Day 2: Chiang Mai to Lampang 135km

Started my day at 6:30 because I wanted to head off to the Immigration office before starting the cycle trip. I went for some breakfast, check the obligatory Facebook, then packed my bags into the Spice Roads bus and headed off to the immigration office.

Immigration opened at 8am, so I figured if I arrived at 7:45am I would be early enough to get into the queue. The immigration office was exactly like South Africa, dunno why I thought it would be different. I decided to skip the visa extension and pay the fine. Fuck that, too much effort, I don’t care anymore.

I asked the the tour driver to take me back to the group so we could start the tour. I arrived around 8:15am and we set off shortly there after for our first serious day of riding. We had 130km ahead of us, one climb and would end in a city called Lampang.

We rode through Chiang Mai in much the same route as the first day when we did our warm up ride. We headed out towards the farm lands. People were getting to know each other and chatting. I seemed to get along with the Danish guy Svening really well, he was a kayaker who had been kayaking the world circuit in his younger years, pretty fit guy.

I stopped along the road a few times to take shots of the local farm lands. I saw a dam with a guy floating on it picking something, Woody (guide) said that he was picking morning glory. We had been eating the veggie in a number of dishes during the course of the holiday. We also saw long beans, bananas, Thai eggplant, rice paddies and some fish farms which were interesting to see.

Our first pit stop was at a Buddhist temple along the way. The pace was fairly easy going until this point because we were not on straight roads and had to stick together. After refueling and snapping a bunch of pics we headed off.

Our next stop was another temple, this temple was much older and Woody explained a number of interesting facts about the Buddhist temples. We spent quite a bit of time at this temple, prayed to Buddha and donated some money to the temple.

The next stretch was set to be straight road and the guides allowed me to head off on my own. I decided to put foot and seriously push some high speeds. The one old dude Allan decided it to try give it a go with me, we were pushing 40km per hour when he dropped, I kept going until I hit a cross roads. Wow it felt good to be pushing the speed on a road bike. I had forgotten what was like to ride like this, surprisingly I was feeling super strong even though I had not trained on a bike in 4 weeks.

I hit an intersection and waited for the others. Mr Tee joined me and I decided to test his it riding skills. I pumped it even harder than before to check his break point or how strong he was. We were riding through such beautiful landscape, I saw so many things I had questions about and asked him a few questions. He got annoyed with me because I was speaking while we were riding so hard, his words were “no talk when fast ride”. I chuckled and pushed on. He sucked my wheel and didn’t do much work on the front. Either way I was loving the riding.

We had a pit stop, much fruit, food and drank plenty fluids. The temperature was slowly rising, we were feeling the heat, but the great thing was it wasn’t humid, thank goodness! I kept pushing hard, but not top speed this time, some other people joined us and we stayed together. I basically sat on the front doing most of the work, which was fun actually.

The old dude Allan decided to attack us, the game was on, next Mr Tee attacked, we kept attacking and going for it until we hit a highway. Next was the climb we were told about in briefing. Mr Tee and I dropped the other pretty quickly, then next thing I looked back and he was 50m behind me. I was hurting a bit, considering we still had the rest of the climb and another 45km before we got home I decided to ease off.

After we got to the top of hill it was pit stop time again. The first person behind me was Svenning, I was amazed at this guys stamina and strength. Then came Lesley the Alaskan woman and after that the rest of the peeps hit the top in drips and drabs. Allan who was 72 and had been attacking hit the wall, he was dehydrated and feeling the heat badly.

After refueling a bit we headed down the mountain to the elephant sanctuary and rehabilitation clinic. We had lunch there and afterwards went to feed the elephants. Snapped a million pics of the baby elephant and mummy elephant. Aaaaaah sweet, happiness.

We were quite far behind schedule and the guides were concerned we wouldn’t make the hotel by dark in Lampang. We pushed on to Lampang, the sun started setting but we decided we were close enough to just just make the hotel before complete darkness fell on us.

We arrived at the hotel at 6:40pm in pretty much darkness. The guides said we would have dinner at 8pm and we would travel to the on horse drawn carts. Lampang is known as the cowboy town. he horse drawn carts were a real novelty.

Dinner was next to a river again and we had a live band playing cover songs. It was hilarious listening to the cover songs. We had a fabulous dinner, the food was yummy. We stayed at the restaurant for a couple till 10pm.

On the way home I asked the guides to drop me at the market. I bought myself an AngryBirds tshirt cause I been playing tons of Angry Birds this holiday, I was very happy with my purchase. I headed back to the hotel we were staying in, on the way back I made a stop at 7eleven to pick up red bull for my vodka drinks. I bought a Chang for the walk back…. Mmmmmm… Chang o’clock at 10:30pm.

On the last stretch I stopped off at Kem Tattoo and had a phat chat session with some local Thai peeps. Really funny guys, they were listening to Slipknot and pouring me large SangSom drinks. I proceeded to get really drunk with the guys. I taught the guys how to say “Aweh”! I love Thai people, so friendly and easy going.

After getting fairly motherless with the Thais I really did head home and got to sleep sometime after midnight.

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Gearing up for new years on Koh Tao

We left Koh Phangan on an early Lomprayah ferry and headed over to Koh Tao for our long awaited new years festival. The last boat trip to Koh Tao in 2010 was rough as hell and I wanted to hurl most of the way. This time was much better, the boat trip was still a little bumpy, but we focused on a BBC documentary by Russel Brand called “On the Road” – brilliant docci, but we watched it without sound!

The boat trip passed in no time and before I knew it we were walking up the pier. We were staying at a place called Save Bungalows. We knew it was not far from the pier and it was great because all we had to do is walk 5 min to check in at reception. Our plans were working out perfectly so far as the room we book was not fancy, but just what we needed for the next few days during the trance festival.

Our friends Elzette, Lea and Ilandi had already arrived on the island a few days before. Our friends Braam and Zuzka who had been on Koh Chang arrived a few hours before us. Our other friend Jason was arriving on another ferry in the afternoon. While waiting for Jason to arrive we hired a scooter and went off to the very commercial beach called Sairee beach to kill some time.

While we were waiting for Jason to arrive I bumped into Christian who is an Austrian friend we met last time we visited Koh Tao for The Experience festival. Christian was waiting for a friend who was arriving on the same ferry, so we all waited at the ferry together.

Jason was the first person off the ferry and he was staying at Save Bungalows so we went to get him booked in. While Jason was settling in I took Barbara to buy some new clothes and grab a bite to eat.

Jason had a friend staying in Chalok Baan where we stayed the year before, so we took the scooter for a ride and had a beer with his mate Mark. We wanted to all hook up for dinner as one big SAFA group, so we picked a place to eat and made plans to meet that evening.

Facebook became our main communication tool to get hold of the girls (Elzette, Lea, Ilandi). We arranged a meeting spot. I had not met Ilandi and Lea yet, but Elzette was an old friend of mine from Paarl. It was super once we all hooked up, I could tell we would make a great party unit for the next week!

Dinner was fantastic, but most of us were tired from traveling so after a few more drinks we headed home for some much needed sleep. The next day would be the start of a 4 day trance festival and our New Years celebrations.

developing quite a bad addition to farmv…

developing quite a bad addition to farmville

About 2-3 weeks back I started seeing people publish farmville results to their facebook profiles. At first I ignored it because I figured it was another crappy facebook app or game. The I started noticing more and more friends using it. Curiosity got the better of me….

I installed the application farmville – http://apps.facebook.com/onthefarm/ – and tried it out. Within a couple of days I was hooked. Planting crops, harvesting trees, collecting farm animals and way more. I started conning my friends and wife into starting a farm in farmville… Before we know what hit us, we were all hopelessly hooked.

Try the game out, you might like it.

P.S. Be warned it is addictive and I take no responsibility for other peoples addictions….