Saturday, August 17, 2013

Southeast Asia Bike Tour Pictures

Here are some photos from our bike trip through Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.  I finally got around to weeding through them all and picking out my favourites.  Enjoy!

Ancient Buddha statue at Ayutthaya, the ruined Thai capital.

I bet the builders wish they'd thought of planning this design!

Monks in Luang Prabang, Laos, collecting their morning alms.

Abby changing a flat.  We had amazingly few problems with our bikes.

Chickens on a motorbike - you'd see men riding around with 50-75 live chickens tied upside down on bars slung across the back of the seat, being driven to their impending deaths.

Early morning in a northern Laos rice paddy.

The containers are fille with empty Beer Lao bottles.  Beer Lao is about the only beer to be found in the entire country, and their advertising is everywhere.  Luckily, they make good beer.

A young monk keeping current with the times.

Luang Prabang, Laos - a cosmopolitan jewel in the midst of the jungle.

All the kids loved us.  We subsisted on waves, screamed "Hellos!", and high fives by the dozen, where children would line up along the road and we'd bike by with our hands outstretched. 

Abby, queen of the scooter.  Uhh, watch out for those cows about to trample you.

Thunderstorm in Vang Vieng, Laos.

Young monks in Vientiane, Laos.
Preparing the rice fields for planting in eastern Thailand.

A nighttime noodle stack.  The entire region subsists on cheap, delicious street food.  It's an eater's paradise.

Statues at Angkot Wat, Cambodia.

An entertaining translation among the ruins.

Many of the ruins have been painstakingly rebuilt, the seams disappearing into the temple walls.  Others have been thrown together.

I watched these water buffaloes try to avoid going insane from the cloud of flies on their foreheads.  They'd dunk their heads under water, only to have the cloud of flies wait patiently until they surfaced before landing immediately.

Abby biking through a rubber plantation, and getting more confused looks.

Coca-Cola!  We happened to walk by this distribution center while we were wandering through Phnom Penh, and I asked if I could take a picture.  The workers were confused, but they obliged.  I drink almost no pop at home, but I had 2 or 3 cokes a day overseas.  It's cold, sweet, and something other than warm, questionable water.

Walking through the halls of S-21, an old torture facility during the Khmer Rouge reign.  The stark rooms are filled with photos of the men and women who passed through the compound on their way to the killing fields.
S-21 was a school before it was repurposed for torture, hurriedly, at the start of the Khmer Rouge's reign.  The building has been maintianed as it was discovered when the Khmer Rouge was defeated, and leaves powerful, lasting memories of the horrors of the regime.

Phnom Penh - colourful, vibrant, and surprisingly modern.

Biking towards an afternoon thundershower along the Cambodian coast.

We considered the weather hot and muggy.  The locals considered it to be snowman-covered fleece jacket weather.

Let's go to the beach!  Which one?  Doesn't matter.

Finally, after 7 weeks of biking, our beach vacation materialized.

Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

Soup at the market.

The family vehicle.

A low-tech speed bump.

Tankers off-shore along the stretch from Pattaya to Bangkok.

According to wikipedia, "There were 6,773 stores 7-Elevens in Thailand in 2012, half of which are in Bangkok, making Thailand have the 3rd largest number of stores after Japan and the United States. They plan to increase the number of stores to more than 7,000 by 2013."  We stopped at as many as we could to enjoy the air conditioning.

Returning to the chaos of Bangkok.  Abby's in the bottom left corner, pedalling into the building traffic.  The biking was very comfortable throughout the entire trip, and scary moments were extremely rare.

Hoops in Bangkok!  See that "tall" guy standing at the top of the three-point line, a foot taller than everyone else on the court?  He's actually shorter than me. I borrowed his shoes and gave everyone lessons in how to shoot airballs.  It was worth the blisters.
MBK is one of Bangkok's biggest malls, an indoor market stuffed full of every conceivable consumer good.  Haggling is encouraged, although too much will get you yelled at.