Drive Around The World (Australia)

One family, one car, one year, one planet

Archive for March, 2009

Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand – Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, Day 313 – 320, 20 – 28 February 2009

Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand – Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Day 313 – 320

20 – 28 February 2009

1,525km

Total: 32,505km

Soundtrack:

‘Hallelujah’ – Leonard Cohen, John Cale, Jeff Buckley, et al

‘Devil Gate Drive’ – Suzi Quatro

‘Maybe the Last Time’ – James Brown

‘Proton Saga Kelabu’ – Jaidi Arifin

‘Too Hot to Move, Too Hot to Think’ – The Triffids

‘Big Chief Chinese Restaurant’ – Guided By Voices

‘Real Men’ – Joe Jackson

‘Ghost Town’ – The Specials

‘Call To Prayer’ – Yusuf Islam

‘Rain’ – The Chills; Not Drowning, Waving

‘Better Be Home Soon’ – Crowded House

We teetered between that pleasant sensation that comes with familiarity and concurrently an annoyance at (literally) covering old ground. While the landscape was still wondrous and inviting, much of the joy of travel is the regular encounter with the strange, the new, the unexpected, and so at times we felt a sense of opportunity lost. But then again, the southern Thai peninsula doesn’t provide road travellers with many options; squeezed between the azure sea on the east and the ominous and fraught Burmese border to the west is Highway 4, with various small roads that head to towns and villages peeling off it. To head north or south there’s really only one option.

We continued somewhat sullenly noting the various ‘lasts’ of the trip. We were now heading south for the last time. There would be plenty more ‘lasts’ to come in the next couple of weeks.

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(Pic: Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand)

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Pakxe, Laos (2), – Cha-Am, Thailand (2), Day 304-310, January 11-17, 2009

Pakxe, Laos (2), – Cha-Am, Thailand (2)

Day 304-310

January 11-17, 2009

1,530km

Total: 30,980km

Soundtrack:

‘Romance in Karaoke Hell’ – Ed Kuepper

‘Down on the Border’ – Little River Band

‘We Are The Champions’ – Queen

‘Grinnin’ In Your Face’ – Sun House

‘Cloudbusting’ – Kate Bush

‘Holiday in Cambodia’ – Dead Kennedys

‘Cambodia’ – Kim Wilde

‘Border Song’ – Aretha Franklin

‘Ken Lee’ – Valentina Hasan

‘Angka Dar Qotdam’ – Khmer Rouge

‘Too Much Monkey Business’ – Chuck Berry

‘Endtroducing…’ – DJ Shadow

The mood in the truck as we drove back to Pakxe in southern Laos from the Cambodian border was subdued, to say the least. Maddy was sad that she would not get to see the famous Angkor Wat, but understood that it seemed impossible. Once in a while one of us would utter how frustrating and unfair the whole episode had been, and coming up with some innovative, yet not all that helpful suggestions. Raffy’s suggestion of just getting a decent run-up and bursting through the border did get us thinking, but not all that seriously.

This was, therefore, one of the few times we had to retrace our route. It seemed like such a waste of time and effort to be going back to the place we left two days ago, but it seemed we had no choice. We were finally resigned to heading into Thailand and making our way south without going to Cambodia.

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(Pic: Maddy biding her time at the Thai border)

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Raffy’s Luang Prabang boat

Raffy’s Luang Prabang boat

I was playing down at a Mekong beach in Luang Prabang in Laos when I had this great idea. So with my mum I walked to the end of the sandy bit of the beach and found some blue plastic tarp and then some plastic string and some bamboo, and with the plastic string mum helped attach and cut the string and made a half sink half float boat!

I rolled up my shorts and launched my boat and then I saw a hole in my boat which was obvious so mum and I did some changes.

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(Pic: my blue tarp boat)

Luang Prabang, Laos – by Maddy

Luang Prabang, Laos – by Maddy

Soundtrack:

Revolution – The Beatles

Keep Yourself Alive – Queen

Beautiful Life – Something For Kate

It’s The Life – Grant Lee Buffalo

Life During Wartime – Talking Heads

There’s More To Life Than This – Björk

Time Bomb – Nick Barker

Wrong Side Of The Road – Tom Waits

Laos is great. Not only the country itself, but the people, the food and the atmosphere. My favourite town, Luang Prabang, is on the mighty Mekong River, and is probably one of the most relaxed and slow-moving places we’ve been on this trip. Driving in was easy, but like almost every Asian country (well, south east Asian country, at least) the dodgy Chinese scooters and motorbikes and cheap, crappy trucks were a bit annoying.

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