Ainaz is in Bangkok, Thailand.
I'm experiencing a major case of writer's block... but it's been a month since I wrote, and it might be a month before I can post something again, so I better check in! More pictures and elaboration of stories to come in the not so near future.
Last time I wrote I had just completed the Great Explorations bike tour from Ha Noi to Dalat and was awaiting Dariya's arrival in the little Paris of Vietnam.
Well, the tour was exactly what I needed to recoup after the mountains.. I hopped on a new bike to take a rest from my saddle and give my bike a rest after a horrific flight experience where somehow her frame got bent and both my wheels got wrapped. Amongst lovely people - Peter from Ontario, Lisa and Ian from Texas, and our awesome local guide Tam we explored Vietnam's history and culture, enjoying lots of good food and a few fancy hotels too ;)
|That was a delicious meal!|
|Pilgrimage Village in Hue|
After much needed catching up with Dariya the next day I found a 71yr old brilliant bike mechanic, who I could communicate with without words, our language was one of love for bikes.
|Ghuaw is this man's name .. his name means Peace.|
|Safe journey, Dariya joon!|
The coast continued to be mostly taken over by resorts and I caught myself greeting more people in Russian than in Vietnamese or English. When sea wasn't hidden behind resorts, it indeed was beautiful.
|ah, yes.. coast line.|
|Kim is an English teacher at the local school :) She "picked me up" on her scooter when I arrived in town.|
|You can always find a boat to take you across the water in Asia.|
The Vietnamese love to honk.. they have modified car horns and proud to show it off .. so my normal day through the Mekong Delta was 60-70kms of pedaling to tunes of de-escalating car horns and ear piercing scooter honks... and 20-30kms of little gem roads to give me a relief between these big busy roads. and all of this in the heat of the sun, all the day long.... there is no shade on the roads in this part of the world.
|Beautiful cafe along the hwy in Mekong Delta!|
And one last straw broke this camels back when I spent over 2 hours trying to leave Vietnam because their border officials were more busy playing backgammon and picking at their noses than assisting me in getting an exit stamp and through to Cambodia.
I have no desire to ever go back to Vietnam.
My ride through Cambodia was quick. I was mainly back here to visit Angkor at Siem Reap. I love this country - where you see more buffalos in a day than cars, where the locals are straight with you and appreciative of your efforts to visit their country and learn about their culture.
Of course a visit to Cambodia would not be complete without some exploration through unpaved roads :) so I had a good couple of days of adventure on bumpy and sandy roads, missing turns and having to negotiate make shift arrangements for food and shelter with locals.
|Angkor was amazing. I normally don't like touristic stuff, but these ruins were amazing to walk through.|
|I decided to turn back to the highway after these locals gestured that I would choke/die/get killed if I continue on this road!!!!! I wish I knew what they were really trying to tell me! :)|
|oh Cambodia, I love you.|
I also had a lot of good reflections during my time in Cambodia. A few more self realizations, a bit more familiar with my own strengths and limitations. My greatest breakthroughs were noticing that I am very impatient! and admitting I am afraid of dying alone. We can philosophize all this another time...
When I started seeing mirages of other cycle tourists on the highway (silhouette of a loaded scooter from afar very closely resembles a cycle tourist!), I knew it was time to either stop, or actively seek joining other cyclists traveling in this region.
I thought I was trying to hook up with Greg - a friend of Michel and Karin (the lovely Belgian couple I rode with last time in Cambodia). But a random unrelated check-in with Jean-Baptist of the World-Bike-Trippers, lead to me hopping on a train to Bangkok to join them on a bike ride through Burma!
|The man sitting across the isle from me on the train was a professor of graphics and animation .. and he animated my graphic sleeping strategy on the train seat :)|
Once again, I'm excited and anxious all in one (and impatient to find out how it all unfolds! hehe)
|long faces after a failed attempt to exchange money|
A big thanks to my generous host Christer (a friend of Christopher - my dear friend from Vancouver) for welcoming me into his lovely home here in Bangkok.
|mmm. Japanese food!|
Chok Dee Kaa!.. see you after this final challenge ;)