I got up at 6.45am, packed, and set off like I always do. I don’t need a rest day as feel stronger now my head cold is subsiding. I feel worse in the evening but am on the mend. Too many doughnuts squeezed by sticky hands in India. It’s also the dirty highway.
As I cycle in Thailand, a culture which for me, with its inscrutable language and conforming lifestyle, would be a struggle to unpick, except that Thai people are contemplative and deliberate in how they present themselves so you have time to prepare your best face. They use the notion of namjai, which means they endeavour to show generosity without expecting anything in return and translates literally as 'water from the heart.' There isn't a word that literally translates to 'kind'; instead they say 'jai dee' meaning 'good heart.' It's an understanding that flows into you as a sense and it's for you to give it meaning. That is like a journey. You ride along, mindless to whatever happens next then react when it does. Patience is the mechanic of good fortune here because both words are venerated, that of 'goodness' and ' fortune'. In Thai world the two are related as if apart the probability of it happening fades. Translated to my world, by not being an energy force expecting danger, you raise the probability that the danger doesn't come.
Danger; I've no sense for it because it's never there or so random it could never be calculated. I have never been killed before so wherever I am I take that sense with me, it keeps me alive. I was definitely not killed by any of these peace filled hungry diners.
Adventure travellers reform signals in their mind; facial notes become the first que - friend? Being safe far from home draws on intuitive impulses and the quickest way to an answer is only knowing yes or no, Phew, relax. It's my challenge. I'm the one on the road, passing through their space.
Randomly or when a truck passes too close, death by tyre tread is part of your mental vocabulary. The thought of 'did it hit me' is superfluous. By the time you're computed a potential difficulty maybe hurting, every bit of your body has already exploded so you won't get an answer and with only your imagination and concentration to guide you, but every single truck coming up from behind is for a split second all you hear, and when they're close up alongside wheels the height of my shoulders, its the loneliest feeling in the world.
Highway 304 to Nakhon Ratchasima is four lane with healthy wide well surfaced hard shoulders. With an undulating profile through the world heritage site of the a very large forest I am in a very happy place. Air conditioned glass fronted cafes present bubbles of an interface I understand more easily and my flat whites are served politely to the point of obsequiousness which I only partly understand. The polite lowering of the head at a greeting or when concluding a transaction, for information, taking coffee, food and just company for a moment in time. There was a vacancy in people when I explain the route. The next city seems a long way to the people I'm meeting and how I got here by bicycle has awe but no importance attached to it. I'm a comic strip painting in my own colours and I've painted in laughter, good coffee, cycling on great roads.
Thai sign; beautiful, almost sign-written
Thai words; undecipherable
Map of the Day