More From Phuket

Today we rented a scooter to ride about the island. We went from Thanyapura – where we stay – to the West cost north of Laguna Phuket and followed the old Ironman Phuket Bike course in the opposite direction. It is a gorgeous scenery and so much easier to ride on a motorcycle than on a bike with already 70 racing kilometers in the legs.
We stopped by the ocean, which is just really the Andaman Sea and enjoyed a lemon juice. Of course, I could show you now images of the ocean (I will do that, tool but in a later entry) but instead, I will show you the view I had from my chair by the beach – bamboo blinds and a shower…
20130722-204537.jpg Isn’t that just great? Anyway, we rode on crossing 402 near the airport and ventured to the East side of Phuket island. On the way to Ao Po we had lunch in a small but very nicely run restaurant. It turned out the food was great, but what I found even more attractive was the decoration. there was a repurposed traditional fisher boat hanging from the ceiling of the bamboo guest room. Repurposed, because the boat was far from sea worthiness, instead the artist let himself guide by the damage and placed all sorts of stuff on and ind the damaged boat full. Some of the jagged edges he accentuated by carving wave symbols in, others he added colors. But see for yourself.
20130722-205245.jpg After lunch we had to gun it a bit, since rain was coming on hard. After a nap, we had dinner and closed out the day with a all fruit desert.
Pineapple ice cream (Oh My God), Passion fruit Panna Cotta ( nothing to sneeze at either) and of course fresh fruit.
20130722-205609.jpg Tomorrow morning a nice long swim session, break fast and pack the bike and this little trip is already over again. On the bright side, it’s going to be a short week – three days, woohoo.

Until the next (the one with the ocean images) stay sharp.

Markus \m/

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Riding On Phuket

We have a four day weekend in Thailand – so we got the hell out of Dodge, Bangkok that is. Since I recently afforded myself a new road bike, we unanimously decided to go to Phuket. “Phuket”, you say with doubts in your voice “but you are a married man. Isn’t that a little kind the Phuket tourist nightlife with a bicycle? Are you sick, that is disgusting!”
No, Phuket is great for road bikes. Excellent roads along the ocean and bad ass hills.
But le tme start at the beginning. We landed in Phuket and about 20 minutes later I am on the phone with the nice lady from Thai Airways “lost and found” and asked extra politely, if she had received my phone….by any chance. She did. Fast forward to Saturday morning. I rode to the airport, picked up my phone. Then back on the road, which went parallel to the taxiway, a jet challenged me to a race. The pilot was a dick. He had the cockpit window rolled down, elbow casually resting on the window sill and turned his Ray-Ban beshaded face to me:”Wanna race, kid?”
Needless to say, he was on. I will not give you a play by play, but it is interesting how not slow these planes taxi to the runway – surprisingly fast. Anyway, after I was done with the plane, I snapped this image, just before the cocky pilot was able to direct his jet exhaust on me.
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Thai Airways Jet: 0 – Markus on new road bike: not ZERO (I am being humble)
On I went to the north-eastern corner of Phuket. The rides her are fantastic. The air was warm and moist and pregnant with all sorts of fragrance like smells (also the occasional smell of shit, but really only occasional) Once I was past Ao Poh, I found the steepest road, I have ever ridden in my life. As I learned a day later, the road is called the “Road Of Shame”. The reason, the demands on courage and bike handling supercede the already high demands on raw power. The road is pretty narrow and only about 400 meters long. Because the road is to narrow to serpentine it up, the balance challenge is to keep the rear wheel from spinning through, while keeping the front wheel from wheelie-ing over backwards which would result in a what I presume epic tumble.
I took a few images after I arrived at the top.
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Looking down from about 20m below the top.
The next image is a feeble attempt to capture the slope of the road – feeble, I say.
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And of course, the view to the top.
20130721-152516.jpg From there on I want down on 4027 until I reached 402 and returned to our hotel, resulting in a total of 73km and 2000kcal expended – good day.
I will be off now for a swim and you will continue to stay sharp.

So long.

Yours Markus \m/

Another Update Attempt

It’s been 3 weeks again since my last post. I have a hard time keeping up with the times. Lots of work, lots of changes leave me too tired and uninspired to write after work. Even though there are plenty of topics I would love to rant and rave about, if I only had the time and inspiration. Here are just a few of the things I’d write about.
For example, every time I fly in an airplane it irks me to no end that when you use the restroom, you have to make a fool of yourself attempting to get both hands under the faucet WHILE the water flows. Why, oh why? Which idiot thought this is great design solution, moreover which band of idiots approved it with flying colors?
Next, I would also like to write about the complete lack of planning ability of the people who run the public tram networks here in the other city of angels – Bangkok. The MRT – the underground system – have it pretty much figured out and should be a shining beacon of competence for the BTS and the Airport Link. Conceptually, the BTS and the Airport Link are pretty excellent. The BTS is so well accepted, that they appear to run at any given time at maximum capacity. Recently, one of the planning geniuses figured that a four car train could transport about 33% more passenger than a three car train – which is still chok-full, think press fit. The train platforms are long enough to accommodate a six car train – a whopping 100% capacity increase. I feel like 1955 Dr. Emmett Brown when he repeats:”1.21Gigawatts!!” when I see the potential to double train transport capacity at rush hour times. But no can not – oooh mai dai.
Then there is the Airport Link. Designed and build from the start to be below required capacity – at least that’s what it appears to me. Of course, one might argue:”Use the Express Train”, because that one is usually empty or in engineering parlance under-utilized. But it’s also three-times the price. So this is the engineer in me arguing:”Why not sit down and determine the optimum price point for both Airport Link trains to maximize utilization and occupancy of both AND maximize profitability as well. The opportunities are endless. This would be a great Masters project for a dedicated operations student or any engineer with a shred of professional honor.
And finally, if I only had the time and felt inspired enough, I would like to write about the lousy-ass distraction that the bru-haha over the prank names of the four Asiana staff has become. (That is a convoluted sentence, forgive me for that)
Anyway: Som Ting Wong, Wi Too Low, Bang Ding Ow and Ho Lee Fuk. First, it is funny, even if you can only admit it to yourself. Secondly, no native speaker could figure that one out before it was broadcast, really….are you serious? The television station was just ultra eager to go on air completely turning the BS detector off. Now they blame it on some poor intern at the NTSB. While at the same time Asiana is all indignant. You crashed a plane and it took you 90 secs to figure out how to evacuate it – I’d be quiet. I hope everyone is aware that due to the proximity to the Bart Simpson crank calls this lawsuit will likely get way more attention instead of quietly going by the wayside, which cannot be in the interest of the airline. I have never heard of the old Scotsman Hugginkiss family or the Czech family of the Coholics complain that their honorable name be besmirched by a TV show.
One last example of a topic I would just L.O.V.E. to write about are the Bangkok taxi drivers. When one is a taxi driver, one drives a taxi for a living. This means one picks up passengers and drives them from their present location
To a desired future destination, regardless of whether is is night or day, rain or shine – just get the passenger in, turn the meter on and ask where to. NO!, F%#k absolutely NO! not in Bangkok anymore. For reasons inexplicable you will have a hard time getting to your destination with the first cab you hail. Instead, odds are he will refuse to go there without any further explanation. And it’s not that cabbies here charge an arm and a leg, so they make money hand over fist. No, in fact I wonder how they can break even. So, instead they rather sit in the car, chugging a beer, with the engine running, playing the radio, driving their operating costs up, while not generating any revenue – that’s a crazy world.

Well, as I said, I would like to write about all these important topics, if I only had the time and inspiration.

Until I have that again, stay sharp and Sayonara.

Markus \m/