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In Thailand, the motorcycle trip fueled by kindness takes a detour

November 30, 2013|By Leon Logothetis
  • Leon Logothetis has no luck finding shelter in Pattaya, Thailand, and wound up sleeping on the beach.
Leon Logothetis has no luck finding shelter in Pattaya, Thailand, and wound… (Greg Pappas )

Here's the thing about circumnavigating the globe on a journey that's funded and fueled by kindness: You don't always find comfort but you almost always encounter adventure -- and I have, almost every day of a trip that began Aug. 10 from L.A.

I've made my way from L.A. to Thailand -- across the U.S., then the Atlantic, then Europe, then Asia -- riding my 1978 bright-yellow Chang Jiang motorcycle with the BMW engine. I call my mechanized pal Kindness One. On this journey, I've encountered incredible kindness on the one end and a sort of indifference on the other end. This was to be a bit of the latter.

On my arrival in Thailand, I headed to the beach city of Pattaya on the Gulf of Thailand, about 80 miles southeast of Bangkok. Usually, by telling my story -- that I'm traveling the world with no money, hoping to show that people are willing to help -- I find the food, shelter and gas money I need to continue on. Not this time.

I wasn’t able to persuade anyone to help me find a place to stay for the night. I found my way to the white sandy beach and instead of asking the myriad foreigners -- this is a beach town vacation magnet -- I  switched my focus to the locals, many of whom don't speak English. Being rejected isn't fun, but it's part of the package when you travel this way.

Lady Luck had abandoned me, so I decided to try asking at a hotel, where I told the receptionist I had no money and asked whether it would be possible to have a free room. She offered to call the police. I thanked her and walked out, dejected.

My options were narrowing as the sun sank. It was going to be a night sleeping in Kindness One or sleeping on the beach. I had already had the pleasure of sleeping in the bike (it has a sidecar) in Lake Como, Italy, and Patna, India, so I decided on the beach.

My first night in Thailand was spent under the stars. There are worse places to sleep. I know. I've been in some of them.

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