Friday, 30 September 2011

Back in the UK

For my mum's birthday. Ah!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Breakfast Malaysian-style

Back to Hari Raya

We met up with Mokhtar and co in Kuala Lumpa and they're still eating at Hari Raya parties!

Kuala Lumpur

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Goodbye Rusty

We sold our beloved tandem in Phuket. A sad moment. I've been reading a lot about Buddhism in Thailand so that makes it easier. Knowing that none of this actually exists and it's just suffering makes it easier.

Bus to Hat Yai now and tomorrow KL.

Last ride

Monday, 19 September 2011

More jamming





Taj at work

Beautiful home he designed himself

Onstage in the Rocking Angel

Backing band at an impromptu show

Not too shabby

Learning Thai cooking

Home cooking

Chinese breakfast Thai style

Taj and Chom

For the past week almost we've been staying with Taj and Chom in Phuket. A really lovely couple who've looked after us so well.

They're both architects but don't dance much. And have travelled extensively in India and China and have great travelling stories. It's been a blast.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Made it down

Slower going down

Tiger temple

Worth the climb. We got up there before the sunrise at 6. The exercise for the day done before breakfast.

Sunrise at Tiger Temple

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Monday, 12 September 2011

Trang jamming

Botanical gardens




Not good for my vertigo

Waiting out the waves

Tour guides and diving instructors waiting for the waves to stop and the season to start next month.

Today's root

Go west. That's all we know

Sunday, 11 September 2011


We're in Trang now. Mid-thailand. The whole countries under-water judging from the news.

We hitchhiked with rusty from phattalung, over the mountain pass in the back of a van in the pouring rain, and got dropped off in the local mall, which are identical the world over. Just dried off and then Maria knocked her coffee over and it went on her legs and she was badly burnt. We couldn't get any help in the mall and ended up in hospital as she was in such pain. After that we got a tuktuk to the cheapest hotel, which turned out very nice. €3.80 per night by the station. You can live cheap in Thailand!

We just had a lazy sunday watching the rain.


Blending in

Trang Market





Thai train

Beach cabin

Perentian islands

After Hari Raya all the locals advised us to go to the nearby perenthian islands, an hour off the coast by bone-jarring speedboat.

We found a cheap cabin for 30 ringit (about €8) and after volleyball laid on the beach for three days. Which wasn't as nice as it sounds, as we were both sick from the heat. On the last day we managed snorkelling and were glad we came. The coral was teeming with life and we were surrounded by fish.

After the island we cycled north back to Kota bhura. Then another day to just near the thai border. We almost made it but thunderstorm struck. We have a small window of riding, as we can only start at 4pm because it's too unbearably hot, and then thunderstorms kick in around 6. In the morning it's boiling by 8.

Across the border next day we got the train north to better countryside and cooler weather. We hoped.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

First cut

Baby christening Muslim style


Hari Raya

Hari Raya was an experience. After a month of daylight fasting they celebrate by eating in each other's houses. It's congestion on the roads and indigestion in the stomach for around 7 days. They eat non-stop. Taking it in turns to host. Visiting family members they only see at this time of the year, and then seeing them again and again in different houses as each does the same circuit. Some host with a speciality dish, others with sweets, depending on the time of day, so their is some variety.

Mokhtar and his family were our very kind hosts for four days. He lives in KL but keeps the family house here on the north east coast for these occasions. It was his grandson's christening (insert islamic word here) and he had to have a goat sacrificed. It was in the early morning so we were spared the sight. Although in the main he is at odds with this extremely conservative society. He even used to have a dog, which is frowned upon.

The people of this province have voted in an Islamic council and live without much of what they have on the West coast.

There is no alcohol allowed but there is a drugs problem and many roads have speed bumps to stop the kids motorbike racing, as there have been many deaths. But there is little else for them to do. No bars or clubs or even cinemas.

Music is discouraged too. When I played at the Ramadan bazars I would have been the first time some people had heard live music.

The religious leaders believe that this life should be a preparation for the next and free from all distractions.

When we were busking, a few times, those dressed like priests would come and stare at us for a long time, circling, thinking, and then put money in the hat.

It made me think about coming back next year with a band on the back of a flatbed truck and put on a real show, touring the circuit of bazars. The hotels are empty this time of year. It would need a bit of sponsorship to cover the costs. Maybe if I did it officially it would cause problems though.

The idea of travelling with a band and a truck with a sound system appeals to me though. Playing shows for the people who are without. Busking goes part of the way but a band is a show.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Thunderstorms and cycling

We're still making our way up the east coast of Malaysia. There aren't many people and not much to see but we knew that. It's nice to have some more of the earth to ourselves after java and Singapore, which were taken.

The monsoon season isn't for another month but the thunderstorms are starting. They come around 4pm. We didn't learn our lesson until the second time. Now we will ride in the early morning.

Yesterday we were still riding at 6 looking for a homestay and got caught in a torrential downpour that was going to last all night. We sheltered in a bus stop with some locals who gave us directions to a nearby resort. We made a dash for it before it got dark and got soaked to the skin. Today we ride in wet clothes. they should dry off pretty quick.

There aren't many homestays along here, just a lot of unfinished or closed resorts. I don't know the story. It's even hard to get food for breakfast or lunch because of ramadan.

Only a few days left of this episode of the tour. Ramadan ends soon with the hari raya festival, then we'll cross into Thailand, then we'll head to the west coast to avoid the storms.