Homeland 2

Homeland

This page relates to windows into our home world away from our virtual home in the US. There were many adventures we experienced away from our domocile. This is about the adventures close to home. Kathu has a waterfall park that has steps to the top. Kids play in the waterfall pool at the bottom. The site does not seem to be maintained. We didn't end up visiting more than once altho we lived nearby. Kathu also has a park with a pond in the middle and a walkway around the edge. The park was the site of a distillery in history. The distillery building is now home to a historical museum of the area. There are often events taking place at the distillery building. There is also exercise equipment at the park. At the major intersections in Kathu there are huge video screens advertising past or upcoming events in Kathu. There is also a huge reservoir with a paved route on the outside for walking, running, cycling and driving. The walkways at both parks are flat. The waterfall is definitely a climb. The reservoir has lots of shade. The other pond has no shade. This is critical in a tropical locale. Another page on this website related to the Kathu area is my bicycling page. Another important aspect of the Kathu experience is the market. In the US we would call this a farmers market. The people selling at the market are mostly farmers. People also sell prepared and ready to eat foods. My restaurant page is also focused on local Kathu experience. 

Riding

Motorbike madness

Motorbikes are a way of life here in Thailand. I've seen still bodies on the side of the road who had wrecked and were lying in the road waiting for cleanup. They're very still and it's very eerie. We don't see it quite the same in the US. I had success in Thailand riding and surviving. On the day I left the motorbike behind to begin our final trip home I told Karen how much I valued the accident free riding we had. Every day I rode the bike rain or darkness through heavy traffic as can only happen in an Asian country. Often I had Karen on the back. She really enjoyed it. I could not ride comfortably on the back of any motorbike. She was happy. On one occasion I had a close call. I was about a quarter mile from home near the university approaching a sharp corner and a huge truck comes around the corner on my side of the road, not a few inches but probably 2 feet over the line. I applied both brakes hard. I skidded and swerved to the edge of the road surface. Still the truck smacked me lightly. It only damaged my tag. I was so lucky? fortunate? blessed? 

Tight streets

Heavy congestion

There are super huge busses the likes of which you don't see in the US. Maybe it's the size of the very tight roads, but the busses I've been in in Thailand are very comfortable and mostly double decker. We lived in Phuket which is a very upscale touristy island. A lot of Chinese zip through the streets on these busses to the resorts scattered throughout the island.  

Acre of intersection

Dogs life

Thai people have gained an affinity for luxury cars even tho they get bogged down terribly in traffic. One of our Thai landlords who is a woman reflected that 10 years ago no one had cars. She has 3 now herself. Now so many have cars it's adding a great deal of congestion. I notice the car drivers have respect for those on motorbikes. I'm not sure why. It could be that they know they could kill someone. They've probably, like me, seen the dead bodies in the street of those who didn't make it. The guilt would be a huge burden. Some people take the bus around the island. There is a peculiar type of local bus in Phuket. It's like a huge flat bed truck converted to a bus. The adaptation of the bed to accommodate passengers is a wooden structure and looks very heavy. It has a roof that you have to stoop to enter. You can't stand up under the roof. The wooden bench seats are in three rows the length of the bus. You pay for your trip upon exit from the vehicle. Prices vary from 30-60 baht for one way. Mostly locals use these buses.  

The taxis in Phuket are a racket; I actually think they're run by the mob. That's the story I heard on the street. Motorbike taxis are complicit in this. They'll charge 300 baht for a mile which is about $9 currently (2019). We talked them down to 100, but that's still outrageous in any location but especially Thailand. I can get a bus from Phuket town to Surat Thani, a 4 1/2 hour ride, for $5-8. That's a reasonable fare. 100 baht ($3) for a 1/2 mile to a mile? Ridiculous.  

Street life

Old town Kathu

We did enjoy the train ride from Surat Thani to Bangkok. We got the sleeper so we were pretty comfortable. We shared a two berth cabin. It had a sink. Bathroom was at the end of the car. We took the train at the point we were leaving Thailand so we had a lot of luggage. It worked out well. Cost was effective rather than taking a local flight where baggage costs would be premium. Once in Bangkok we were on an international flight which assumes more baggage in the cost of the fare.  

Remember in Thailand they drive on the left side of the road like the British do. The driver is on the right seat of the car. Shifting is done with the left hand. The most challenging part of this switch is making a turn in an intersection. I turn and the car automatically veers to the right hand instead of the left... every... time. It's not just a minor inconvenience it's a death-defying act. Being on a motorbike it's quite inspirational to see large trucks and busses headed straight at you knowing they will not chicken.  

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