Mixed up Mixtapes: road tripping

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New feature alert!  I’m trying my hand at another new feature – this one is a keeper, trust me.


We all know the value of music – it has the power to heal, to bring back memories, to transport us to that special happy place that we all need to go to sometimes… each week I will be sharing part of the soundtrack to my life, and I invite you to join me in creating a special mixtape that sums up the theme for each week and leaving a link in the comments below.

Each week I will visit a different theme connected in some way to my life living, working and exploring Thailand.

Here is topic numero uno;


No road trip is complete without having a variety of carefully selected tunes to get you through the hours of monotonous driving.  I recently road tripped from Phuket to Hat Yai – a grand total of 450km, almost six hours of grey highway and not much else.  Here are some of the tunes that got me through the journey…

Fast Car – Tracy Chapman

Yeah, it’s a bit of an obvious choice what with having ‘car’ in the song title but this song is catchy, is fun to sing along to and perfectly captures the fun of running away in your car.  Side note: always thought she was a man until a few years ago, anyone else?

The Passenger – Iggy Pop

Turns out it’s hard to think of songs that don’t have some sort of car themed word in the title… but this song is again perfect to sing along to, even for those of us who don’t know the words but enjoy singing nonetheless – la la la la la la la la is quite easy to remember.

Stuck In The Middle With You – Stealers Wheel

Hurrah, a song that doesn’t have any car cliches!  Although if you are in a very full car then the person sat in the back middle seat could perhaps connect with this all too much.  This song actually reminds me of going for drives in my friend’s dad’s BMW when we were kids; we would always demand that this song be played at full volume – love it.

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

A personal favourite, this time reminding me of driving around in my own dad’s car.  Not only perfect for singing along, this song also enables you to blast out the air guitar, air piano and of course, head banging (Wayne’s World style).  Safety notice: drivers, please refrain from full on head banging.

I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash

Any song by the Cash is perfection for a road trip playlist, so I just chose this one as it is on topic.  This would be absolutely perfect for someone road tripping across the USA, but those of us who aren’t there can pretend for a minute.  I’m currently going through a bit of a personal Johnny Cash revival so in fact on my recent road trip I listened to an hour straight of his music, but this wouldn’t be much of a mixtape if it only featured one man, even if he is music royalty.


So there you have it, my very first mixtape laid out for your pleasure.  I will be sharing a mixtape every week from now on within a different theme and like I said, if you would like to share your own, please feel free to and leave a link in the comments below.  What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than making a mixtape like the good old days?


The Harold Diaries: journey to the deep south

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.

The beast himself.
The beast himself.

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.

Our journey, all 450 km of 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.