After Sri Lanka, it was on to Bangkok for a few days R&R. I had been to Bangkok some years ago and done most of the tourist things. I remember it being busy, throbbing, exciting, hot, humid, almost addictive but chaotic and hence a bit tiring. This time I wanted to relax a little more.
I’d only been in Thailand for a few hours when some of my Sri Lankan cycling buddies invited me to join them for lunch as they’d stopped off too. Weird, as we’d been apart less than 48 hours but I had missed them already.
Later I bought up with some great ex-pat friends from the UK who have relocated to Bangkok and whom I hadn’t seen for a few years.
We had some great meals and I spent most of my time in town being hardly able to move! It was lovely to visit their home (and their many cats!) and see how they have acclimatised to a new life in Thailand. I’m still not sure how they manage the constant heat though!
I also took part in a cooking class which was great but a bit out of the way and a total pain to reach.
Fortunately the cookery class leader put us on a canal boat home which was when I discovered there was an almost disguised canal stop right next to my hotel!
Perhaps the most surprising thing I did in Bangkok was get back on the bike for a tour of the canals and some lesser known temples.
We even went to an old Portuguese part of town – who knew the Portuguese had even need here?
It was a great day as there were only two people on the tour and the guide was just fantastic. We stopped here and there in some markets for some local fare and had a wonderful lunch along the klong.
At one of the temples, Wat Kalayanamit, we had our fortunes read by shaking a wooden holder of sticks until one feel on the floor. The number on the stick corresponded with a sheet of paper which told you your fate. Apparently someone will fall in love with me. I won’t wait with bated breath.
We ended up taking our bikes on a colourful long tailed speedboat along the klong onto the Chao Phraya river and back to our starting point.
It was a completely different type of cycling of course but just goes to show how much more you can see when you get off the beaten track and you can cover so much more ground on two wheels. Am I becoming a cyclist?
After a lovely few days, it was time for the inevitable journey home. I had the most incredible time in Sri Lanka and Thailand and I will take some time to digest it all. My life these last few months has been a crazy whirlwind and at times I have felt like I have been on a treadmill which I just can’t stop. Now it’s time to get back to my usual life. People have said to relax. That’s impossible as my day to day life is usually busy anyway and now of course I have a backlog of things to do, but even getting back to baseline will feel like slowing down. So far I have raised over $13000 which means 68 bikes for underprivileged primary school children in New Zealand. I cannot believe how generous people have been in making my adventure even more rewarding it was already. I wonder what is in store for me next?
I will leave you with a video made while I was still in Sri Lanka to thank my mate Jean who was the stalwart behind the now infamous pamper packages – what a legend!