Going Coconuts

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Back on the road again after a short stint in Australia. A full medical and I’m told by the medicos I can go ahead and ride another 100,000 kms. Now it’s time to focus on the long ride home events through to 2020 at least. I’m in Thailand and it’s an early morning training routine again rain hail or shine during the rainy season through until November.

Some big rides ahead for 2018 but the focus is on retracing the steps of our former POWs by cycling from Singapore to The Three Pagoda Pass Thailand to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Burma-Thailand Death Railway

It was an honour to receive an invitation from the Australian Embassy Thailand to be part of the commemoration of the 75 years since the railway was completed in October 1943 but also to be part of the opening ceremony of the newly upgraded Hellfire Pass Museum. The museum has undergone a multi million dollar overhaul which comes the Australian Government’s Department of Veteran Affairs and the watchful eye of the Australian Embassy in Thailand.

More to follow on the 75th Anniversary Ride as we move closer to the start from Singapore in September 102 days away.

My first training ride back in the saddle takes me 125kms from Hua Hin to Amphawa in the area of the floating markets well known to foreign tourists visiting Thailand .

Riding beside the river one can see the many local tributaries and streams called klongs that run into local village farms, in turn, are supply routes back to the local community direct to homes and floating markets by way of small hand driven boats laden with fresh products.

I’m surrounded by thick jungle and coconuts trees by the thousands as I ride along. The area famous for producing popular coconut crops but an area to watch out for working monkeys picking and tossing down the sought after fruit to their handler below. It’s always hit and miss with the odd coconut thrown onto a passing car or cyclists Oooow !!! But what can you expect from a monkey working for peanuts ?

I’m in the area of Wat Bung Kung an area famous for a former king who was passionate about training his warriors in the art of Muay Thai boxing combined with the art of sword fighting to be used against his Burmese foe during that time.

I walk through the grounds of the temple with only a few local tourists and encounter visiting an Infantry company compliment (100) of full Muay Thai boxer statues in different fighting stances, some and with swords in a striking pose.

Wikipedia: Muay Thai or Thai Boxing is a combat sport of Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. This physical and mental discipline which includes combat on shins is known as "the art of eight limbs" because it is characterized by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees, shins, being associated with a good physical preparation that makes a full-contact fighter very efficient. Muay Thai became widespread internationally in the 20th century when practitioners defeated experts in other martial arts. The professional league is governed by The Professional Boxing Association of Thailand (P.A.T.) sanctioned by The Sport Authority of Thailand (S.A.T.), and World Muaythai Federation (W.M.F.) overseas.

Located in Thailand’s Bang Khonthi district, this area was once set up as a military camp called “Kai Bang Kung” for southern provinces troops fighting the Burmese army. After the fall of the Ayutthaya kingdom, King Taksin restored the camp as a base for Chinese soldiers and renamed it “Kai Chin Bang Kung”. The life-sized statues honour these heroes and are spread out behind a monument of King Taksin the Great.

The temple itself features a ubosot lodged in the roots of large sacred Bodhi and Banyan trees that have helped preserve the structure of the temple. Inside the ubosot is a large Buddha statue and mural paintings, depicting the Lord Buddha’s past life.

Truck Sams On The Long Ride Home Thailand watching out for airborne coconuts.