Day 5

Trip Start Apr 02, 2012
Trip End Aug 29, 2012

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Flag of Thailand  , Ubon Ratchathani,
Friday, April 6, 2012

I wake up at the Banpak Mongkhon hotel
and load my backpack. I rent a motorbike from the hotel for 200 baht
a day and head out to explore the area. I stop to take some pictures
and then try to continue on, but am confounded because I can't start
my motor bike. I try the kick start for a few minutes and curse the
bike for not starting. I give up for a short while and consider what
my options are. I am in the middle of a forest in some mountains and
there isn't anything around. I try the bike again with no success.
After studying the bike for signs of obvious damage, I realize that
the keys is in the off position. I turn it to 'on' and the bike
starts on the first kick. Amazing! I ride about 30m or 40 K to a
place called Sam Pan Bok which means three thousand holes. It is an
interesting and beautiful place along the river where the sandstone
rocks all look like Swiss cheese. I can't resist the call and I jump
off a cliff into the river. I had a small boy take a picture but all
he got was the splash. I turn around here and head back towards my
hotel. I ride the motorbike standing up, in hopes of drying my
shorts, and people give me curious stares. I stop for a bottle of
water at a shop and sit on the steps. Some soldiers pull up and start
talking to me and give me a cold beer. They didn't offer, they just
handed it to me, as Thai drinking courtesy dictates. On the ride
back, I found some awesome waterfalls in the Swiss cheese style
sandstone landscape. I had the place to myself so I enjoyed being
natural and swam in my birthday suit. I left my Buddha necklace
hanging on a rock there by accident, a non intentional offering I
decided. The sky got dark quickly and I became aware that a huge
storm was coming. I sped towards my destination on unfamiliar back
roads and got lost as the wind knocked leaves and pods out of the
trees that smacked me in the face and arms and legs. I stopped for
gas and directions and the temple from the village was pounding giant
drums. I imagined that the drums were calling in the storm, but I
have never met a Thai who practices weather magic. I made it back to
the hotel by traveling very fast and missed the storm by a few
minutes. Aon was there and we had a good conversation. She helped me
find an aloe plant so I could apply it to my red sunburned skin.
After the rain I found some good food at the local market and
observed that several of the dogs were painted purple. No clue about
that one. An interesting point of the day for me was that I spent
some of my solo motorbike trip conversing with deceased loved ones.
My grandmas and my friend Jacqui in particular. I also had been
thinking about my friend Rafael who was always suggesting that he was
dying but never did. He died that same day I later learned.
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