It's still funny when you see the children stare in wonder as you ride toward them.
A smile and a wave though and it's as if they have been acknowledged by their hero.

There's a definite novelty about being the only farang (westerner) around. Strolling through the streets of what can only be described as a provincial back-roads town at night is asking for stares.
The people are very friendly and open though, always smiling or even saying hello (usually the only English word they know) when you smile at them. Those that know a little English always want to know where you are coming from and where you are going to. For these people the idea of cycling to China is beyond comprehension. I tell them Chiang Mai, the "capital of the north". This is still a long way for them and I let it sink in before adding Laos, Cambodia (which many people here still refer to as Campochia), Vietnam and China.
Last night I was talking to 4 guys sitting outside a house in very basic English. Once they had comprehended the distance involved and acknowledged my intended route there were choruses of "you number one, you number one" along with clapping and thumbs up.
I stopped at a fruit stall and bought some strange and exotic fruit for which I have gained a taste but as yet still can't remember the name, and heard the word farang. I thought that this was going to be the good old farang farang joke, no doubt a source of constant amusement at fruit stalls across Thailand. The Thai word for a westerner is farang. The word for guava is also farang, hence the farang, farang comments amongst the locals when at a fruit stall.
What I didn't know was that across the road behind me there was another foreigner going into the 7/11 store and that is where they were pointing.
Those pesky tourists get everywhere. It's good to be the 'only Farang in the village' to paraphrase Little Britain, and I must admit it was a little disappointing not to be the only one any more. As I am heading towards Chiang Mai though I am going to have to get used to being less of a novelty.
I have heard that there are up to 20,000 ex pats from different countries living in and around the city. It's also a tourist hotspot with lots of excursions, experiences and ideas to part you from your money.
It will no doubt be a novelty to once again be surrounded by people and traffic. Not sure it's something I am looking forward to but it is going to be a base for a few days rest. Something to look forward to.
 





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