Reports on my cycle trip around the World (by Ernest Markwood)
Thursday, 17 July 2014
This title is perhaps a little optimistic as I haven't left the city yet. At least my miserable complaints (see previous post) seem to be a thing of the past. My illness has left me – well, most of the time. So I've regained my appetite, and there is a great variety of tasty eats on the streets.
As I mentioned before, I'd managed to recover my computer, and I even found a reasonably priced new battery so I don't have to keep the thing plugged in all the time like before.
However, the big news is that I have received my lost wallet which Gabriele sent to me from Florida USA (and of course the important thing is the bank card in the wallet). Even although it was sent express mail (stating clearly on the package “Extremely Urgent – please rush to addressee”, the parcel was rushed to a shelf somewhere on the 3rd floor of the district post office, where it had been sitting for more than 2 weeks (regardless of numerous enquiring phone calls, with tracking number info given). Anyway, I'm so pleased to have received the errant plastic that I won't complain any further.
During my time here I survived 2 big Buddhist holidays last week. Without much else to do during these times I amused myself by wandering around Bangkok on the fairly cheap public transport like the river ferries and the Sky Train. I've also made some friends around here, so I can usually find some company if I sniff around a bit.
Let's not forget that Thai Kickboxing is probably the biggest sport around here, and even in the touristy area where I've been staying there is a training gym (tourists can also take classes there).
I've previously referred to this area (Banglamphu - Khao San district) as the local “backpacker ghetto”. Well, that is not strictly true, as the place has a number of different “personalities”. Yes, there are the hordes of tourists (some of them rather unruly – in fact, Thailand is known not only for it's huge tourism industry, but also for it's “sex tourism”). So on the one side you get all the eating and drinking, prostitutes and lady boys, and parties. Then, right in the middle of this space is a large Buddhist temple and monastery – in the early morning one can see stragglers trying to find their way to the hotel, mixing it with orange-clad monks begging for alms. Also, this area is part of the original Bangkok, and the spectacular royal palace is just down the road within walking distance. So is the National Theatre and the Museum.
Well, before I really grow roots around here I'll be moving North tomorrow. However, I first have to brave the traffic (not looking forward to it, as I haven't even cycled any significant distance - let alone with a loaded bike - for some time). Also, I've cycled into Bangkok from the North the previous time that I was here, and I recall that it wasn't much of a pleasure (going out South was much simpler).
The pics which I've included in this post are just a variety of sights which I've seen in the past couple of weeks around Bangkok.
My bike (Old Saartjie) on the first day of this trip, 27 March 2007.
PLEASE HELP TO KEEP OLD SAARTJIE'S WHEELS ROLLING: In order to fund this cycle trip I'd sold everything I had, but that has long gone. Please help if you can! If you want to contribute, then please contact me on my e-mail, and I will give you details. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My Cycle Route
Starting in Cape Town, South Africa, on 27 March 2007 - 146 849 km so far
My name is Ernest Markwood, and I am a South African formerly from Cape Town. I am a Research Psychologist by profession, and operated a Market Research business before embarking on this journey. I sold my posessions and took off by bicycle all the way through Africa from Cape Town. Since then I've proceeded via the Middle-East through Turkey, the Caucusus, Iran, Sub-Continent (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal), China, South-East Asia, Indonesia, Australia, South- and Central America, and the USA, crossing Canada from the West to East and then all the way down the East coast of USA, and Jamaica. Currently my mission is to close gaps in order to form a continuous route around the world. I left Cape Town on 27 March 2007. This was not intended to be a race, but rather an experience (and so it is!).
Me (Ernest), on one of my better days
. . . . on this trip I have looked like this . . . .
- - - also like this . . .
. . . . and I've even looked like this!
I have not been cycling on my own for this entire trip. Leana and I left together on 27 March 2007 from Cape Town, South Africa (our former hometown). Since then we have cycled separately at intervals, although in total we have been together much of the time. We split in 2013. For more about her see leananiemand.org.za