When I arrived in Chaiya I ate at a pork noodle soup restaurant run by a lovely woman and her young daughter. I ended up going back three times (I haven’t been to the same restaurant or stall over this whole trip) just to chat with them. I went to visit them on my way out of Chaiya yesterday and they gave me some free iced tea and ice cream. They’ve invited Alice and I to come back to Chaiya and have hot pots with them for dinner. FRIENDLINESS SUCCESS!
I stumbled across a peculiar gambling ring today. On the side of the highway laying in a patch of red dessert was a gang of thinly teethed men surrounding a raised grid of bird cages. The cages had little sparrow like crested birds which were all fidgeting and chirping as if they were on avian Ibiza.
One man, who looked suspiciously like Dave Chappell, was watching a weight slowly sink in a bucket of water. Whenever it hit the bottom he would blow a whistle and some of the men would write things on paper attached to each bird cage. Another man, with facial hair like dappled sunlight (the most flattering way I could think to describe my own), told me it costs $200baht to enter and the winner gets $4000. I asked him what it is you actually win but his English was bad and he declined my invite to play charades. I had no idea – was it a race, a beauty pageant, were they all going to brutally peck each other to death? Nope. This, very overt, not at all underground, gambling ring was a singing contest. The bird that sings the best wins – owner, go collect your winnings. It’s pretty ambiguous right 0 what’s the criteria for best song? Loudness? Best melody? Most human sounding? No one could speak English so I never found out. There wasn’t any arguments, everyone seemed to agree who the winner was so I guess it wasn’t best melody. It was disappointed in the placidity of the whole thing. I mean C’mon, this is a backyard gambling circle! Where’s the passion, the glory, THE BLOOD!*
I had a real conversation today! It was with Alan Tay, another bike tourist. He’s riding from Singapore to doesn’t know where yet like me. Tomorrow I’m riding with him to the next small town up the coast. After that who knows. Maybe I’ll be with him for ages so I probably shouldn’t describe him as a vegetable like I seem to do with everyone else I meet. I’ll leave that part up to him.
Everyone Alan Tay, Alan Tay meet everyone:
Hello everyone, I’m a Singaporean doing my maiden bike tour. Glad to know Nick and I’m really happy to once again have a proper conversation. I look forward to our rides ahead of us. Cheers!
Alan’s blog – findalan.wordpress.com
I have no idea how long I’ll be riding with Alan. At first I was unsure whether we would ride together at all but then he said second breakfast and I knew I was onto something good. . . plus . . . I fucking love chats.
Alan has been riding on rural roads for most of his trip because his GPS system isn’t a shitty tourist map like mine. It sounds a lot better than the highway BUT he said he’s been chased by packs of dogs about 15 times. 15 TIMES?! WTF, HOW SCARY IS THAT?!
He has a big stick now. He doesn’t hit them, he just waves it like an angry wizard and they back off. He seems pretty relaxed about it all. Sounds fucked to me.
*I definitely didn’t want to see any blood – human or bird