For those of you who don’t know who Harold is, he is my trusty steed, the green beast, AKA probably the cheapest car in Thailand owned by a farang.
Harold has been serving me well during the school holidays, allowing me the freedom I so wanted but couldn’t have due to my inability to balance/turn corners/generally ride a motorbike. He had been doing so well in fact, that T and I decided he was ready for his first trip off the island, and we don’t do road trips by halves, so we decided to drive him 450 km to the deep south of Thailand to our home-from-home; Hat Yai.
After a full oil change and a good dose of brake fluid, and Cat safely tucked up in her carry case on the back seat (you didn’t think we were leaving her at home, did you?!) Harold was good to go. His stereo isn’t in full working order yet (read: the speakers are rusted to sh*t) so I created a USB powered iPhone/computer speaker set up that meant that we had some tunage for the journey. Five hours in silence, with only the annoying squeak of the drivers door to listen to would not have been fun.
The drive itself is easy enough, just head south on highway 4, no deviations, nothing. We drove through Phuket, a little of Phang Nga, Krabi, Trang, Phattalung, Songkhla and finally, Hat Yai. Unfortunately for us what should be a smooth journey was interspersed with some pretty full on road works resulting in the road being anything but smooth. Did I mention that Harold’s suspension is completely screwed? Some of those stretches of road had to be taken at less than 20 km an hour – the super-speed-crazy-shiny-white pick up drivers were so happy to be stuck behind us. We got some angry beeps and flashes but would those drivers be any happier if we drove at full speed and one of Harold’s doors fell off into the road in front of them? No. So deal with it.
The further south we drove the cooler and fresher the air got as we drove through mountains and jungle. The pungent
stench smell of rubber plantations permeated the air, and as much as I hate that smell it had a certain feeling of home that I had been missing. Rows of rubber trees lined the road, and we knew that we were almost at our destination. We didn’t have any plans for our trip other than to chill out at our old next door neighbour (and friend)’s house, and chill we did. We fell asleep to the sound of jungle frogs, crickets and cicadas – no need to pay for a jungle sounds relaxation CD here, this is the real deal.
So, Harold made his first big trip and hopefully it will be the first of many. Time to invest in a road map of south Thailand. Watch this space.