Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fear of Dogs: Chiang Mai to Chiang Dao, Return

I was too lazy to post yesterday, and now I've got to write two posts in a row because there's so much to say!

First things first: Erin and I did another overnight bike tour, this time to a town at the foot of a beautiful mountain north of here:

View Chiang Mai to Chiang Dao in a larger map

I'm afraid of only three things. I covered fish and entropy a couple of weeks ago. Now it's time to talk about my very rational, completely reasonable fear of dogs.

I know that what I'm about to say makes me a monster in the eyes of most people, but I want to say this up front: I think that the world would be a better, quieter, safer, more pleasant-smelling and more hygienic place if we rounded up every last dog and shot them and then shot them all again, just to be safe. Or better yet, we could invent some kind of gigantic food processor to do the job.

There, that's off my chest. Still reading? You think I'm a horrible man and you're just carrying on reading to see what other shocking thing I'll say so you can have the pleasure of being scandalized? Or is it because you secretly share my opinions?

I'll assume it's the latter.

Fellow dog-haters: the canine menace here is grave, particularly if you're on a bicycle. During the day, most dogs here are sleepily stupid. They can generally muster the energy and intelligence to get out of the way of motorcycles and cars, but because they can't hear cyclists coming, they assume we are nothing to be afraid of, and they'll dart out in front of us at random. In the evenings, they get a little spunkier and more territorial and they'll start barking at or even chasing bikes. One lunged at me with the clear intention of injecting rabies into my tender, unprotected ankle, from his filthy, scat-eating, dogloverface-licking noisehole.

I think we were chased about 5 times in the course of 190 km. Next time, I'm bringing bear spray. Don't think for an instant that I'm kidding. And I won't just spray the dogs who are actively chasing me; I intend to spray every dog I see as a preventative measure, including dogs that are pets, even if their owners are watching. Don't like what I did to Fido? Watch it, or you're next.

If only the Thais would eat dogs, like the Vietnamese and Chinese do. They'd clear this problem right up. Thais would probably love a capsaicin spray-soaked dog: nice and spicy. Maybe I'll start a new culinary trend by leaving pre-seasoned dogs lying helpless on roadsides across Thailand.

Apart from the dogs, we had a fantastic tour. We wound our way through rice fields and jungles, often on tiny but well-paved roads with virtually no traffic on them. It felt like the government of Thailand had built them just for us.

I am suffering from some equipment entropy, though. My tires have over 4,000 km on them and they're not doing such a good job of holding out glass anymore. I've got slow leaks in both tires now. It wasn't so bad when I just had to pump up one tire in the morning, and again halfway through a ride, but now I have to do it to both tires. It might be time to invest in some new tires before we do a longer tour.

Unfortunately, we won't be doing our long tour anytime soon. Work has reared its ugly head.

Late addition: anyone interested in the route we took can find a better map here. This map is one way only; this definitely isn't the exact route we took, and we took a different route back. Some of the minor roads north of Chiang Mai are confusing, and it's hard to tell exactly where we went. It was similar to this route, however.

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