This is a continuation of our road trip around the north-western part of Thailand. To read from the start, click HERE.
How do you make a day where nothing much happened sound exciting? I’ll give it a go.
When the ghosts of darkness still moved between shadows, hiding from the patches of new daylight, and avoiding the gentle pattering that unconditionally succeeds a night of heavy downpour, there, in that murky hour, we tiptoed from our rented domicile. The Dark Knight lay waiting, beckoning to us to fire up her throttle; our steed of steel and wires, shimmering in the morning damp, her patina refreshed from the previous evening’s grooming and rain.
Mounted, she shuddered at first, receding from the cool morning air, but the inner turmoil of her deepest machination soon smoothed to a steady hum, and we rolled quietly down the tarmac towards the morning market of the town. Sellers of fresh produce paid us little heed, and we paid them no coin. Transactions between ourselves and the merchants of Mae Sariang were sparse on that fateful day, but not a care was given, for the stalls were alive with the trading of local villagers, and we could not fathom cabbage nor onion to be a fulfilling bounty for our morning nourishment.
The Dark Knight was ready for Highway 108, and with my right fist fully upon the throttle, her canter became a gallop. Flora of Thailand, both native and introduced, blurred in my periphery as my steely eyes remained glued to the middle distance. The beast upon which we rode screamed in jubilation, but cool air beat us mercilessly at this early hour. To counter the heady frost I wore woolen undergarments as well as a second shirt – reversed to catch the wind, and also to put myself at the height of fashion. But it was for nothing. Ten of my best digits were reduced to waste, for they could not bear the strike of the cold and were required to perpetually clamp the reins at the forefront of the icy blast. Neither star-jump nor knee-up could return colour to my ghostly extremities.
A warm belly can do wonders for a deep, wintry gloom, and so we broke our fast upon a gorgeous broth at the humble stand of a merchant woman. Slain and butchered pig was mixed with fresh sprigs of coriander and handmade rice noodles, and these main ingredients were cooked in a garlic soup along with other delicious flavourings known only to the culinary artist herself. Condiments allowed the eater to choose a path of sweet, sour, spicy, or a combination of the three. The whole was as satisfying as it was plentiful, but it did not protect us from feeling the chill of the open road once we ventured forth as we had so hoped.
Just as the feeling of helplessness descended upon our party, what I can only describe as a miracle occurred: a board sped towards us from the horizon inscribed in my native tongue. That blessed inscription, dear reader, was ‘Hot Springs’.
Hot mineral water cascaded from a faucet as Caroline and I reclined in our private spa. Happy we were, luxuriating for half a hour in secluded bliss, after which time our skulls became light and our bodies resembled sun dried bananas. The proprietor of the spa sold us tickets for 100 bronze dragons which barely dented the treasury, and high spirits were abundant as we returned to that unforgiving highway.
A place of familiarity and comfort is a requirement for the mental well-being of any creature, and so with this philosophy in mind we returned to the Good View guest house, and found it once again to be not only barren of human life and rich in fauna, but also a welcome departure from the relentless activity of the past week. Relaxation ensued, as well as a glimpse at the town proper – that being Khun Yuam. I traded a slice of paper and a nickel dragon for a delightful piece of attire for the torso, finished in the colour of Thailand’s beloved Crown Princess, and beautifully decorated with Anas triptis, lovingly depicted with a nod to Thailand’s rubber export history, and labeled so as not to confuse the viewer. Thus.
And then we had ice cream.
The merry adventure continues, HERE