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Chiang Mai – My Sick Bed

July 1, 2010

It is two weeks since I arrived in Chiang Mai, in Northern Thailand. I have cycled zero kilometres, done almost nothing, and lost a few kilos doing it.

It has been an interesting start to my time in a country that I have never visited before. I was very excited about cycling through Thailand. India and Bangladesh wore me down, and although I miss them both now, in the tuk-tuk from the airport into Chiang Mai, I was surprised and delighted to see order and cleanliness on the streets. No-one spat in my direction, the driver used his brain, breaking and indicating occasionally. An Australian ex-pat in town directed me towards a hotel that turned out to have air conditioning and no bed-bugs. It even had a small pool.

But on the next day I was struck down by a fever and went to bed, grateful for the air conditioing. I got out of bed a week later, having transferred to the Chiang Mai Ram Hospital. If you’re ever thinking of contracting Dengue Fever (a mosquito-borne disease for which there is no cure or innoculation) then I suggest getting it in Chiang Mai. The service at the hospital, carried out by attractive nurses wearing very little, is attentive and the private air-conditioned room was huge. I watched the World Cup unfold from my sick-bed. Every time David Beckham and his designer stubble appeared on the TV the excitable nurses were sent into screams of delight. I was less than delighted by the footbal I watched. What a waste of time and effort all that excitement was. I’d rather watch the Twenty20 World Cup any day.

I got an email from a friend, Becca, while in hospital. She was at a loose end in Malaysia for a few weeks, and so decided to get the short flight to Chiang Mai and join me for two weeks cycling. She arrived last night, and I have found it strange but welcome to have a friendly face to talk to all day – actually more like listen to. Having left hospital at the weekend, I am now beginning to feel well enough to get on the bike. We’re both a little worried. Becca is worried because I have chosen to ignore conventional wisdom which says ‘cycle in a straight line to Bangkok, it will be flat and easy.’ We are heading west towards Mae Sariang on the Myanmar border, before cycling south along it. It will be mountainous and populated only by jungle creatures, but I am convinced it will be more fun, more interesting and more rewarding. I am worried because it might not be. Anyway, we found her a bike today, stocked up on mosquito repellent, sun-cream and haribo, and we’re off tomorrow.

There isn’t much more excitement to report. The last couple of weeks of Dengue have been frustrating. They have made me realise how much I like keeping on the move. Hopefully the worst is behind me and I can concentrate on the 3,000kms to Singapore. I am aiming to be there by 10 August. I will try to find a computer in the jungle and tell you all how we’re getting on, but for now it’s bye from Chiang Mai. Bye.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Gabs permalink
    July 1, 2010 4:59 pm

    Love the matching beard and walls.

  2. Annie permalink
    July 1, 2010 9:53 pm

    So pleased you’re better pops, you had us a little worried back here.
    And i’m SO happy Becca has joined you for a little while. Come the 5th you have toast a special birthday together now 🙂
    Enjoy the next couple of weeks xxxxxxx

  3. Marian permalink
    July 2, 2010 9:39 am

    Really happy you are feeling better Oli. Just in time for your birthday celebrations!! Its the big 30 and if its ok with you, you will get your 30 pressie for your 31st instead. Enjoy your day and happy pedalling. x x

  4. Abdullah permalink
    July 2, 2010 3:30 pm

    Ayyyy… Sorry to hear you’ve been struck down by the skeeters… You can’t have been that bad if you noticed the nurses!!

    Wish you the best for the rest of your journey, hope the jungle creatures are not too ferocious (just enough to keep you pedalling anyway!). We have a pack of three large dogs near here, they have a habit of lying low until an unfortunate cyclist passes by and then leap out howling. Nothing like that to get the legs pounding…

    Best wishes from what is now far away Turkey!

    Abdullah

  5. Katie permalink
    July 2, 2010 5:21 pm

    Good beard!!! And I’ll be there soonish as well too. Lots love xxx

  6. John and Penny Singleton permalink
    July 3, 2010 8:15 pm

    So sad that you were soooooo unwell. Glad you are feeling better and have company. We really enjoy reading your blogs, keep well from now on, and we will drink to your 30th on Monday.
    Love John and Penny

  7. July 5, 2010 12:00 pm

    Hey Broomy

    So sorry to hear you have been un well, but so glad your much better now. Football was rubbish!!!! Any way only another 3 weeks left in the office for me until I go on maternity leave for 9 months. Its great to hear from you, and to be kept updated with your progress, and your stories are amazing, what an experience of a life time your having.

    Take it easy Oli

    Love Darling Darlow and Bump xxxxx

  8. Chris Austin permalink
    July 5, 2010 3:49 pm

    Maaate!

    I hope you’re not going blame the dengue on Bangladeshi mozzies – not the season here, so must be an India import. Clearly you should have swished the mongoose at the little bleeders with better aplomb!

    Enjoy the Thai cycling and whatever jungle adventures lie ahead

    cheers, Chris & gang

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