It seems a long, long year since we had to abruptly finish our last cycling trip in the middle on Vietnam because of a family bereavement, and make our way hurriedly home in the middle of the Chinese New Year holiday. The sadness of funerals was leavened by 85th and 90th birthdays of David’s and Bernie’s mums respectively but the pall of Brexit and the generally toxic nature of UK politics seemed to overshadow the whole year.
The gross inaction by governments across the world in regard to the climate emergency added to our sense of gloom and foreboding – we will all have to act on climate change and the longer we wait, the tougher it will be. It was therefore with a tinge of guilt that we booked our long haul flights back to Bangkok (inadequately assuaged by carbon offset) but also with enormous excitement. This time the plan is to head south through southern Thailand and Malaysia and down to Singapore. Covid-19 (coronavirus) made the whole trip uncertain. Daily perusal of the numbers for Thailand and Malaysia have shown small rises but now on a par with numbers in the UK and once the numbers exploded in Italy it seemed safer to be on our bikes in the fresh air in Thailand than getting on the tube in London.
We left Birmingham at the tail end of storm Jorge. The third storm in quick succession, leaving Bewdley (our home town) and many areas of the country (almost) flooded – with the river barriers just doing their job. 17 hours later we emerged from the plane into 33degree sultry heat and we were in an entirely different world; switching back into our travelling mindset and the glory of leaving all those problems behind us for a few weeks.
We reached our pleasant little hotel in a little backstreet on the non-touristy side of Bangkok. Plants and potted trees and brightly painted wall a pleasant haven, just back from a busy road with its impressive if frighteningly complex maze street cables, just above the pedestrians . Although we seem to be the only guests…is this a sign of things to come? Certainly the lack of Chinese tourists will make a big dent in the tourist economy. While Bernie languished in the air-conditioned room catching up on the missed nights sleep on the plane, David had a fit of activity and had soon rebuilt our bikes. We had arrived and were ready for our next adventure