Thursday, May 29, 2008

TO CHIENGMAI WITH LOVE - Day 1 Part 1

THURSDAY 15TH MAY 08

SAWADEEKAP!


Air Asia was near full. 1 dozen of us added to the number of passengers. At 5.30 am I met 3 of my Phuket ride buddies on the bus at KL Sentral enroute to LCCT - YB Boh, GPS KC and wife Siew Ping.


YB BOH isn't from any political party. Once he removed his helmet, he will have his Western name that I coined for him, you know that famous actor who acted in the King and I! Well YB Boh, you can also call me YB Ramli and I'm also not from any political party either. And I chose to wear a bandana under my helmet too!



GPS KC is of-course the sleveeless cyclist in Phuket, the techno guy who could assure everyone we won't get lost on our cycling route with his satelite tracking. This time around, his techno info would be telling us how crazy we 12 cyclists were on this trip. More of this later.



Where GPS KC goes, you can rest assure Mrs GPS aka SIEW PING would be there. No, I don't believe it was to "track" KC's whereabouts. She, like KC is madly in love (with KC of-course) and also with cycling!




So there we were, on the bus, with the bulk of other passengers, still in wonderland. In the words of DON, it was 3 hours of everything. 3 hours of sleep so that he won't miss the plane, 3 hours of flight-time to Chiengmai, 3 hours of wait for the bus to take us from Chiengmai to Chiengrai, and another 3 hours by bus to Chiengrai. So Don, good things come in threes! If you are not sure whether it is the stalagtite or the stalagamite that hangs from the cave's roof, Don can sure tell you. Don loves nature, and loves caves too. But he is no hermit.



LCCT was as usual hectic, even in such early hours. How else can Air Asia maximise their planes and crews for multi-flights in a day if they don't start early. My nephew flies this red plane too. In one day, he can "tapau" Nasi Dagang in Kota Bharu to have it for late lunch in Surabaya!



Tour leader is ALAUDDIN, in his youthful mid-60s. No thanks to him, he, together with YB Boh had raised the average age of this cycling group to above 55. But he cycles at par with his younger colleague....err.... like me .....


Just like GPS KC and Siew Peng, where Alauddin goes, WENDY will be there. No, she won't ride on tandem. She can beat the men on the ups but slows down on the downs to give face, to cyclist like me. Sorry Wendy, can't seem to find a close-up of yor photo.


Upping the average age to 55 is RAHIM. Rahim is a mountain-lover with the "yee-ha" scream whenever he sees the bukit. As I puffed and sweared at the gradient, this lanky mountain-lover will yell out this donkey sound, much to my heart's annoyance. He's a dualthlete and now polishing his swimming to become a triathlete.



The check-in counter was crowded. The bike bags were oggling for space with the trolleys at the counter. We had our trusty ALIA up front at the counter, sorting out the tickets and the weighing in. She's the one with the loud "Bengali jual roti" horn and a proud Malaysian flag flattering in her helmet, whenever she rides off the Malaysian shores. Such patriotism.



There's another cyclist I have never met but have spoken to on several occassions. I bumped into him in the surau for Subuh prayers wearing the group's Pharmaton orange-colored T-Shirt. And since I was in my Khaki traveller's shirt, he never knew who I was! AZMAR, like me, love our butts. So we both have this old-fashion BROOKS saddle to cushion our butt.
He bought his but I was presented mine by my daughter. I suspect Azmar loves his Brooks saddle more than his butt. His saddle is permanently protected with the ladies shower cap, even while riding! With his long flowing hair, the shower cap doubles up for his bath. In my case, I used the shower cap as intended, when it showers --- to cover the saddle. I find it of no use when I shower!


Azmar, together with several others helped to "lower" the average age of the group. One of them would be this Iron Lady, who never hailed from the Iron Curtain. CAROLINE, a triathlete is the baby of this entourage, except that when it comes to cycling and climbing, she is no baby.



Completing the group is yours truly. Here posing with this "Thai police". Long after we are gone, this Thai Police will remain at his post, not moving an inch, nor eat or drink.


2 comments:

Don said...

Ramli, that was a beautiful intro for the grp ... the exotic beauty of that Thai girl ! Seriuosly, nice write-up. Cant wait for the Phrao climb posting. Cheerz.

Don

oops did I just say that? said...

are you sure that was a female saying sawadekap?