people who are out there riding, however they are doing it but wouldn't be up for the social overload and competitiveness of a group tour. I'm lucky I can stand myself.
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3 weeks ago
Ron SuchanekAlso, you've mentioned that you used to paint houses, but until the post, it never occured to me that maybe you meant you used to "paint houses".
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Heard_You_Paint_Houses
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3 weeks ago
Andrea BrownTo Ron SuchanekThis is an unexpected plot twist 😬
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3 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Ron SuchanekYeah, I paint houses. You got a house you want painted?
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3 weeks ago
Ron SuchanekTo Bruce LellmanLet's talk when you're back in the US.
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3 weeks ago