Thailand to Vietnam


Hi all,

Hit the delete button on your mail program if you don’t want to hear me ramble on about life on the road in South East Asia – you must be sick of these updates…..sorry, whats that you say – “we want more updates of you having the time of your life whilst we work our arses off in this dreary-arsed country we live in”….oh, ok then.

Oh well, I’ll carry on (sigh). Sorry – my lethargic manner is probably due to the early 6am start this morning to wearily mount a bus sans suspension to take us from Pnom Penh (Cambodia) to Ho Chi Himn (Vietnam). 9 hours drive – 300km – kak!

We decided not to go to North Thailand after visiting the south, but headed east into Cambodia. We thought we would be clever and miss all the tourists entering the well used Thai/Cambodia border crossing in the east of Thailand. So we used the new and deserted border crossing in the Northeast. Large, enormous error. There is a reason that its’ not a popular crossing. This became apparent as we rode out of the Thai customs offices and into the Cambodian immigration. The lovely tarmac smooth road that saw us covering big miles in Thailand quite suddenly dissapeard into dust / gravel / sand ahead of us into Cambodia, accompanied by dessertland for miles around. I’m pretty at that exact point I heard a vulture cry out from the direction that we were going. I never thought the road would disintergrate so quickly from one country to the next. We laughed.

“Oh well, just 140km until the next big town”. MMmmmmm, that 140km took us 6 hours. I’m still amazed that we didnt come off the bike in all that deep sand and bridges with more holes in them then my socks (memo to me: must get new socks).

That road was memorable and the accomodation in the dessertlands and food that evening. What made it more shocking was when we turned up in Siam Reap – the most important town outside the capital. Siam Reap is basically Las Vegas compared to what we had just seen. Just amazing. Huge hotels towering over the famous nearby temples catering to the western tourist.

We bumped into Adam and Danny in Siam Reap – two brits going around the planet on their bikes. We met them in the Himalayers 3 months ago. Had a great time with them both – good laughs and food in Siam Reap.

Anyway, yes Cambodia – amazing temples, real Indiana Jones stuff – Pnom Penh was superb also – just the best food – big French vibe in the cooking. Goddam yum.

Now we are in Vietnam and are going to do a spot of tailor hunting tomorrow – we bought some beautiful silk in Cambodia and are going to make a wedding dress for Fie. It’s very exiting and its so nice to have a story behind the dress.

Two very sad places so far on this trip – the brigde over the river kwai (the death railway) – Thailand and the killing fields – Cambodia.  The stories behind these two places defy description – its just very very sad and upsetting.

Right, my eyes are heavy and I can just about make out the keys on the keyboard, so better stop, eat and go to bed.

The new pics for Month 6 are on flickr and below:

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The new video for Month 6:

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India to Nepal to Thailand

 

A fair bit of time has passed since the last update, so I thought I’d show my face for a bit.  It’s just that we’ve had a roller coaster of a ride from India to here (Thailand).  We left India over a month ago now.  I discovered in Lucknow that the back tyre was basically disintegrating, bits of rubber flaking off every hour to reveal the soft material underneath…no tyres available until we got to Bangkok, over 700 miles away (and a flight from kathmandu to bk).  Luckily I bought a portable tyre inflator in India for such a disaster.  Subsequently we took on a slow puncture and I would find myself putting air in the tyre every morning and afternoon.  My bottom was puckering for that 700 mile journey – expecting a blow out at any moment.  Spending 700 miles looking at the road for the slightest sign of glass or “spikey stuff” was not an experience I want to repeat, especially on Indian roads.

On the way we stopped at Chitwan national park in Nepal – beautiful country with Rhinos, Tigers, Elephants (insert other big groovy animal here) – the park had it all.
Kathmandu was nice and quiet by the time we arrived there.  I got on the case of sending the bike to Thailand straight away – pretty straightforward.

Thailand has been superb, we spend 5 days in Bangkok checking out what must be shopping heaven in the city and the most enormous market I have ever seen, where you can buy anything from snakes to knock off ralph lauren shirts…..no I didnt buy any, I’m all for quality me :)

We spent 2 weeks with our friends Marcus, Sarah and Dina who came out for Chrismas and New Year from Dk.  We had the best time with them and Sarahs friends Marina and Malene.  We island hopped with them from phi phi to ko lanta (stunning beaches, food) for a bit and then headed north on the bike.  Now we are headed up into northern Thailand and into the mountain ranges – again stunning mountain scenery awaits with deserted misty roads….can’t wait.  Hows life back home then?  It was great to get everyones mails in response to our engagement, thank you, you know who you are. xx

New pics up at: Flickr

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New video (Month 5)

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She said yes!!!

Lucky me, I got a yes to my proposal to marry Fie.  I “did it” on a houseboat in the backwaters of peaceful Kerela.  India is a hard place to find the peace and quiet for a marriage proposal – believe me, this was the quietest and best place for thousands of miles!

I’ve wanted to propose for very many months now, it kept welling up in me and I wanted to burst out “marry meeeeeeee” quite a few times, whether it was on the bike or lazing around in Goa.  The traditionalist in me wanted to do it properly.  So I did, on my knees and everthing except the rose in the mouth (no roses in Kerala).

We have finally made it to Nepal and are in the beautiful Chitwan National Park – “one of the most incredible reserves in Asia” so the book reads.  Off for an misty early morning canoe ride followed up by a jungle trek, then elephant safari in the afternoon, then tomorrow we get to wash some baby elephants!  Then a short ride to Kathmandu to arrange flights for us and the bike to Thailand.  Eight days from now we will be in Bangkok!

I have to admit it’s quite a relief to be in another country, in the last few days I felt India wearing us down a bit – probably due to the fact that we were just trying to cover many kilometers to get out of India before our visa ran out.  Nepal’s hotels feel cleaner and quite a lot less chaotic than the holes we had found in our last days in India.  It’s a shame that we only have 9 days here.  It’s a bit nippy at night and will get cooler as we ride towards Kathmandu – I cant tell you how much I am looking foward to the culinary delights that await us there.

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Beaches and Yoga

Why are they soooo big?

 

Well since Srinigar we have skipped along way south. My god its taken bloody AGES to get to the beaches here in Soth Goa. Really it has. Don’t think that we are ungrateful for this because we’ve seen quite a few things on the way down. We saw a tiger in Ranthambore National Park, sunrise over the Taj Mahal and have re-created the scenes from Octopussy in Udaipur (I’ve perfected Roger Moore’s acting prowess – by moving my right eyebrow suggestively – Fie is most impressed) just to mention a few.

We are taking it easy here in Goa for about 10 days – doing Yoga, resting my hands a bit from riding (they started hurting because of the long days we have put in since riding from Srinigar).  So plenty of stretching and eating lobster (because good food seems to help the mood).  We have managed to avoid the mainstream part of Goa – have found a beach home 50 metres from the warm Arabian sea.  Complete with a very very good number of restaurants serving big bits of fish for a couple of quid for a complete meal.  Damn delicious stuff.

Hows it going in your neck of the woods then?

New pics for month 4 have been uploaded by Fie here:

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New video for month 4 here:

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