Wednesday, 5 November 2014

A Casual Bike Ride In Udon Thani, Thailand

Recently I discovered “the other side” of Udon Thani city. Literally the other side, the side I seldom did go, because there was no reason.
I missed out! This part of the city, near Prajak Park, is really swell and different.

From left to right
Near the Prajak Park is this really colorful Chinese Temple or Chinese Buddhist Hall.


One side shows a big mural painting, for the illiterate masses.

The message is obvious; Chinese Buddhism views that we are all in the same boat. (as opposed to the Thai Buddhism that views we are all in our separate boats.)

From left to right
Raaaagh! On the corner are two dinosaurs!

Surprisingly biking is very popular here in Prajak Park. A rental rents bikes to the people, from bikes that can be driven by two or three people (see photo) to mountain bikes. Around the big lake in Prajak Park are a biking lane and a jogging lane (that is soooo un-Thai!!) and, again surprisingly, each evening there are dozens, possible hundreds, of people jogging and riding a rented bicycle and having a great time.
This is a very cool park, certainly nothing like Lumpini Park in Bangkok, it more feels to me like Central Park in NYC. (Been there.), or Vondel Park in Amsterdam.

I like trees and bicycles.

From left to right.
Sitting somewhere in Prajak Park and enjoying the skyline and vibes, and a beer. Okay, two beers.But not smoking, stopped that three months ago.

Driving randomly always brings me to new places. This time I “discovered”  a hall with a Thai Buddha in it. At night with no people and under a dim moonlight, it has something mysterious.

From left to right
I was driving very randomly, thanks to the beer I guess, and I lost my way on this particular evening, and did wind up riding on the highway to Nong Kai and back to Udon, and did find this funny mural painting from Papa Smurf! Hilarious!

On the way back near the small park “Nong Bua”  I did encounter with my canine friend I blogged about before. He was in good spirits and happy to see me, and received some dog food.

This was a swell night ride. Thanks to the beer i did get lost and enjoyed a ride in new territory.

As an extra BONUS i end this blog article with a Bicycle Rant. Don't take it too seriously.


My Bicycle Rant.

As a teenager I took driving lessons and obtained my drivers license when I was 18 years old. Driving a car, what a dreadful experience!! One is locked up in a tiny tin can with limited view, no fresh air nor sunshine, and so fast you hardly can enjoy where you are.
Driving a car was not only a personal mind numbing experience, I also highly disliked the fact that I had become a polluter, with each mile dumping toxic waist into the air, a contributor of highways that cut through nature and form deadly barriers for the local resident animals, an oil addict that is responsible for present day’s oil wars.

Although I had a drivers license and the money to buy a car, I choose not to. And let me tell you, I never ever regret it one single moment. In fact, it is one of those few decisions in ones life that give a deep satisfaction, just like my decision to go vegan three decades ago.

A a car owner you might think that riding a bicycle might be admirable but is a sacrifice in your daily life. But it is not >at all<. Riding a bicycle is so much more enjoyable, so much more convenient, yeah, that is right, so much MORE CONVENIENT then a car, especially in cities a bicycle is the way to go.

For longer distances I use the public transport, not only super convenient, it also is so much more fun. Instead of sitting solo in a small tin can, you are sharing your space with other travelers, and so the possibility of making contact with your fellow human earthlings, is possible.

And rain? Well, I can wait a half hour until the rain stops. Groceries? A rack is easily assembled on any bike and can carry much groceries.

Sure, nowadays society designs itself with car use in mind, so there is a tendency to make cities and infra structure bicycle unfriendly. But that in itself doesn’t mean that bicycles are inconvenient.

Sooner or later cities are confronted with air pollution. Reluctantly any responsible leader has to admit cars bring deadly air pollution and brings sickness to its population that carries great health costs, and has to rearrange society into car unfriendly, at great costs.

Driving a bicycle in Thailand is, in one word, GREAT! Before I did mount my first bike in Bangkok, the traffic looked dangerous like a white water river. But in fact car drivers are very tolerant towards bicycles (and to all street participants that is, from street dogs scratching themselves in the middle of the street to other fellow car drivers.) Thai car drivers seldom honk their horn or are bossy and demand their way.

Before biking my way through Bangkok, the city looked enormous big, because going from A to B by taxi, took a hell of a time, thanks to traffic jams, not being able to travel in a straight line, etc. Biking from A to B? A fun ride and so much faster then by taxi, or public transport. I enjoy being active, both body and mind, biking through the city makes you part of the city and you got to know the city really well.

1 comment:

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