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Jul 31, 2011:

Thinking, "Bicycle."

(13 Images)
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(From Christi) After I finished my teaching contract in South Korea, I thought, "since I'm in Asia already, and since Asia is such a long way from home, I really ought to spend some more time here." So, I headed off to Southeast Asia.

As I have been wandering through Thailand, Cambodia and, most recently, Myanmar, I can't help but think of where I will be at this time next year. More specifically, my thoughts are often filled with images of turning pedals, cranks and gears. (In particular, I am most often pondering how on earth I will survive 18 months on a bicycle seat!)

So, when I'm walking down the street, or peaking out of a bus window, or even just sitting in a teashop, these are the sorts of things I notice:

Photo is of bikes being sold in a shop in Southeast Asia.  The red bikes are in a neat row.
Oooh, nice, shiny, red bikes that look pretty sturdy. Check out that beefy rack in the back. I wonder how much weight that can hold?

Photo is of a bike leaning against a light pole.  It has a metal basket in the front, and inside is, unfortunately, probably trash.  Someone probably walked by and just dropped some food wrappers in the basket.
Hmm, I like the basket concept. I want one for the tandem!

Photo is of a rickshaw, a three-wheel bike where the pedaler in the front pulls a carriage where a passenger or customer can sit in.  The bike is yellow  and the photo is taken in a street alley.
Oh, who am I kidding! Forget the tandem idea, let's get a rickshaw! Have fun pedalling, Tauru ...cuz I'm kickin' back and enjoying!

Photo is of a couple of Burmese men riding along the street.  They wear longyis, which is a cloth wrap kind of like a skirt.  It's like as if you took a 3 foot by 4 foot piece of fabric and wrapped it around your waste as a skirt.  That's what they wear!  And the men are wearing flip-flops.
These guys can master the chains in long skirts (longyis - typical man-wear in Myanmar) and flip-flops. Clearly, spandex and special bike shoes are not required.

Photo is of trishaws going down the road.  Trishaws are like a bicycle with side cars.  They're three-wheeled.
Or maybe we should each get a trishaw - self balancing, so maybe I could captain my own?

Photo is of a woman sitting in a parked trishaw on the side of the road.  She sits in the side car passenger seat with an umbrella to protect herself from the sun, or perhaps oncoming rain.
I like her fancy rain gear.

Photo is of kids waving.
Lots of "hellos" when you are on a bike. I wonder who we will meet on our journey?

Photo is of a bike in front of a Budha.
Buddha blesses bicycles - we'll need all the help we can get!

Photo is of a couple of trishaws in a row at a shop.
I wonder how much a trishaw costs - he's got the right idea. Check out his fancy "pannier" (basket of rice).

Photo is of a two kids.  One of them is trying to straddle a bike, which is clearly too big for him.  But he looks up with a smile.
That one might be just a little big for him. Gosh, once we attach a trailer to our bike, it's gonna be really big, too!

Photo is of a dirt road filled with puddles after a monsoon rain.
Rain puddles make for pretty sunsets, but I sure hope we'll be safely at camp by this time of the day. Those conditions could be a visual nightmare for Tauru.

Photo is of an older woman riding a bike down the road smoking a pipe.
Big smiles. Nice pipes. Clearly, oxygen is not in short supply here. I wonder what it will be like climbing up to the 14,000-ft altiplano of Bolivia.

Photo is of a Southeast Asian bike shop, which is really an open-air setup where bike parts are dangling and the repair guy is sitting on the ground working on a repair.
Repairs. Oh yes. Many thoughts of all the flat tires back in 2009 are flooding through my head here. I sure hope flat tires will be our only "mechanical" worry on the trip!

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