Monday, October 15, 2012

GAs in human form. 12 Oct, 2012

Leaving the resort late is a requirement to fully take advantage of the included breakfast. The menu implies a single serving but we are burning a few extra kilojoules so we request many different dishes because the appetite is fierce and the oatmeal with honey soaked raisins soooo good.

Riding at our normal rate was putting me behind the closing time of a potential bike shop at  Nakon Si Thammerat, so after our usual 2:30 lunch finished off with a coconut icy pole from a traveling vendor that was sooo delicious, I purchased a black rice icy pole that was chewy and even more delicious.

If you think dear reader that food is my preoccupation then you are correct, but a bike is needed to chase it down, and being a Friday arvo... Arriving at Nakon in advance of my companions the roads were chockers, but out of the traffic and competing businesses shone the beacon of hope "Action Bike". The time was 4:35 but the fit looking older proprietor was courteous and proficient.

He rose from his office desk above which a broken bike helmet was suspended in two pieces, a reminder of the two helmets that gave their lives to protect my brain box and poignant reminder to others. Completion photos on the wall showed he was not living in the past, he had completed in a marathon earlier in the year.

He slid out a chair for me, had the bike on a proper bike stand and his young assistant gave me a plastic cup of drinking water with a sealed plastic lid with the straw pushed through, chilled and refreshing.

Turns out the assistant studied English for ten months at the Gold Coast, his stay in Oz being 16 months. Knowing almost no English before his studies he spoke confidently and correctly, amazing.

By the time I finished this idle chat the proprietor had the spoke in. He invited me to inspect the wheel was running true before putting on the rim tape and completing the job, good service indeed.

This little shop had the stuff a touring cyclist would need including a Surly touring bike being assembled, a bike on my short list when I replace my aged and much loved Apollo.

Turns out a festival was happening so despite the directions from the bike shop I lost my way. A call to Walter giving him the name of the business I was near and in no time flat he appears on the back of the bell-hop's motor bike from the Ligor City Hotel. The Thais are indeed kind people.

Speaking of kind deeds, the rear dérailleur that broke was replaced by a good samaritan that spotted me and Jim on the side of the road outside La Grande Oregon during our trans US trip in 2006. He put our bikes into his pickup and took us to a friends busy bike shop and replaced and paid for the dérailleur just before the Saturday closing time. I love bicycle touring.

Mark Collins

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