So now we are 3 months in its safe to say I have become quite accustomed to the Thai way of life, I know when to Wai and how to. I can order the food I want and even ask for them to leave out the nuts. I can have a basic conversation, read some words that are written i Thai (although not many) and even write a few including number, test, quiet, class, Phrae and Jennie. I have even got used to the Thai driving which at the best of time is insane…. or at least I thought I had!
Now when you first get your bike here you have to learn a few things….
1. Always put you feet down when the bike comes to a stop (Sounds silly but at first its easy to forget!)
2.The accelerator is actually quite sensitive
3. Remember to always hold down the break before you start the bike
4. You can turn left at most traffic lights, even if the red light is on
5. There is no such thing as undertaking!
So i had mastered all of this… fair enough and (in my own opinion and Cat’s I was a good driver)
Now every 3 months you must leave the country or go to the nearest immigration office and extend your visa. Well my time was up… and I got told 2 days before I had to go…. the only problem was I had booked my bus ticket to Chang Mai (the complete opposite direction!) Since Sam and Mal needed to go we thought we would use the bikes…. after all 120km there isnt so bad…. until you remember you have to come back!!!
So we set off and things were going well until the heavens opened and rain battered down. On went the ponchos and off we went. To get to Nan you have to go away up the mountains and the roads are full of big bends (mostly blind ones) but the drive is lovely!
The Thai’s are clearly very used to this road and despite the rain battering down they were doing about 100km/hr…. which i usually only do when on a straight road, in the dry weather when there is not too much traffic.
It was CRAZY!!!!!! There were buses over taking cars…. ON THE BENDS!!!!! motorbikes over taking me on the inside giving me a massive fright, then 3 cars over taking another one when there were cars coming from the opposite direction!!!
Now for most people this would be bad enough….. however this gave me the most VIVID flashbacks I’ve ever had!! Everyone knows about my Russian accident (for those that dont… in short a car over taking a car overtaking (yes really) hit me and knocked me off my (pedal) bike, breaking my hand and getting a few nasty gashes) and ever since then I have been slightly nervous of oncoming vehicles…. my poor uncle who did my driving lessons found this out when I kept swerving slightly any time a car drove past us! (Sorry Uncle Bob!) but at the most part I thought I had got over this.
However after a couple of these insane over taking displays I suddenly realized that the reason I had probably not been seriously injured/killed in Russia was the fact I had slowed down to an almost stand still….. where as here I was doing around 60km/hr! Was a reminder that its not yourself you have to watch but the other people around you!
Finally down from the mountain path, only the highway with a pick up truck going in and out of the motorbike lane (they usually have a separate lane dedicated to bikes on the big roads!) Could not for the life of me understand what this plonker was up to so I went wide and overtook him!
We got to Nan and got our visa sorted, then had French toast for lunch out a small wee cafe! (Amaaaaaaazing!)
On the way back I knew what to expect…. off we went and all was fine…. came to the mountain path again and it didn’t seem so bad…. until on one of the blind corners a truck decided to overtake me (I was doing 60/70km/hr as it was!) There were cars coming and I got that horrible feeling I got in Russia when I just though….. ‘there is nothing I can do here’ All of a sudden the truck put his foot down, and went in front of me (I had slowed down by this point) and he squeezed in just in the nick of time!! I was just about to his my horn when I looked and realized the truck was actually a police van!!!!!!!!!!! And to top it off….. the police man on the passenger side looked out his window, smiled and waved like his driver hadn’t just pulled the most ridiculous stunt ever!!!!!!
Luckily (before my parents have a panic attack….) I never venture into the mountains with my bike or at least not as far as that!! So I am quite glad that is my visa run over until November!!!!!
Tho it back up the saying we have here when things are ‘slightly different from back home’
This is Thailand!!!!!