Karaoke in the cementery

Short visit: Guide Vinai chartered a boat to Laos and back. For half an hour the group was in another country. The main purpose of this visit was shopping.

Short visit: Guide Vinai chartered a boat to Laos and back. For half an hour the group was in another country. The main purpose of this visit was shopping.

Nong Khai, Thailand, März 2013

From Bangkok to Nong Khai.

We spent almost two weeks with my family and friends in the north of Thailand and in Bangkok. Our lifestyle changed within minutes. My parents have booked a guided tour for all of us. We changed bikes for bus, travel blogs for a German-speaking guide and every single day was planned well. We knew exactly where and when we would have time to sleep, eat, and take pictures. Vinai, the guide of the nice group with surprisingly many young people, made a good job and as always we adapted quickly on the new circumstances. Time flew and soon I wept some tears at the airport.

Short bike trip with my family. I missed to feel the pedals under my feet.

Short bike trip with my family. I missed to feel the pedals under my feet.

We spent the last week in Bangkok with Donal’s friend Brian. He lived in an old Chinese neighborhood of the city. Foreigners were quite rare in the area. All our photos from Turkey to China have been lost while we were uploading the new design to our page and we spent another week in front of the screens searching, cutting, editing, uploading and inserting pictures. This would keep us busy for some weeks. In the evening we got to know the neighborhood. I was particularly fascinated by an old Chinese cemetery. After some time the cementery was slowly converted into a city park and now it was both at the same time. Joggers ran between the graves, somebody yelled into the karaoke, a family camped between the older graves and next to the fitness corner an old man sold refreshments.

Pascale found our bikes and could not believe it. This is the picture she had sent us.

Pascale found our bikes and could not believe it. This is the picture she had sent us.

When we were just about to leave Bangkok, we received an email from our cycling friends Philip and Pascale from Switzerland. We had met them in Greece and Turkey and ever since cycled separated by some 1000 kilometers towards the east. They had just arrived in the Mut Mee Guesthouse in Nong Khai and were quite surprised to find our dusty bikes in the storage room.

With our little detour we will probably cycle 2500 kilometers to Kuala Lumpur

With our little detour we will probably cycle 2500 kilometers to Kuala Lumpur

In the bus to Nong Khai I got ill. It started with bad headaches, soon combined with stomach problems. I tried to treat them with medicine from back home and by the next day all my body itched. I did not leave the room without a roll of toilet paper and a plastic bag full of ice cubes. After some days of misery I googled my symptoms and found out that the rash was called hives and appeared to be a simple over reaction to my stomach problem medicine. I was better soon – for a few hours. Then I caught a cold.

After our visit we were well prepared for day (sun) and night (mosquitos)

After our visit we were well prepared for day (sun) and night (mosquitos)

Still I was fine enough to work. But my laptop did not receive the Wi-Fi signal so we had to take turns on Roberto’s laptop. I was happy with the night shifts and Roberto worked during the day. We spend only the evenings together and made friends with Malin from Sweden, Alex from England, Ben and Tara from the USA and David from Canada.
Three of them had been working as volunteers in an English school called Isara near the guesthouse. They introduced us to the schools founder Kirk.

Alex, Roberto, Malin, Annika, Ben, Julia and Tara

Alex, Roberto, Malin, Annika, Ben, Julia and Tara

He offered in free English classes for children and young people of the village and launched a helmet campaign for motorbike drivers and a recycling center right outside town. Kirk invited us to celebrate the Thai New Year Songkran with him, his staff and his students. We were hooked. I had not been able to find a good night’s sleep for weeks.

Tasting Travels presentation in Kirk's school Isara

Tasting Travels presentation in Kirk’s school Isara

It had just been too hot. Songkran was a perfect diversion. The water fights took three entire days. All residents and visitors of the city were armed with small bowls, water pistols and water hoses. We found ourselves in between music, baby powder, ice and screaming children. Kirk drove his pick-up through town and together with his team we had the time of our lives. As they say: laughter is the best medicine.

Songkran in Nong Khai

Songkran in Nong Khai

Almost two weeks had passed until most pictures had been replaced and I was healthy again. Now I finally wanted to see Thailand with different eyes: by bike.

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