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Old 08-09-2012, 08:16 PM   #346
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+ 1 on the get medical.. but easier said than done in Thailand. Denge and Malaria are tough on the body. I did a little stin in PNG when I was in the army and it aint fun and stays with you forever, just surfaces every now and then when you least expect it.

Not so sure how you manage to get water in the carbs, but I guess it does rain fairly hard there. Keep the air box sealed.

& take it easy mate.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:09 PM   #347
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I don't get time to read this ride report for several weeks then have to read 4 odd pages to catch up. It's kept be busy for a while and again I thoroughly enjoyed the story and pics

Drown that disease with good old Rum mate, don't stop now I want to hear about HCMT and how you get the big bike into Nam

Seriously bleeding gums sounds a bit ordinary, get you arse to a doc NOW
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:09 AM   #348
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I'd suggest storing the bike at the hotel and taking a taxi to the nearest big town and a hospital. Not big money. Mrs Kood's diagnosis is malaria. She had it was she was a kid. Hopefully she's wrong and it's something minor.
Good luck
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Old 08-10-2012, 10:06 AM   #349
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Thanks for the thoughts folks. I'm feeling better today. I honestly set out for the hospital again this morning, but the bike workshop is in between here and there... and I never got to the hospital. I did mention I'm feeling a lot better.... getting moving helps.

The bike was nearly ready when I stopped at the workshop and I got a thumbs up from the mechanic. He said, not in so many words, given his lack of English, that the fuel was full of water. I pulled the cap on the Safari tank and you could see some water droplets on it. The bike had been outside under a tree while I was bedridden... and its been pissing down rain. It seems it was dripping into the lock mechanism and getting into the tank. I got away OK on it yesterday... as there was good fuel in the carbies... but it got a bellyfull of water 150 metres down the road.

It was starting and idling well and we also replaced a couple of missing bolts. I set off back towards the guesthouse... and got 50 metres before it conked out. A bit of careful starting, stalling etc... and the last of the water was gone and I got it back here with no stutters. Its got a plastic sheet on it now. I can't get it under cover, as there's no sidestand and nothing to lean it on.

The cleaning lady at the guesthouse has taken pity on me and got rid of all the bloodstained pillowslips... is that too much detail? At this stage, it looks like she can change them all again tomorrow, because I'm planning on heading north. I've got 2 weeks left on my Thai visa and I'm going to need to get tyres. All this stuffing around means I haven't organised anything, so I imagine I'll have a few days wait in Chiang Mai or similar for tyres.
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:03 PM   #350
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Originally Posted by The Bigfella View Post
The cleaning lady at the guesthouse has taken pity on me and got rid of all the bloodstained pillowslips... is that too much detail?
What have ya got, a dose of EBOLA?

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Old 08-10-2012, 10:13 PM   #351
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My wife and I read your posts every evening. We've done this for a month and feel as if we know you well because as you write you are one of a few travel writers who can take us with you. This series is if not the best ride report, it is among the top few. Do get checked out at a competent medical facility.
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Old 08-11-2012, 02:17 AM   #352
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Thanks folks. My daughter is on my case now... and she's been there, done that. She had amoebic dysentry in India a few years back. So, I've been a good boy and went to the hospital today. She's not happy though and there's an email war happening. I reckon if this town wasn't almost under the flood waters, I'd park the bike here for a month or two and head home until the wet's lost its fury.

The bleeding gums is one thing associated with Dengue Fever.... but who knows? I guess I've eaten, kissed or been bitten by the wrong thing somewhere along the line. My back spasms may be separate from the main thing though too... I did have to pick up a fully laden bike 10 days or so back when the sidestand collapsed. And.. the diarhea might've been that curry,,, and.... well, at least my dick hasn't dropped off.

Good news is I tested clear for Dengue and Malaria. The Doc had some English, but we struggled a little bit. He didn't know what salicylates are... but I know through bitter experience that I'm intolerant of them.. anaphylaxis material (yeah... been there, done that once... don't want to do it ever again, especially here, believe me)... and I think one of the meds he supplied me might be full of salicylates. I know I can't take anti-inflammatories... and he prescribed me a muscle relaxant tablet.... warning, warning.....

What he's said is that I've got a non specific tropical infection... and that I'm in the recovery phase. I sure as hell went backwards today though. General malaise... weak arms, headache, bit of fever, rashes, itchy. I'd set the alarm for an early departure. Nope... I'm not silly enough to head away from a hospital to a small border town without one, 240km away feeling like that.... especially without a sidestand and on roads that have limited posts for leaning the bike against. I had to stop and pee from in the saddle on the Nu Pho ride... not an easy thing on a tall bike. What stopped me was the going backwards bit today. I had to have assistance to get out of bed a few days back.... and I'd hate to end up that weak out on the road. I'd been improving, but, who knows. I'll see how I am in the morning.... or the next morning.

What's knawing at me is the need for some work on the bike before I get to Laos. I'll need time to get tyres, try and fix the stand, get the right oil... I'm thinking a quick visa run and back. Whaterver... it'll all work out.... and hey... here's the housekeeper's daughter helping out. Mum was massaging my head. They're Burmese btw... get about $3 a day... and if they sneak an hour out to give me a massage for another $3... they're pretty happy. The daughter is older than she looks, about 19, I think.

I want to do something about this too... I'd hate to hole a radiator here. That's where the Safari tank rubs

A man should only do the work that is required of him. To do more is a form of greed.

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Old 08-11-2012, 08:12 AM   #353
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So help me... I'm going to scream. My fault... didn't check that the connection hadn't dropped out, but I just lost a loooong update post. I'd copied it too, but for some reason I only got one photo.... No wonder I get flashbacks when I write some things... I'll do it up again. Back soon with it in smaller chunks.
A man should only do the work that is required of him. To do more is a form of greed.

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Old 08-11-2012, 08:28 AM   #354
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When I was in Sangkla Buri, I took a quick trip to the border... it isn't far away. I could have put more than one foot into Burma... but I wasn't prepared to sacrifice 5 weeks of visa to get 2 in return on the way back. I decided then and there to try and set both feet into the country when I got further north.

Take a look at the ute coming out of Burma.... bearing in mind smoke doesn't show very well in photos. Lots of very crappy vehicles.

... and, btw, these are elephant balls... of sorts. There was lots of ivory there, although I don't know if it is real.

The border markets have some amazing stuff. Big slab tables, gemstones (Burma is famous for its gemstones) and so on. I bought some "silver", a cheap saphire, a tiger eye necklace and some seven colour stone (which I haven't found on Google yet... apart from an American version). Plenty of junk there... but the turned tree trunk stools - 2' tall and maybe 15" diameter... some of them out of teak, were interesting.

Here's one of the gemstone sellers... I bought the saphire here... not top class, but nice enough for a kid. This is the crystals, etc section. They had some nice amber pieces with flies in them, but I'm space limited. I did buy a raw piece of the seven colour stone - dark stuff just to the left of the pink stone in the centre. Lots of carved jade... plenty of "92.5% Silver"... ahem.

Some of those turned 2' stools

... an anti-poaching sign.... 50' from all the stalls selling ivory

I love the slab tables... there were lots of 3' diameter teak slab tables....dozens of them - at the guesthouse. Argghhh.

Not everything is cheap. That's a large, beautifully done carving... and this quick happy snap doesn't really show its detail and depth...

The pricetag is 95,000 baht. Take one nought off and divide by 3. Call it $3,000. Its a bartering place though. Had a funny moment... I bought one silver bracelet... for 150 baht ($5) and was about to hand over the cash and I realised I'd not bartered... so I said "hey... I forgot to barter... how about 100 baht?"... we settled at 120. Normally, you'd go in at half what they ask.... and maybe settle at 3/4... so she did OK.

No-man's land at the border.

I don't think I've posted this yet. I thought these kids had grabbed leaves as umbrellas (we'd just got drenched whilst in the middle of the Mon Bridge)

Nope... they are their version of paper planes. Fold them at the stalk end and drop them over.... and watch them spiral or glide.

Mon Bridge detail

Don't these things ever die?

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Old 08-15-2012, 01:25 AM   #355
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I think I've kicked the worst of the bug I had. I pulled a big ride the other day... 8 hours 17 minutes in the saddle. 62kmh average - which surprised me because most of it was in the wet on crap roads. More on that later on though. Let's finish off Sangkhla Buri... on the western edge of central Thailand... 10 miles from the border with Burma. On the way back from the border, I had one of those, what the hell is that moments....

You have to be kidding me....

S/he wasn't clean, but for a dog around here, it was in reasonable condition.... and the owner was looking out for the dog

I ended up spending more time with the 8 guys from Bangkok that I'd met when I first tried to check in to the P Guesthouse. A significant quantity of alcohol was consumed.

We "did" the Mon Bridge

It was a project started by a very respected Monk who wanted to connect the two communities. Built in '84, it is the longest wooden bridge in Thailand. Of course, when we were right in the middle, Huey sent it down... we got soaked.

Plenty of interesting characters walking the bridge... no vehicles allowed.

and a few traders at the ends

She knew what I wanted her to do..... but she wouldn't do it

...... and I really think its time I went and found a computer shop....
A man should only do the work that is required of him. To do more is a form of greed.

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Old 08-16-2012, 03:59 AM   #356
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The Mon Bridge is really heavilly trafficked.

Plenty of boats zooming past... including a lot of longtails with tourists. I'd like to take one of these for a spin

... and, as usual, plenty of on-water development

I mentioned in my last post that we got drenched....

and I'm pretty sure I didn't post this before.... (bear with me if I did and I'll catch up while I'm having a break at Chiang Mai). This is a Hill Mynah.... quite a bit larger than the 'orrible Indian Mynahs we get at home... and this thing is a real singer. Beautiful voice

There's bucketloads of these checkpoints near the border. They always waved me through. By now I reckon I've been through maybe 50 of them and I've never been stopped.

I spoke to a local guide, Jack in Umphang and he convinced me I couldn't get through to there in the wet so I decided to cut through to the northeast, via a few National Park areas. Well, I found myself back in Kanchanaburi... where the Bridge on the River Kwai is. I gave it a good shot, but it wasn't happening this time.

I had dinner beside the bridge, on the floating restaurant... which I'd thoroughly recommend to any visitors here. Not cheap by Thai standards... this beauty cost me $30

.... but was delicious.

Much better than lunch... which cost me $1.50, including a can of beer at a restaurant beside the big reservoir that I had to cross, while waiting for the ferry. Offal soup... with an egg.

I had to back out of an attempt to get through one National Park that one of the guys in Thailand was hoping I could get through (Mike - an American working in Bangkok, who I spoke to when Jack gave me his number). I got turned back at one barrier (the guy on duty pointed at the sky.... rain... as the reason). In the end, lack of fuel became the issue... my GPS sent me up here looking for non-existent fuel btw

.... and when my remaining fuel matched the distance to Kanchanaburi... I headed there.

Here's another memorial site I visited... a bit kitsch with reconstructed bamboo forts. It was about the Siamese - Burmese war in 1785-86

Pretty typical of the day's conditions through the hills. Did over 100 km of this. Quite cool in there too.

.... had to get off the track at times too

This guy was classic... I think I ended up overtaking him three or four times. I'd just stopped here to ask him which way to the town I wanted (my Garmin wasn't helping... it was telling me to go back the direction I was coming from). He told me to go left... and he went that way too. I passed him and about 5km down the road came to a local "cafe" and stopped for a brew. The town was the other way, of course, and he stopped to ask too... and turned around himself.

The cafe

I ended up doing four "wrong choice" diversions... a couple of which I figured out myself... the others by asking the next person I saw...

Here's the Garmin telling me to go back and do a 125 - 150km loop, rather than going ahead 25 km to the town...

See.... there was a road there. What were Garmin thinking?

and the rain stopped sometimes too

.... and I found the ferry all by myself

The locals there were very impressed....

On the other side, I did about 40km on one sealed, but decaying road and didn't see a soul for the 40km.

I saw a large (medium dog size) animal with a funny bushy tail in there... pretty sure it was a Dhole - which is listed as endangered. Image from wiki... which says that packs of these will attack tigers and buffalo. He had his tail up, straight out with all the hair hanging down as he spotted me and headed into the jungle. Lovely.

Most of the dogs you see here are like this though... wandering all over the road, or where its decent, sleeping in the middle of it

I called a rest day or two after that... I needed to repair some damage from the rough roads... I snapped a luggage strap and more importantly... I was trying to get me fixed. I've had arm pump issues with my right arm before... not entirely cured - and now the left arm was "gone". I'm spending too much time for my own good riding one handed as a result. This isn't a old fella's problem... even Casey Stoner has suffered from this one. I went in for a couple of two hour massage sessions... and at least half of that was trying to unlock muscles in the left arm. Hasn't really worked though. Here's me being rushed off to my massage appointment by the waitress (the spa was under the owner's home)

Second day there, they suggested I have a sauna as well. There was some toxic weed brew boiling away in the sauna... and that was enought to get me sweating

Kanchanaburi isn't a bad town btw

Another thing I didn't get a photo of... another damn snake. I just missed it. I was doing a bit over 120 kph... and it was crossing the road. About 6' long, but skinny. I didn't spot it until about 20 metres away. I was in elephant territory and was looking for big stuff... not slitherers. About all I was watching for on the road was oil slicks and elephant turds... neither of which you want to hit.

Here's the ferry again. I was the only passenger. $1 for about a 3/4 hour crossing. An engine and long-tail at each end.... and a bloody great funnel and pipe leading overboard under each engine. Just the setup for oil changes. Try that at home.

I must've been knackered... its pretty obvious the load had shifted and the straps were going to cop it.

They sure love being on the water here

I used some bandwidth to pore over satellite photos and hybrid maps. There is an apparent route through to Umphang... but I decided I shouldn't do it.... mainly due to the weather. Its similar terrain to what I did between Sangkhla Buri and Kanchanaburi, but is likely to have absolutely no-one else on the road. There's lots of dead ends off it and possible wrong turns... and that raises the issue of fuel shortage. I haven't got a paper map, nor distances or even coordinates. If any of the creeks have lost their bridge or don't have one to start with.... that's it... no way through. There's far too much water flowing, as I saw coming back down to Kanchanaburi. It'd also mean redoing the last 150km I did on that road..... so I hotfooted it to Tak.... but I've got a few more photos from there to come first.

A man should only do the work that is required of him. To do more is a form of greed.

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Old 08-17-2012, 09:34 AM   #357
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no way...

that dog needs to be put down.
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:12 PM   #358
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Hey Ian great to see you seem to have got through the health issue. I managed to pick up a dose of malaria a few weeks ago which then did something funny in my lungs and I've just come out of 11 days on a life support machine in Cairns Base Hospital. Discharged now and going home to recuperate for a bit. This shit can get nasty real fucking quick so be careful.
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:02 PM   #359
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Shit Phil! Take care mate.

As for it getting nasty, yeah, my daughter read me the riot act. I never did get it diagnosed beyond "unspecified tropical infection... recovery phase"... although it did get bad again. I got the red spotty rash that makes me think it was Dengue... but whatever... I think its gone. I did a nice ride on the weekend and had no effects, so, fingers crossed......

In the meantime, btw, I've got this computer some more grunt and I've forked out for another USB drive (the last one died)... so I might be able to get the frustration level down a bit while trying to put posts together. As for my plan to get to Umphang via the jungle, I've now seen photos of it being done in the dry. Glad I didn't try it in the wet....

So... Kanchanaburi.

Anyone recognise this game?

Poy's turn

.... and the winner is....

A 13 year old boy.

Yeah, its a variation on pool. You have to sink a ball or you lose one of your three strikes, 20 baht each to play, winner takes all. Good fun and it keeps the bar girls happy until someone comes along and buys them a drink. I didn't hang around late, and when I came in they didn't have customers, so I'd ring the bell (shout the bar). Made for a good atmosphere and you don't end up somewhere staring at the wall while you eat dinner. That 13 year old kid who won the pool though, he was with his Dad... from Holland. Strange pair... the Dad tried to convince his son to buy him a girl with the winnings. Hmmm.

I visited the other war cemetery in Kanchanaburi, no Aussies at it though

Saw this on the way there... a person in the back making sure the whatever it was didn't fall over

... just on that issue, I saw a ute like that on the weekend, out on the highway in the rain, with a new washing machine in the back... not tied in, but the guy had his two young kids... maybe 6 - 8 years old,... one either side of the washing machine, holding it so it didn't slide around. I felt like pulling him over and thumping him. A couple of kids died just near there last week.

I took a look at the war museum. Plenty of very dusty displays... some very interesting, but so badly displayed it was hard to get too into it. Nice boat in there

Interesting Iguana wandering around there. Looked like he could use a manicure...

Oh yeah... got some pussy while I was there

I decided I'd head north from Kanchanaburi and then back to the Burma border at Mae Sot, before turning south again towards Umphang.... destination the Highland Farm Gibbon Sanctuary which is somewhere between the two towns.

I stopped at a bank along the way and as I got off, the sidestand shit itself again....

But how's this for customer service from your friendly bank manager?

... and yep... one of the main national highways

A bit further north, it became obvious it was going to rain. I pulled up just ahead of 3 locals on Harleys, putting their wet weather gear on, but they didn't say gooday, just zoomed off.

I chased them down... they were sitting on 140 kph, a fair clip.

I blew them away at a set of lights. Didn't back off until 160 and never saw them again.

As I came into one town, I stopped at another set of lights and things were looking ugly

The clouds were low and really boiling. There's a bridge upper left in that photo and as I went over it, I was getting hit by microbursts that damn near blew me off the bike.

It was back to using posts and poles again for a sidestand... Lunch here was great

The young girl there had quie a collection of live beetles.

This family were in there for lunch too. I think there were 7 of them in the ute... they gave me a wave as I caught and passed them... and again when I stopped for fuel

The road was as rough as guts for ages. This strip was smooth, so that's where I rode

When it ran out, I just hammered along on the flood-damaged road. I sat on 140 on the bumpy stuff and caught all the cars that had passed me in the wet. I literally knocked the stuffing out of the tyres though. My front was down to 15psi when I got to Tak. Oops.

I overnighted near Tak. Stayed at a quiet resort just out of town near the Mae Sot turnoff. Very nice, but a bit lonely. I prefer the cheaper places where there's folks around.

The road to Mae Sot is only about 80km and its a ripper...

Its back to watching out for cars coming at you on your side though

I got talking to two guys from Bangkok at this lookout cafe.

One was as pissed as a newt (mid morning)... and adding whisky to his coffee. The other spoke good English... said they were up here looking at the immigration. My guess is they were after illegal Burmese workers.

A very high percentage of corners have scars on them - yet another truck accident scene.

Lovely scenery, lovely riding road

You sure see some strange machinery out on the open road

Heading out from Mae Sot to the Gibbon Rescue Centre, there's a rather busy farmers transport centre

When I got the 43 km out of town... the place was closed. I blew the horn (no sidestand) and out they came, luckily

The Gibbin Rescue place was established in 1991 by a retired American/Thai couple. Bill Deters was murdered there, along with 3 workers and a 3 year old girl ten years ago, but the sanctuary continues.

Seeing Gibbons in the wild, three times now, has been one of the real thrills of this trip.... they truly are amazing when they sing. Hard buggers to photograph though. This female I saw in Malaysia is maybe 120' up. I was under the tree for over 5 minutes before I could spot her and get a shot.

Gibbons live in a monogomous relationship. The pecking order is the dominant female, then her female offspring, then the male offspring... and last, as usual, is the old fella

Not just Gibbons there... Nice Asian bear too

This bloke would be handy for passing the pepper at a boarding school

A man should only do the work that is required of him. To do more is a form of greed.

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Old 08-21-2012, 03:42 AM   #360
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Great pics as usual thanks!

The pool game we call 'killer', quite popular in the bars. As you well know the girls are pretty handy at pool normally so a good chance to have some fun and make a extra few dollars. But whats the deal with a dad taking a 13yr old boy to a lady bar!

Glad to see you back on the road again and that your feeling better.
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