And into the land of smiles…

And then you’re in Calcutta two weeks. Getting nowhere.

staying dry

I managed by cycling from office to office across town (still love riding in Indian cities!), to get a meeting with a Captain. I wanted to get on a ship to South East

He was very positive and promising and told me to call him back the next day, when I did he told me to call him the next day… NINE TIMES! Until he stopped answering the phone altogether. Can’t say I didn’t try…

And Calcutta wasn’t completely un-entertaining while I was there.fancy a cuppa
I rode a rickshaw around town (the rickshaw-wallah actually let me drive the thing!) to find the ice-skate rink, there actually IS a ice-skate rink in Calcutta!!, sadly it was closed at the time.hard work for the ricksaw-wallah

We went to a big water park. Where, in order to fit in, I needed to rent a “bathing suit” Long pants and a t-shirt that slowed me down enormously on the water slides. Remember when you where a kid and pulled your pants down in order to go faster…? Uhum. Just had to make sure they where up properly when I hit the water…time for a nap

I went to the movies a few times and of course stayed up to watch Holland play France and Romania together with fellow Dutch-men and woman, and a bunch of Irish girls who are always good craic to have around.Ainne&me at a rock-concert
We had to go to a 5-star hotel to watch since it was the only place open this time of night. At the same time as the match a rock-band played. We had some trouble getting in since guys aren’t allowed flip-flops or singlet shirts, so I had to swap my shoes with one and my shirt with another in order to get everybody passed the bouncers. Girls get in even if they wear a bin bag.nice hat

The only slightly annoying thing in big cities in India is men. In general, but especially when they walk, or drive, passed just a little too close so they can touch you. It gets on my nerves. So when, in a small street a car passed and a hand came out of the window to grab my boob I went after them. And when they slowed down in traffic I punched the guy through the (open) window in his face. HA! That’ll teach him. as usual

The rain finally seriously arrived as well. Armed with my umbrella I waded through streets knee-deep in water trying not to step in holes and avoiding the waves from by-passing busses. Surprisingly nobody seemed to find it either funny, or annoying. Everybody just went on with their business like nothing was happening. Less people walked to close to me though. Hurray!pedestrian crossing

Then, for the first time in India, just before I was about to leave my belly went funny.
Lucky for me a Swiss doctor was just looking for people with diarrhea for a study. The good thing was I got cured, and 10.000 rupees that paid for my flight. There was no bad thing…. Brilliant huh!Jochem & Roos

So yes, I flew to Bangkok since Tibet just opened the borders a bit too late. And other overland options where not possible for various reasons.

So after a night of no sleep I cycled out of the airport onto the highway, it’s nothing like in india!busy traffic Here, the traffic actually goes fast and you don’t see cows or bicycles on the highway. Just cars and busses passing you with 120km/h. Most people smiled and gave me the thumbs up, a police car slowed down asking me where I was going and drove off saying “very good, very good” as I cycled passed the bicycles-not-allowed-on-the-motorway-sign….

And I was shocked! All through India, and many countries before, I haven’t seen any female-flesh. I was wearing a Salwar kameez myself (dress over long trousers and a scarf).
But here, girls wear clothes so little they are nearly naked! Specially arriving in Khao San road, the main tourist-hub, where both western girls and locals, girls and lady-boys… were walking around strutting their stuff. The whole place seemed a bit like a big music-festival. Apart from the music.

As I sat down for a coffee planning my next move a ‘cyclingdutchguy’ walked past (although I didn’t know that yet). He was surprised to see me, expecting a man. We talked and he’s done a similar trip in ’96 and has been on the road ever since…. See what can happen 🙂

We had a beer together and watched Holland embarrasly get beaten by the Russians
He also gave me lots of tips and ideas, like heading north, instead of south…

One day I went shopping. I needed a new bra since my good one mysteriously disappeared in India. Figured I’ll find one in Bangkok if at all.

Try going to a mall here! I spent hours and hours wondering around and didn’t even manage to see all shops on one floor in an eight-story shopping complex! And there where four more in the area… You can spend months just on them few square kilometers and still not see every shop.
And I still haven’t found a bra that’s the right size AND the right colour.

When I finally tried to make my way back I took the sky-train. I was blown away by the view! It all seemed extremely futuristic to me 40+ story sky-scrapers and roads and walkways on different levels. I expected to see a UFO any moment. It was beautiful! Even more so when you witness the lot from the 22nd floor of one of those skyscrapers. As I found out the next day at Christoph’s place. Born in Germany he now lives in Bangkok and we met in a bike shop where my bicycle got a facelift. When the shop didn’t accept my card he helped me out, and when I mention I was going to get a Thai SIM-card he took me to his place where he still had one of them lying around that he wasn’t using. How sweet!

And then, I found myself on a luxurious sleeper-train with the best train-food I’ve ever tasted,extremely good train-food heading for Chiang May as Sebastian suggested.
It’s a town where you can do lots of activities, like cooking classes, yoga, bungee jumping, Thai boxing and mountain biking.

On a whim I decided to go mountain biking.'the Team'

Together with an international bunch of guys I got geared up. I looked and felt like a space-man, but that the stuff came in handy showed when I came off my bike… on the practise round… Damn!
It went better after that, even though the tracks got very muddy as it started pouring down rain and it was very, very steep in places, I guess that’s to be expected when you’re mountain biking.. It was great fun! Very different from what I usually do. Luckily I wasn’t the only one who came off.

Now my legs are nicely bruised and battered. It’s time to climb on my own bike again and have a holiday.

The idea is to cycle around the North (as I would have could I’ve gone overland..) check out this golden triangle and then down Laos before ending up in Bangkok again where I left some of my stuff.

From then on I’ll most likely head south. Roughly in the direction of Australia..

Keep Smiling!



19 thoughts on “And into the land of smiles…

  1. Hee Mirjam!

    Natte boel was dat daarginds in Calcutta, weer eens wat anders dan die droogte onderweg daarheen. Leuk om de beelden bij de verhalen te zien. We kunnen ons er wat bij voorstellen:-) . Trouwens ook erg mooie foto’s van die osmosno-brothers op hun site! Zonet alles bekeken.
    Ook wel een heel stoer gezelschap met die mountainbikes, maar er gaat toch maar niets boven je eigen fiets…Heb je al een nieuw zadel?

    Dikke kus van ons,

    pap & mam.

  2. Hoi Mir,

    leuk, leuk, lekker actief bezig! Hier ligt het tempo een stukje lager maar verder gaat alles goed. Veel plezier, liefs Karin en Michiel

  3. hey zus, leuke foto’s, (van zo’n vriendelijke meneer kan je onmogelijk thee weigeren natuurlijk)
    hier alles goed. toetsweek achter de rug, bijnabijna vakantie!

  4. Hey girl, always some exciting stories. Chiang Mai has changed since the 70’s when it was alittle craft village. I went to see the Maow people but I guess the Hill tribes are very commercialised now.

    Great that you are meeting afew Dutch people too.

    Enjoy, enjoy. Dolly Parton come sto Nottingham soon – how about that!

    Take care, Linda x

  5. lieve Mirjam zojuistweer het hele verhaal gelezen.En de foto,s bekeken het is weer geweldig,dus je gaat nu weer gewoon fietsen en richting austr.Wij zijn nu een weekendje in lelystad en gaan zondag weer naar andijk en komen dan 3 julie weer naar huis,Marijke en Hans komen dan ook weer thuis,Verder gaat hier alles goed en we zijn blij dat we van jou ook steeds goede berichten krijgen,ook met het voetballen was je goed op de hoogte.Een goede reis gewenst van ons beiden en een knuffel veel liefs oma.xxxx

  6. Great move to visit Thailand.
    You’ll probably meet a lot of Dutchies overthere cause soooo many are going there for the holidays. 😉
    Keep us updated of all your moves 😀



  8. Hey Mirjam
    Loving your updates. I laughed out loud about your encounter with the Indian motorist – go girl!
    Also loved the bra annecdote, good luck.

    Very jealous you are in Thailand now, I´ve heard great things about Chaing Mai.

    Love Sally x

  9. Hoi Mirjam,

    En dan klagen wij over de regen in ons kikkerlandje …
    Leuk weer om je verhaal te lezen. Geweldig die knal voor die vent. En stoere uitfit voor het mountainbiken. Ik wens je nog heel veel plezier op je weg en mooie uitzichten en goede ontmoetingen.

    Groetjes, Karin

  10. Hoi
    Couple of things – glad you went north cos it’s great up there. You could always stay at a monastery for a while too and find some inner peace. 🙂 Also if you go to Laos you should look up a friend of mine who is living there. I think you’d get along. Email me if you want her email.
    Happy travelling chick!

  11. Hi Mirjam… enjoy South East Asia! My favorite is Laos, so looking forward to your experiences there to see if it has changed!
    Take care and have fun …

  12. Lieve Mirjam
    Je bent weg uit India! Tering…wat is dat snel gegaan man…
    Wij proberen nog via Tibet naar China te komen mar het ziet er naar uiot dat het Pakistan China wordt. En zelfs dan halen we je nooit meer in 😦 Onze motor is verkocht-net toen ik zelf aardig goe dbegon te rijden. Zitten nu al een maand te mediteren (lees:niks te doen-heeeerlijk)in de heuvels van Kasar Devi. Yes-keep on smiling! (geweldige foto’s!)
    Dikke knuffel Maartje

  13. Hoi Mirjam,
    Vond net je site met een beetje googlen. Erg leuk verhaal over India en Thailand, erg herkenbaar. Peter en ik fietsen sinds zes jaar de wereld rond, bevinden ons nu in Yunnan, China, ook erg de moeite waard!
    Heel veel plezier op je reis!
    Peter Mak en Karin van Toor

  14. Bangkok,
    Hallo Mirjam,

    Goed zeg, alleen in India fietsen, ik vond met z’n tweeen al moeilijk!
    Wij zijn nu bijna 3 jaar met de fiets onderweg en nu in bangkok. Ons plan was om naar Cambodja, Vietnam, Laos te gaan. Terug naar Vietnam, China en Hongkong. Vandaar waarschijnlijk vliegen naar Australie en NZ en terug naar HK. Vandaar staat het verder open. Via mongloie naar Europa, of via Amerika… Allemaal mooi…

    Veel succes en misschien komen we elkaar nog een keer tegen!

    groeten Dienne en Coen

  15. Ik heb al weer heel lang niks geschreven hier maar ik hou je blog wel in de gaten hoor. Groeten van ries uit Deventer…

  16. Hi Mirjam!

    Leuk om te horen wat er na Kolkata gebeurd is. En fijn ook om foto’s van de stad te zien door iemand die wel weet hoe te fotograferen . De afgelopen drie weken hebben wij op de Andaman eilanden gezeten. Heel erg mazzel gehad met het weer; harde regen in de nacht en zon overdag op ons tropisch privestrandje. Heerlijk! Hoop dat de moesson meevalt in Thailand. Wij tarten het lot en zoeken de regen op; we zitten in het zuiden van India.

    Veel plezier nog!

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