Year of the Dog



I’m now back in the area of Hua Hin to keep the bike wheels churning. There are a few different route options in the region - cycling West from here into the National Park along the ocean, North back towards Bangkok, or along the Southern beaches towards Prachuabkirikhan. Now , if you thing that place is a mouthful, did you know that Bangkok’s real name has the world record for the longest name in the world?

Bangkok - In Thai, it is often called Krung Thep Maka Nakhon, or just Krung Thep. However, the full name is “Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.” Now that’s more than a mouthful, and I don’t think I could pronounce the name over the length of one of my long distance rides .

It’s Chinese New Year here over the next few days so there’s lots of visitors to the town, parades, lights and festivals to see. Firecrackers blow off on a regular basis with locals burning their incense and lookalike money for good luck.

Red is the colour of the Chinese and local Thais who most probably of Chinese heritage are wearing red clothing whilst going about their business or simply spending up on shopping sprees around the city of Hua Hin.

Traffic comes to a standstill as a parade of beautiful young Chinese girls march toward the market end of the city to the sound of beating drums and bells as the Chinese dragon comprised of dancers take up the rear entering shops and business establishments for good luck as they perform the Wu Long.

Dragon dance wǔ lóng is a form of traditional dance and performance in Chinese culture. Like the lion dance it is most often seen in festive celebrations. The dance is performed by a team of dancers who manipulate a long flexible figure of a dragon using poles positioned at regular intervals along the length of the dragon. The dance team simulates the imagined movements of this river spirit in a sinuous, undulating manner.

The dragon dance is often performed during Chinese New Year. Chinese dragons are a symbol of China, and they are believed to bring good luck to people, therefore, the longer the dragon in the dance, the more luck it will bring to the community. The dragons are believed to possess qualities that include great power, dignity, fertility, wisdom and auspiciousness. The appearance of a dragon is both fearsome and bold but it has a benevolent disposition, and it was an emblem to represent imperial authority. The movements in a performance traditionally symbolize historical roles of dragons demonstrating power and dignity.

We have now entered the Chinese year of the dog, In other words, experts on cultural matters say this year of the Dog may see people fighting for the causes they believe in. This influence could manifest itself as large-scale political movements or something as simple as local community work and small acts of kindness. We're inclined to believe we'll see more of the latter than the former, due to this year's representative element: earth.

"The earth element makes this a gentler dog than other elements." This element encourages us to take a cooler-headed approach to problems, rather than letting our emotions flare up and get the better of our reasoning. With that in mind, our activist spirit may be tempered slightly, but we'll have enough objectivity to see where our efforts would be best directed.

According to a widely held belief, those born in previous years of the Dog including 1994 and 1982 might be in for a rough (ruff) time this year.

Generally, the year of your birth is known to be a more difficult year than others, again some experts say, explaining that your birth year may present you with a string of bad luck or additional hardships, adding that the sign of the Dog is so good-natured that you might fare better than other signs during their respective years. "Dogs tend to play well with one another." But it never hurts to be cautious and especially generous during your native year.

They also say whatever sign you may be and if you don't know the year of the Dog it is a great time to reach out to those around you and become a friendly presence in their lives, if not a true friend. And, if you're already speaking out for your values, you just might get an energizing boost this year.

Truck Sams on The Long Ride Home Cause for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder during Chinese New Year in Thailand