Thailand | BKK | 18th June '15 to 25th June '15 | 9527km
Bangkok - Flora always motions hitting me in crotch at the mention of the Thai capital - thanks QEGS class of 2000 for that hangover.
Granny bike is run by Parn and Neemo. Parn has a touring specific bike shop on ground level and sports a whispy chin beard tied with an elastic band. Neemo runs the small hostel above and knows Bangkok like the back of her hand. We were the only guests and this tied in nicely with a week of lazy sightseeing, bike fettling and document forgery. The temple closest to the hostel was quiet, cool and covered in hand painted tiles. A monk, keen to practice his English, told us a bit about what is was like to dedicate his life to observing the 227 rules established by Buddha. There are some interesting ones - no tickling of other monks, for instance, no playing in water, no concealing of extra curry under rice in order obtain more curry and no slurping of liquids. We, Flora in particular, are fond of Monks.
Neemo helped us get our heads around which Thai foods are good for veggies and introduced us to snake fruit, guava, mangosteen and jack fruit. Until now, when really struggling to find a meat free meal we’d been asking for ‘Jain’ (pronounce ‘J’), which is usually understood in Asia to mean meat free but also means no strong smelling vegetables like onion, garlic and aubergine! A Jain vegetarian can eat oysters though, apparently. On one of the less active days, which the heat makes very appealing, we watched a whole series of the US office - such adventures. When you get used to moving on most mornings, we enjoyed the act of repeating things that staying in one place allows you to do, like wandering 100m down the road for 40 baht phad thai by the canal.
On our third time of trying we finally left the Chinese embassy with paper based permission to enter the people's republic. As you can’t technically ride a bicycle into China, and we’d no idea of our precise itinerary, we spent some time fabricating the relevant documents. This sounds dodgy, but the ridiculous thing seems to be that so many people have to do it. One prerequisite was to prove that we hadn’t both left our jobs to cycle home from New Zealand and were in fact fully employed. This lead to a hairy moment when Mr visa came out pointing at a word on my letter of employment from The Drummer’s 'Journal'. ‘You journalist, you journalist!’, he insisted. After some frantic head shaking and the signing of another letter stating that we promised to undertake no acts of journalism during our visit, they were appeased and we were issued visa the following day.
Just before leaving we realised that Luke's front dynamo hub was almost ceased solid. A call to the manufacturer in Taiwan suggested we needed to send it back for a service or replacement and that even the quickest turn around would be 10 days. As there are only 9 seasons of the US office we looked for a quick solution and within 24hrs the Bangkok supplier of that hub had replaced ours and agreed to wait on a replacement from Taiwan. An impressive turn around and we had no more excuses not to leave the comfort of the hostel. We have 14 days left on our Thai visa, which isn't enough to make it to Laos the way we want to go, so we’re headed to the Burmese border for a visa run.