With this journey of a few thousand kilometers ahead, alone in a jeep, I had many reasons to (re)consider. Common rebels, communist freedom fighters, poor roads, floods and language problems were a few of the problems I could imagine, but much more imaginative were those criticizing my plans who, for example, found it unthinkable that I would not carry any weapons to defend myself against wild animals!.
The only one who did not worry was my friend the Stoician, whom I dropped by to visit before he left for work. I got a glass of orange juice from him and heard a radio message about new hopes for settlement of the Russian -Hungarian conflict. By the time I reached the monument on the way to the airport, the sun started to burn away the morning fog, and I recorded my mileage: 64167. A bit further along, I filled my tank to its full 45 liter, as well as a 20 liter jerry can; by crude reckoning, the jeep runs about 6 kms per liter.
It was Wan Phra this day, a kind of religious holiday for the Buddhists when schools and government closes down. I was continuously overtaken by busloads of people on their way to religious festivals and pilgrimages to Buddha's Footstep in Saraburi. The buses carried yellow and orange flags and cloths and are racing each other fanatically. I had to maintain my self control (suppressing "road rage", to use more modern terminology note added 45 years later) because I hated it when someone passed me.
On both sides of the road stretched the rice fields, to the very horizon. Towards the northeast a ridge of hills arose about Saraburi, still hazy in the distance. At some spots, lotus blossoms choked the ditches and "klongs", The seeds, which are imbedded in a kind of hard-spongy bowl shape fruit, are edible. They are whitish and almost tasteless and remind one of hazelnuts. Whether they do indeed promote forgetfulness I do not remember.
|At Hingkong, mileage 64229, I turned right and kept on going almost due east, even slightly southerly, because as I found out to my surprise later, Hingkong prove to be the most northerly point of my journey.||A stretch of several kilometers of this road was in abominable shape, full of deep pits and washed out by the rains .(but when I returned along this same route two weeks later it had been fixed very well).|