We could’nt have got a better start!

October 06, 2016

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How do you explain something you do not even understand yourself?
That’s how it feels when we now try to summarize the first few days, days that led us all the way to the border that takes Thailand away from us but at the same second giving us Malaysia.

It’s a bit like when an amateur photographer try to make beautiful mountains justice in their photos. It is rarely as unbeatable as in reality.
We still hope this text with a few images will get you to understand roughly what we have experienced and what Thailand with it’s population made for us from the time we took off with the plane from Stockholm at 14.30 on the 25th of September .

As we mentioned in the last post, we were well cared from the very first second.
But it did’nt end there. It had just started.

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Let’s take it from the beginning;
Signed (Calle) have been very calm for what’s to come.
Perhaps it has with the 2014 biketrip to do, maybe it depends on other reasons.
But to wake up and know that “today, we will start our around the world-cycling” gave Mr. Wollgårds butterflies in his stomach but also a good dose of a cozy feeling in the body.
We packed our bags and hung them on the bikes for the first time and then pedal away to the orphanage about 2 kilometers away, where the opening ceremony would start an hour later.
Not shortly after our arrival curled a lovely bunch of men into the children’s home dressed in the same clothes as us.
It almost felt like when a motorcycle gang rumbles into a gas station when TGCC, the abbreviation for Thai Airways Cycle Club, made it’s entrance. A bit kinder and gentler entrance should be said.
This group of riders made up of employees of the company has taken us by storm and it is now we come back to this thing about making a fair picture out of mountains. But we will try as best as we can.

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Before it was time for us to wave goodbye for a while the day at the orphanage included some incredibly lovely hours with the kids, amazing good food (as usual) dance, mingle and some speeches that got my lip tremble on several occasions while tears trickled down one by one.
But that’s okay I heard.
I managed to pull myself together enough to say a few words to the crowd of people who had come for the ceremony. Lots of words and sentences that were meant to be said was probably forgotten but that may also be okay …

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The time had come. Along with TGCC we were 13 brave cyclists who made us ready for the very first meters. I wonder how many there will be in total? I can not even think about it.
13 cyclists in total. We thought.
It would be more gradually and it all started a bit small and modest with a wonderful couple from Phuket cycling club showing up at the orphanage at the start and then went along all the way up to the Sarasin Bridge – the bridge that connects Phuket to the mainland.
Once there, we waved goodbye to our two companions who in the same second were replaced by two police officers who now escorted us all the way to Phang-Nga. You know what they say; Safety first!
Somewhere here, we started to understand what was going on, without being able to imagine what the future would give us.
After a good night of sleep, we gathered at the same point where we finished the previous day.
We had the night before heard someone in the group mention something about it a few riders from Phang-Nga’s cycling club joining us.
“A few cyclists” meant, in fact, at least forty persons. We could’nt believe it.
Some photo sessions, lot’s of selfies and a team from the Thai TV station Channel 3 (which apparently cover the whole Thailand) and then we where off with destination Krabi in sight.
Together we are strong and together we help each other. If you have fifty companions, it should be very easy, though our bikes weigh X number of pounds more than most peoples bikes that seems to be lighter than air.

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There seems to be a couple of bicycle clubs in Thailand and when we got to the hotel in Krabi we bumped into the next one.
Krabi Cycle Club had heard of us and that we were heading towards their city and they wanted to join us the following day, further south.
One of them, wonderful Tip, was especially easy to understand when she spoke Danish (!), so good that it was much easier to understand than “normal” Danish spoken by an ordinary Danish.
Tip is a lady who is married to a Danish man for a long time and who also lived in Denmark for five years in the mid-1990s.
In addition to the above characteristics, it was also a strong woman who took the early lead on her newly purchased bike in carbon fiber to show us the way to Trang.
Anyone who has seen the movie Forrest Gump may remember the scene where Forrest suddenly decides to cross the US running in his new Nike shoes, then when he reaches the ocean turn around and start running back? After a few weeks of running Forrest is no longer alone on his journey when people from all sides decide to join him.
It is something like this we have experienced since the start and the road from Krabi to Trang was no exception. The difference from the previous day, however, was that cyclists and cycling clubs in every city (it felt like anyway) happily stood and waited for us to fill in and make the train even longer and when we finally reached the goal for the day we where probably at least hundred people in all ages riding together.

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A lot of in Thailand have heard about us and what we are doing by now. Much thanks to newspapers and TV reported about us but not least by all social medias that are used a lot in this country. This feels great when a lot of people ask how to become part of the fundraise (http://thehappyworldtour.com/contribute) to the Orphanage Muang Mai.
Thai Airways and its cycling club has been absolutely outstanding from the time we met up outside the plane after arriving in Bangkok. It has in addition to making the start of this trip to something unforgettable also started selling t-shirts with logos where our money goes to the orphanage in Muang Mai. Fantastic.

But nothing will last forever. We are approaching the border and there is a tough but inevitable goodbye to face when the guys have to return to Bangkok for work.
Now it’s time for us to start using our brains when we have to plan routes, provide food and water plus lots of other things, something we have’nt done so far in the company of this group that has treating us as gods.
We got a start we could never dream of, and this is something we will never forget, that is for sure. And don’t get surprised (we will not) if this amazing group of people are waiting for us when we cross the border between Laos and Thailand in about a year.

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And what about the police? Well, they have continued to escort us every day while shut down every intersection we passed for the traffic that usually belong there.
Safety first!

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