Bike Ride

So the bike ride didn't turn out quite as I expected it to.

First off, the bike - or rather the second bike.  After having seen some folks struggling through the mud the day before on a fixed gear thin tire road bike I'd decided to rent from one of the two little shops that also had mountain bikes.  Off I went on a bike way too small for me.  Not too bad except that about 4 blocks later the chain broke and left me spinning useless peddles in traffic.  I found the chain and hauled the bike back to the show where the little lady apologized profusely and gave me another bike that fit me much better.

blue bastard bikeBike #2 - the noisy blue bastard as he's come to be known - had three working gears that I dubbed "punishing", "falling down slow", and "rusty".  Since I wanted to move and conserve my legs for the 30k rusty it was.  Rusty wasn't so bad speed wise but he had a tendency to skip teeth every now and then and scrape the chain against the bike frame - still, for $2 a day it's not that bad.

After about 10k I stopped at the first temple and was really starting to loath rusty.  When the inevitable gaggle of children approached proffering t-shirts, water, and various nick-knacks I threw them a curve ball and asked if they had any grease or oil.  All but one little guy and his determined water profiteering sister immediately wandered away.  The boy asked me to spell out the word in the dirt - which I wrote in huge capital letters "GREASE".  "Oh! Grease!" he said.  "Yeah, grease, do you have any?", "No, I don't know this word.. but I want to learn, what is it?"  Inquisitive little fellow, I tried explaining that I wanted things to move smoothly.  that didn't work so I tried rubbing my hands together slowly and then saying grease and rubbing them together quickly.  The littler girl took off and came back with some hand soap - I'd forgotten about that universal sign (and my hands were filthy from writing in the clay).  I tried drawing a picture with two blocks sliding back and forth across each other and finally brought out two notebooks and slid them together.  None of those things seemed to really convey the concept but all of a sudden he shouts "OH!" then makes a spray can gesture (and "tshhhh" sound) while "spraying" along the chain.  perfect!  He says he'll get me some if I also buy his map - fine, sure whatever - and off he goes on his bike.  I decide to check out the little temple while I wait.

The temple itself is nothing spectacular but sitting in the shade is nice and I overhear some folks from down south talking to their guide about where they're from.  "Louisiana, New Orleans, You probably know about it from Katrina a few years ago".  No comprehension on the guide's side and so they go into a long history of the storm and how exactly it had come within 5 blocks of their house - how it had been huge world wide news.  When I left they were still trying to convince him he knew where they lived.

Back out to the bike the little boy had returned with a water bottle with about an inch of black used motor oil in it.  Not quite the WD-40 I was looking for but it would do the job.  I spent 10 minutes messily oiling the chain and sprockets to end up with an oil covered hand and a slightly better working bike.  A failed attempt at washing my hands in sand (not to future emergency bike repair folks, that doesn't work) and I was off again.

I stopped at a few little places beside the road and climbed to the top of an incomplete temple (it had been struck by lightning during construction, much bad juju) and finally got to the tree temple again.  And nothing.  It just wasn't happening.  there were about a half dozen giant tourist busses and so many people in the complex you could barely move.  A little down cast I went and grabbed some spicy chicken and talked with one of the vendors before moving on (turns out sunday is the busy day).

I made a few more stops before starting the 8k leg home and right about the time I was coming off of the panoramic view hill the thunderous downpour started.  I mean this was a ridiculous amount of rain - soaked to the bone in about a minute.  Riding blind through the construction zone was a little freaky but other than that it was a pleasant if ridiculous ride home.  I noticed along the way that the singing frogs seem to start back up just before the rain stops.  they got it wrong a few times (it would lighten but not stop) but generally speaking a handy indicator.  I returned blue bastard in better running shape but caked in red mud (I was  similarly caked) and headed home where I quickly passed out for a few hours.  Night market, feet cleaning fish and average curry commenced.

now I'm just trying to book my flight from Bangkok down to Phuket and once again bank of america has decided it must protect me from myself and shut off my credit card.  time to make an international collect call and let my ire be known.


  • projects
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.