The Life and Times of Bruce Bramson


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Thailand Map 3b

The arrow indicates Chumphon

Wednesday, 9 October 1968

Following an early breakfast (there is one restaurant in Hua Hin that specializes—if you can call it that—in European food) I got on the road about 7:30. The day was spectacular—but of course in the tropics a beautiful day can degenerate quickly into a dreadful one; even the smallest cloud can suddenly drop prodigious quantities of water, and if one happens to be in the way, one gets wet. Today however it rained only once, & I had no more stopped & put on my rain coat than I drove out of it & had to stop again and shed. Had I known, I wouldn’t have bothered with the coat at all. From Hua Hin the road moves inland, through a series of large fertile valleys. Pineapples, bananas & coconuts appear to be the principal crops. The road has some ups and downs, but not much, as the hills are all low, but craggy and very pretty.

Driving along, I noticed a hill with a radio transmitting tower on top. As the road up there was not gated, I drove up for a wonderful view. The composite view above gives a good idea of how the lush Thai countryside looked. Another view is below:

View from Radio Tower Hill

View from Radio Tower Hill

South Thailand, 1968

Somewhere in South Thailand

There being little to delay me (except one very large lizard—nearly two feet long—that was crossing the road, and which I coasted quite close to before it saw me and disappeared into the bushes) I made unusually good time, arriving at Chumphon just before 1 PM!! Now, Chumphon is a division-point on the RSR [Royal Siam Railroad], so most of my afternoon was spent in the rail yards—and much of this evening as well. I shot up most of a roll of film, losing (for sure) only one or two, I hope, when the camera jammed a bit. It rained around 4, so I took the opportunity to wash up and take the camera apart. These Kodak gadgets are as much glued together as held any other way; although I began the trip with a tube of glue, it long since sprang a leak & had to be discarded. So I had to scout around here and find some glue, which I managed alright, and the camera is now back together, its critical part cleaned of dirt & lubricated.

NOTE TO READERS: Like any other railroad division point, Chumphon was a busy place. The station and yards were then out of town a ways, up a gently sloping divided road. In the median-strip there were several preserved locomotives on permanent display: their running-lights were wired for electricity and lit up at night. It was a lovely scene, but wouldn’t you know: the two photos I took were ruined when the camera jammed. I doubt if there is any trace of those locomotives left now.

Engines at Chumphon

Locomotives in the woodpile at Chumphon

RSR Locomotive 375 Wood

Locomotive 375 being fueled at Chumphon

Strange things happen to luggage on a motorbike. Everything packs down into remarkably little space in the course of a day, but once disturbed it can’t be put back again. Pills disintegrate unless packed very tightly with cotton. Some toilet-paper I used to pad my shaving gear in its little plastic box is now a mass of shredded paper. Plastic bottles can chafe on something & wear right through, and tooth-paste tubes will do the same. It can all get pretty messy!

Already a change in plans is contemplated, I can no longer resist and if all goes well, I shall take the 7 am train to Phunphin, hopefully returning the same day. Phunphin is a town I do not otherwise expect to reach, but of course that is not the real reason for going there! Since I don’t want to miss what looks like a lovely (perhaps wet, but lovely) mountainous crossing to Ranong  by moto, the train trip will be a round-trip side-trip. We’ll see how it goes. Unless I get to bed soon, I’ll never wake up in time, so…

More tomorrow,


NOTE TO READERS: I am having some problems with the software, so will break this post now and continue on the next page. Please bear with me: I’m not much of a computer whiz at all. By the way: the big lizard was a harmless Monitor Lizard, and the only one I saw!



Written by Bruce

December 14th, 2009 at 10:25 pm

Posted in Thailand

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