I'm not sure what to call the group. Dirty Dozen sounds quite apt. After all, with all the cycling and inhaling smoke and dust, we will be dirty. But the "dozen" exceeds the total by 2. Magnificent 7 sounds great. After all we have a "real" Yul Brynner in the group - Brudder Boh. A few of us are almost Yul Brynner look-alikes too, me included. I'm sure the team will be happy with Magnificent 7. But we will have 3 in excess.
Yul Bryner BOH
So I shall call ourselves the "10 TUARERS". After all, the combined average age is half a century! And they are crazy tourers, on the bicycle.
So 9 hardcore cycling "tuarers", plus 1 newly recruited young tourer made their way to Phuket for a 5-day, 500 km cycling trip. The journey will take us from Phuket to Pha Nga, Krabi, Trang, Ban Pak Bara and Wang Klian into Perlis. We will take the train from Pdg Besar back to KL, on May 1. Two days rest, I will be off to Surabaya, minus the bike, replaced by the boss, my mem! With compliment of the free Air Asia ticket. Indeed now everyone can fly!
The bike boxes weighed in with 19kg of excess weight. Foo, the recumbent cyclist flew in 2 days earlier and was at the Phuket airport waiting for us. Unpacking and re-assembling the bikes took us about2 hours. Suhaimi, the new recruit experienced a puncture and will therefore ride without a spare tube. He brought only 1 spare tube.
The 1st day stay will be within the Nai Yang Beach area, just a few kms away from the airport. It was a wise decision as we do not plan to ride far upon arrival. With bikes fully assembled, the group made our way to the beach for the late afternoon lunch. Someone commented that the beach is like Bagan Lallang. Indeed, but with more warongs and a better beach. Seafood fried rice for Baht 50 seemed to be the favorite menu. Very lavish supply of prawns and squids and no one was complaining. You can expect this when you eat seafood by the sea. Add the fresh coconut drink, oo la la, what a makan.
Recumbent Foo found us a very decent place and for Baht 800 triple sharing, no one seemed to complain. I had Suhaimi and Fariz as my room-mates. Great sleepers they were, very peaceful indeed.
Come evening, the Tuarers went to the Pasar Malam. Just like Pasar Malams back home, you have everything. Halal food is not a problem. There were plenty. So we had problem deciding what to eat. I'm relieved to see the Buddhists and Muslims going about doing business in the Pasar Malam. I really missed the Southern Thailand districts of Yala and Pattani. They used to be my favorite route, both during my motorbiking days and my cycling days.
Varieties, all mouth-watering and thirst quencher drinks. Watch out for the kuehs that would leapfrog the sugar level in anyone and everyone called Mr or Ms Diabetes!
Anyway, if I was alone, I know what I will have for dinner - the favorite Tongkols, fried exactly to the mouth-watering texture. It will greatly increase my calories but I will be cycling for 5 days. That is more than enough to burn back the Tongkols I would have walloped, i.e. if I didn't find more tongkols along the route!
But Suhaimi had his eyes on the Nasi Beriani. I had no heart to disappoint him, and for Baht 250 (RM2.50), I had to agree.
We had a meeting after dinner. The original plan was to have a light & easy around Phuket on Day 2. Doing this will mean a crazy 163kms to Krabi on Day 3. Like all wise old people, we decided to do the short 72kms to Pha Nga on Day 2. Wise decision.
Everyone settled in early. The rooms had no TV. We need the rest too for tomorrow's ride. I'm an early sleeper too. Good Night.