Well pull my nob and feed it to the ladyboys, we’ve made it Thailand!!!
But crikey it was tough. Punctues, monsoon rain, stiff-lipped border officials and a town where in every house lived a whore. Or so it seemed.
The day started in Cameron Islands, a place described quite accurately by my good friend Laura as being like a Malaysian Yorkshire Dales. From there I rode south to the coast, then North, up past Penang – the port town where Dot had arrived the week before – and then blasted along the motorway to the border just three hours away. It was 1pm, the sun was shining, the day was going good.
Then I got a puncture. At first I thought it was just a bit of wind, but when Dot’s back end really started to wiggle I pulled over and there her tyre was; flat. The fifth puncture of our adventure.
With a couple of road sweepers stood around laughing I got my tools out, balanced Dot’s back end on a brick and whipped out her wheel. Clearly struggling, a few more men came to help and in no time we all stood proud like parents in the delivery room as Dot sat upright on her new back tyre. We all took photos, shook oily hands, they left, I looked back, the tyre was flat again, it started to rain, it was now 4p and I was as deflated as the tyre.
Now on my own I again lifted Dot’s skirt, took out the wheel, levered off the tyre and found a nail I’d not removed the first time. What a moron. With no more new inner tubes I mended the old one at a service station where an old China man held a brolly over my head while I stuck a plaster over the blowing hole. The rain now pounding the wheel went back on, the tools were put away and this time, finally, Dot didn’t fart.
As I was about to leave a local know it-all advised I stay at a town on the Malaysian side of the divide. He had a point but I had another. It was 6pm. Raining. Getting dark. Sod this. Let’s make a run for the border.
Two hours being drenched by the waves of passing lorries and Dot gettng a litlte throaty, we made it. Wet and weary we bumbled through the passport procedure and documentation for the bike before being spat out the other side in a new country, a long slender one, just like the men now women who must remain constantly jealous that as many times as they meet the surgeon they will never quite be able to achieve the reach or velocity of the proper ping pong firers who were born that way.
It was 10pm when the border guard tells me to sleep in Hat Yai. I wasn’t sure. It’s here that suicide bombings recently took out a market crowd. When I get there though I find banging banging of a different sort. Ladies everywhere, offering themselves and promising many exotic pleasures in exchange for one of these funny notes I’ve just drawn from the cash machine. I said no of course. I couldn’t cheat on Dot.
At 11.30pm I found a hostel. It was dirty, smelly with a man on reception most incredibly rude. But what’s the altenative I pondered. Then Dot chirped up, ‘Why don’t we just ride through the night to Phuket and be there for breakfast?” She had a point. Make up some ground and avoid a night in brothel city. So that’s what we did. Leaving hat Yai at midnight with just a scribbled map drawn by an english man we met in the corner shop, we had an 8 hour journey ahead of us with eyes that were already ruined from just one too many hours up singing around that campfire I mentioned in the last email.
Heading north, we rode for a couple of hours before Dot stated to go frequently silent. I couldn’t hear her engine or even her voice. Then I realised. I was drifting off to sleep. This was stupid. I had to rest. I thought about pitching my tent somewhere but not being able to see much off the side of the road I settled for the bench in a bus stop. Just rolled out my wicker mat and slept for an hour while Dot stood guard.
We rode a little further, snoozed again on another park bench, the sun rose and then I realised that after 24 hours on the road I reallly ought to stop. At 11am we pulled into a coastal town called Krabi, finding a hostel and washing my armpits because they smelt and my face because after all that time in the saddle it was black. But that didn’t matter. We were in our fifth country of the trip with time to explore it properly, not just dash through like all the others.
Yesterday, to recover, I joined the tourist trail and went on a four-iland boat cruise. It was okay, like all of them a little boring towards the end, but for me also worrying, because I borrowed a mask and snorkel and then watched it sink to the bottom of the sea. Don’t say anything I thought, just keep quiet. But at the end of the day the man nobbled me, telling me I’d have to pay 25 quid for a placement. That’s three days budget for me and so I pleaded poverty and told him I only had a tenner. Luckily he took pity on me and sailed back to the site, optimisitc we’d find it. I daren’t look at the other passengers, they just wanted to go home. They were pissed.
And yet somehow, with just a flimsy mask and a lung full of air, we found it. Just there, at the bottom of the ocean. What are the chances of that? So I hugged the man and shook his hand. He then asked me for money. Two quid. I can handle that.
And so it would all be good news if I hadn’t discovered yesterday that I need third party inusrance to ride through Thailand – just in case I run over someone’s chicken and they demand a million to mend it. Apparently I was supposed to buy it at the border but of course not being prepard in the slightest for this trip I didn’t. So now I’m trying to back-track, seeing if I can still get it now I’ve crossed. If I can’t then I guess it’s back to the border in the morning to buy it. A 600kms round trip, it’s hardly what I had in mind when North thailand’s calling.
But who cares, feeling flush I’ve just splashed out on a couple of ping-pong bats in preparation for mine and Dot’s own erotic show. “A boy and his bike”. Balls from her exhaust pipe being returned by a bat that’s wedged in my bottom. You heard it hear first. Images to follow.