Trang-Phattalung, Evrim and Elif Yiğit Tour Journals – October 12, 2011
Greetings from Phattalung,
I guess we paid for our attempts to outwit the rain and the roads under downpour in Ranong here. After staying in Krabi for two days, we settled in a cosy village called Trang in the east of Krabi, away from the sea. I suppose the 120km between Krabi-Trang was the longest distance of our tour. And during this tiring road, Elif’s bike’s front hub started to make some noises. I assumed that we would encounter a problem like this, but my estimation about these replacements was around the 3000km. In a simple engine repair shop we open up the hub, clean the marbles and close it up. With this hub, Elif can ride for 500km at most. Dust and water rusted the hub’s inside and scratched the palier all over. We move on hoping to find a brand new hub in a bike shop in Trang.
As we arrive in Trang, we realize a crowd in a temple at the entrance of the town and we join them. As we understand, this crowd of people who don’t seem upset at all got together for a funeral. After greeting us with pleasure, they put 7-8 different types of food on our table and want us to taste all. As we eat, we try to answer their continuous questions. I guess you can learn about a town best from its local habitants. We keep their advices in mind and settle in an hotel. In the evening, at a bar near the train station we start chatting with a young man called Yai about Thailand and Trang. After noticing that the owner of the bar has quite a nice bike, we mention our problem about the hub. Learning that the biggest store of the town is near around, we split up to meet the next day. As we go to the bike store in the morning, we find the hubs we’ve been looking for but learn that there aren’t anyone to put it together. The employee in the store tells us that we can get the necessary assembly done in Phattalung.
There’s a hilly land between Trang and Phattalung. I guess the most pleasant part of the tour was to get through this surgy mountain. Instead of long climbings, with the descents in between that enables you to gain pace, you can easily get through this hill. We go to the bike store as soon as we arrive to Phattalung, before arranging an hotel. Serving us quite fast, they say that we can continue riding the next morning without losing time. After leaving the bike in the store, changing our clothes in the hotel we return to the store and fin out that both the front and rear hubs are replaced, and only the rims are being adjusted. I replace my bike computer with a wireless Cateye. I guess I don’t care about the kilometers that much any more but during the 1500km of the tour, the computer being reset 3 times and not being able to calculate for how many kilometers I’ve ridden started to annoy me. Because Elif has the same problem, too (she is luckier because she has a computer that works time to time) sometimes we cannot know for how many kilometers we rode. In a well-known geography I guess this is not a problem to care about. But since we have two countries we don’t know much about ahead of us, you need to be more cautious. Hence, I spend my money for a bike computer that won’t cause a problem during the whole tour.
In the evening, we eat some sushi for dinner and go to a local cafe where I watched Terminator with the local people 3 years ago. We drink plenty of coffee and watch a movie with a similar concept: Transformers. Because we don’t have much options about the language, it’s enough for us to watch the screen in excitement without understanding anything. After the movie ends, we go to a bar a little far from the city for a couple of beers. There’s a pleasant concert at the bar. The young man pauses his local pop songs when he spots us. He asks if we’re teachers. I guess the visitors here are either English teachers or people that are seeking to explore different places like us. That’s why there are too few foreigners in this town. I’ve seen only two in two days. But I guess the most enjoyable towns during our tour was here and Trang. They both are small and humble towns and again they both are almost not degenerated at all.
We don’t have a precise plan for tomorrow. The only thing we must do is to be in Malaysia in four days. Since we’ll follow a route parallel to the railway, we’ll be more comfortable. If we encounter a problem about the distance or time, we’ll have an option to use the train any time we want. I feel for us both that if we had 10 months more to spend here, we still wouldn’t want to leave here. That’s all I have to tell for now. See you soon, farewell…