Thursday, 31 December 2015

THE VERY SOUTH THAILAND RIDE, Day 5 - Papa sent the ice-cream man to us! (5 to 13 August 2015)

Love Station at Kan Tang
Here comes our train!
Assembling our bags
Bikes all lined up to go up the train
With the legendary "Love the Fold" blogger, Alvin and his partner
Open washroom on the train
River crossing!!!
Group photo with Joe, just before we left Yamawa


We met at the lobby of Yamawa Guesthouse at 8 am. The weather changes from sunny to drizzle to heavy rain. ETD was 8.30 am but most of us voted for a quick breakfast or even breakfast on the train. Nobody wants to get to the train station wet!

Joe predicted the rain will stop in half hour. He speaks like a prophet for it actually stopped raining as said!

We left Joe with a prayer and a photo shot. All our bikes were freshly lubed while sitting out the rain.

We passed the restaurant we dined in on our first night.

We passed the 3 bike shops. Jiam was standing outside. He got a wave from both
Claudine and VT.

We cruised past the market.

We stopped for roti prata in a Muslim coffee shop. This shop is rather distasteful. All tables are not wiped till you sit down to dine! Inside the shop is a wall of empty cake boxes, perhaps for a later bake day.

A fully veiled lady makes our prata. She flattens the dough, she adjusted her veil. She tossed the dough, she adjusted her dress. She pulls the dough, she adjusted her apron. She curls the dough to allow it to rest, she pulls her sleeve!!!!

Claudine said a silent prayer as she walks away!

Papa did not trust the prata lady. He had some rice with cooked dishes.

Meanwhile, too much walking and soaking was giving Lance blisters. His strappy canvas sandals  was biting into his flesh. Papa Mike, the STR self appointed sandal shopper went with Lance!Both went across the street and came back with a bumble bee Kroks.

After breakfast, we proceed to the train station. Alvin bought tickets for 10 passengers to Kantang from the charming lady behind the counter. This is the same lady he made enquiries with yesterday. He paid 50 baht.

The lady took him and a curious Claudine to another office next door. They were slapped with a 900 baht charge for cargo space on 10 bicycles!!!

With a lot of time in their hands, KC disappeared to spend intimate time with his masseur. He came back satisfied, having taken some photos of her!

Papa Mike tried to get everyone to play a game of charades. He did not get a favourable response.

Then, as the day is coincidentally Singapore's National Day, Alvin flicked out some stick on tattoos. KC, Alvin and Lance had the Singapore flag on their cheeks. YC had a lion's head on his neck. George and Wendy pasted "I love Singapore" on their cheeks. Papa Mike tried loving Singapore too but he was rejected for oily reasons!!! Celia had too much sunblock and she too, does not make the citizen cut! Claudine tried the lion's head, but Simba knew she is from the country across the border and rejected her. VT stayed true to his country! He refused to have any body art on him.

While we were playing tattoos, Papa Mike's boom box belted out music from yesteryears.

Just before our train arrived, the train officials told us to move our bicycles forward. From experience, they knew where the engine will stop and thus the position of the box car for freight and subsequent carriages for the passengers.

As in every case in train stations, there was the passing of flags between the station master and the engine driver. Then, the yellow engine trundled to a stop. We witnessed the way a motorcycle is brought down from the box car. 2 strong men, no grace, no care. Broken or not is irrelevant. Final objective is, the cargo arrives at its destination.

Then, it was time to haul our bikes up. George and KC jumped up the box car. The rest pushed their bikes forward to VT who was manning from below.

When all were onboard, we chugged along.

The carriages were old and dirty. One of the strong men, seen pushing the motorcycle down at Trang is now sweeping the floor. He does not use a dustpan. All rubbish is pushed from the front of the carriage to the back and out through the door. As he moved further rearwards, the mount of rubbish gets higher and higher! So, does the dust circling in the air!!! Claudine and VT, tactfully moved from their seats. When he was done, he turned on the fans again and was gone.

Alvin moved to the back to chat with Claudine. He showed her the photo of our male sweeper. He pointed out the words on his T-shirt...ACS aka Anglo Chinese School, a chain of school in our region famous for churning out excellent performance. Cheekily, Alvin remarked, if you don't study hard, you are gonna end up sweeping floors!

Our train ride lasted about 20 minutes. Then it was time to disembark. Another railway man in overalls and a skullcap was given a small tip by Wendy, by the orders of Alvin! Happily, he pretended to show a helpful hand. But our bikes were too precious. We did not trust him to push our bikes down!

After disembarkation, loading and suit up, YC called out to Alvin. "You've got to take this photo!"

Curious, we all went to the small little house with a hung up bicycle! It is the "Love Station" (p.s. We have yet to find out how Kantang station earned that nickname!)

Within minutes of cycling, we stopped for chicken rice. The train station and an old locomotive on display, was still within sight. This chicken rice was decent but the soup served with it was pretty good.

Then we went through town, turn right and as Alvin had promised earlier....another surprise!!! A ferry ride across the river!!! 2 baht per person, bikes included.

Alvin humbly mentioned that YC was responsible for this adventure. Thank you, YC!

It took minutes to cross the river. When we got across, we started riding. Just a little ahead, YC called out if anyone needed anything from the convenience store. Nobody requested anything so we rode on. Up and down some minor slopes, we turned left.

Where's Papa???

He must have stopped at the convenience store.

We waited.....

Nobody was particularly worried as George was with him. Everybody were wondering what is taking him so long.

Suddenly, we spotted the ice cream man and following closely behind was Papa and George! Could it be???

It actually didn't turn out the way we thought it did. Papa did not send the ice cream man to us. Incidentally, his bicycle chain drop. Coincidentally, they rode together to us!!! Nonetheless, we had a treat!

Then, we rode to burn off the calories consumed. However, before long, we saw the sign of hot springs. Claudine sent telepathic signals to YC.

"Turn right, turn right" she fried his brains.

He succumbed to her consciousness.

The hot springs was just a few kilometers off the main road. Entrance is free. The place, well kept. The hot springs varying in temperature, we chose to stop nearest to the main building. The water in this spot is super hot.

Wendy found some pails and buckets to fill with water. Towards the end, the scooped up water were still too hot.

Papa Mike cooed and coaxed for a massage. Priced at only 150 baht for 1 hour, many could not resist. Finally, a pleading Papa won! KC, Alvin and Papa went for their treat. More would have liked to go but there were not enough masseurs.

Celia, Wendy, Lance, VT and Claudine napped in the wide verandah instead while the remaining men wandered around. Celia and Wendy sprawled on the floor. The other 3 soon found out that the chairs and earthen pots at the verandah were meant for soaking one's feet. Lance and VT were shooed off. A sleepy Claudine refused to budge, asked for the price and happily paid the 20 baht so she could continue her siesta.

It was a perfect afternoon siesta. The wind were constantly blowing.... The chicken rice slowly digesting in our stomachs.... Lance's rhythmic soft snorts.....

Ding! Ding! Ding!

A refreshed Alvin rung the bicycle bell. Time to go! He didn't allow enough time to shake off the sleepies. In 10 minutes, we were riding again. Down a good slope, turn right and the fight starts!!!

While she was lulled by the strong gusts of winds during her afternoon siesta, Claudine now has to fight the strong headwinds. Her groggy self was not helping here.

Soon, she found herself riding alone. The devil sitting on her left shoulder whispered, "VT left you behind!" The angel soothed her, "See? He's falling back for you to catch up!" But pedal as she might, she could not latch on to him!

After not much of cycling but a huge battle with the wind, we stopped at a shop. Drinks were passed around. Papa Mike took a long time to reach us. When he did, he went into the store and came out with a Red Bull!!!

While Claudine openly complained to the others, she shot daggers at VT. He took the cue. The next push off, he allowed Claudine to draft behind.

But of course, by which time, Claudine was properly awake. So, together they led the others to the next 10km stop. Up-Sell and Up-Sized Cha Yen!

After filling up full tank on Cha Yen, we fought the winds again. This time, it was the coastal wind.

A frightened herd of cows forcefully crossed our path.

We passed by Anantara Sikao, a classy resort where Papa Mike had stayed previously.

We passed by signs pointing to our opposite case of Tsunami, run the other way!!!

A group photo was taken with the famous dugongs that has been shadowing us since Satun. They pops up every where we go!

Then, we left Papa Mike and a few others at Restaurant Yok Yor. Papa dearly remembered the lover he left behind. She on the other hand had forgotten the bum and put all her energies on building a little empire of her own. She now owns a resort!

Half truths!!!

Anyhow, Papa prebooked a meal for us. When we returned to Yok Yor, all fresh and clean, a hearty meal was waiting for us!

Happy National Day Singapore! The United Nations of Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan celebrates SG50 together
Dear Papa was so thoughtful! He made sure everyone had their favourites. Egg omelette for Alvin, fried pork for Celia, non spicy fish for Wendy, sour soup for VT and lots of vege for KC! Perfect meal enjoyed with personal music coming out from Papa's boom box!

We finished the night with coffee at Beach Hut opposite our Saithong Resort. When we bid our beautiful barista good night, we found out, she too has a resort in town!!!

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