Breaking it in

1038 Km done,

and it still feels good.

Everyday it seems that I fall in love with our Tuk Tuk more and more. It is simply the best motorised road vehicle that has ever been designed, and it’s also the first motorised vehicle that I own.

We wrote in one of the first blogs a quote that came from someplace that I cannot remember anymore, but it went more or less like this.

The Tuk Tuk is the worst vehicle ever made, because it has all the bad sides of everything. It gives no shelter or protection like a car, and it cannot weave through traffic like a motorbike. Oh yeah, and it tips over really easily.

They were wrong, and so wrong they were. Based on this paragraph, I think the author has never driven a Tuk Tuk before because they only dwell on theory, not practice.

After a few days of driving around Thailand, I can give you a more detailed, practical approach to what the tuk tuk is. So let me rephrase the earlier paragraph into what I think is more suitable for the King’s Wagon.

The Tuk Tuk is the best vehicle ever made, because it has the best sides of all other vehicles, and even more.

With the Tuk Tuk the legs do not need to be placed on the ground when stopping, unlike a motorbike, and it is way more agile than any car on the market today, because there is only one front wheel.

Then I would continue,

The tuk tuk is more like a boat with wheels, rather than a car or a motorcycle, because it allows passengers to move about, to stretch the legs, or if needed, even to climb about on the outside. Click here to see it in action.

The Tuk Tuk is designed so that things can be hung from the roof, and they are easily accessible when needed. This cannot be done in a car, and the motorbike doesn’t even have a roof.

The Tuk Tuk is the only vehicle that a Hammock can be tied to, on the inside as well as the outside.

Unlike any other road vehicle, the Tuk Tuk allows the driver to change position while driving, perhaps into a lotus position, or even into a squatting position, because the throttle is operated by the right hand (or sometimes the left if you like to change).

The Tuk Tuk gives you the same feeling of freedom as the motorcycle, because there are no barriers between onboard people and mother nature.

Unlike modern cars, the Tuk Tuk has no computer chips, so the driver has full control of the vehicle at all times. Because of this, if a problem arises, it can be fixed at any local moped shop, or even by the driver themselves. No authorised, specialised, monopolised, money-vacuum garages are needed. Only a mind that has the capability of thinking on its own, and has a little logic in it.

The Tuk Tuk also makes everyone that drives past raise their thumb and cheeks towards the sky, and this makes all the people within the Tuk Tuk smile and happy.

I understand that they couldn’t write all of this into the article, because it’s a little bit longer, but at least they could have been truthful about what the Tuk Tuk really is. I believe the tuk tuk is the most versatile of all vehicles because of all of the above, and last but not least,

The Tuk Tuk is the only vehicle that can easily be modified into a transportable gastro-machine, and drive halfway across the globe to fulfil a crazy dream of making the world a better place.

Photo: Juho Sarno

Photo: Juho Sarno

The end of Chapter 1: Part 3

We got our tuk tuk to test drive long distance, so we decided to take it for a spin to Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya is built in the cross of three rivers and it has stayed there long. In the time of it’s splendour, late 18th century, Ayutthaya was one of the biggest and richest cities in the world with over a million inhabitants. But in 1765 the Burmese came for a picnic, stormed the walls and razed the city. Everything was stolen and what they couldn’t carry they burned and smashed. Fall of Ayutthaya was probably the biggest havoc since the sack of Constantinople in the hands of crusaders in 1204.

The drive was some 200 Km all together and the tuk tuk handled it great. Well the things that worked. Fuel gauge was broken and the manual checking hose was sprayed golden, speed-o-meter was busted, the throttle was too tight and the revs were too high. But thats why we had the test drive, to see what needs to be fixed.

Upon entering Ayutthaya we searched for the market place since we wanted to film our first recipe there. So we asked a hotel reception since no one else seemed to understand. There was a local girl with a beautiful smile working there, and she kindly gave us directions.

After the war the Siamese founded a new capital 90 km downriver in a place called:

Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit,

or better known as Bangkok.

Looking for the marketplace the local tuk tuk gang stopped us to ask questions. They asked how much and where, and wanted to try how it feels. They even drove it a little bit. Then the tuk tuk drivers fixed the revs, showed how they’ve fitted things, and gave us pointers on what we should do. Bonding through tuk tuks. Feels good.

Talking to the tuk tuk drivers I noticed the same girl that was in the hotel standing and smiling at us. She had come to see if she can see us again before taking a tuk tuk home. So the gentlemen that we are we offered to give her a ride for helping us with the directions.

Ayutthaya never regained it’s old splendour. Nowadays there are only 60 000 inhabitants. That is probably the reason for it’s charm. Ayutthaya is marvellously beautiful. There seems to be more ruins than houses, it has the same outdoor museum feeling as Rome but the ruins and temples are clearly accessible and visible since it’s not packed with people.

In the end the girl became our guide and she showed us a beautiful Chedi, where we decided to film our recipe, Yam Talay.

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

She helped us with the filming and confessed that she rarely talks to foreigners, but somehow we looked cool. In the end we took her home like we promised and everyone had an exciting day and barriers were broken.

Then we drove back. At night. With potholes.

The tuk tuk went for a last checkup after the test drive, and all of the final modifications and tweaks were made. We were supposed to get it back on Monday, and we were supposed to hoist anchor at 4 am like all good pirates do, to slip away in the darkness unnoticed while everyone else sleeps, but I guess we’re not in a fairytale.

Once again our trusted tuk tuk man couldn’t deliver, so we got it on tuesday at 10 am. It took us 4 hours to get out of Bangkok, but oh the joy when the metropolis finally disappeared. The road was empty, Pyry was Accelerating and Juho Cried out in joy.

Now we have spent two nights sleeping in hammocks in the beautiful Ayutthaya. It’s time to move on. Next stop unknown.

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

The End of Chapter 1

The End of Chapter 1: Part 2

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Boom! Thunder opens the sky and the first rain in months come pouring down. This has been a long awaited phenomena and it feels GOOD!

It’s a breath of fresh air, a cool breeze, and all the pressure is gone. As they say in many places around the world, AAAAAaaaaaahhhhhhh!

 

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

 

Last weekend Finland held it’s very first StrEAT food conference and festival in Helsinki. Congratulations! We heard it was great.

We were asked to participate in StrEAT Helsinki as guest speakers, but unfortunately we are here, not there, so we made a video that kicked off the conference. If you’re interested in seeing it click the link at the end.

 

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

 

We were also asked to participate in the British Street Food Awards that will be held in September and god dang it we’re going to drive there and show them something they’ve never seen before!

 

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

 

So many other good things have been happening here and there but we don’t want to ramble on too long because in the last blog we promised, that we are going to start the great, long-awaited tuk tuk unveiling process.

 

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

 

But to tease a little, we like to take things slowly. We find it nice to go forward in a reasonably mellow pace so that we don’t get too scared of whats about to happen. I mean safety first, come on.

We all know that sometimes we get a little excited and that unfocused energy comes out too quick. These are the times when we are hasty with things, and it might seem like we don’t quite realise what we are doing. But rest assured, we really don’t know. But we like it that way.

 

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

 

Thats why we chose the tuk tuk. It’s not too fast, but its not too slow either. It goes forward at the perfect pace. We don’t always have to get there fast because there’s a lot of great thing that happen between now, and the finish line, and in any case, there’s nothing better than knowing that there is a present, a little bit of mystery, waiting to be opened.

 

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

 

Being faced with the unknown is the best part of life.

Right now we are all faced with the unknown. None of us have seen the tuk tuk with the final modifications yet, not even us. Today we see it for the first time but still not with everything. So we are also waiting anxiously.

 

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

 

As a masculine person, I am drawn towards the unknown because it is exciting, it is life giving, and it makes everything possible.

The unknown creates all the possibilities. It is the infamous Schrödinger’s Cat. Before you look and see what it is, it can be anything and everything.

 

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

 

So to stay in the quantum world as long as possible, we wait as long as we can before revealing the unknown, even to ourselves. Trying to reveal things always at the opportune moment.

But there always comes the time where the unknown becomes the known. It is inevitable. This moment is where one adventure ends, and another one begins. It is called death.

So it is time to be reborn.

 

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

 

It is time for a new adventure, within this same adventure. I love life in this fact that so many things are continuously beginning and ending and intertwining and linking. Life is like water that envelopes everything and everyone, and helps them float along with ease. In the long run, nothing can stop water, therefore nothing can stop us.

 

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

 

And if you want to see the tuk tuk in full, but still without the final modifications. Watch our video for the StrEAT Helsinki Conference.

The End of Chapter 1: Part 1

The past few days have been magical.

The Tuk Tuk is finally registered, we have renewed our Visas and washed dishes and clothes. Now we just need to renew the permissions to Myanmar, get the Carnet du Passage and find one pillow.

Magic was made on wednesday. We had to renew our Pakistan visas in the Embassy and it started the usual way, waiting in the lobby not knowing when our application would be handled. After almost two hours of waiting, the secretary called us and in the most polite way pledging us to follow him. The Counsellor had invited us for an audience.

Mr. Amin welcomed us with open arms, with his very good Indian friend by his side, offering dates from Mecca and multicoloured mouthwatering traditional Pakistani sweets. He was clearly inspired by our project and referred us as his little brothers. Mr. Amin opened his heart and mind, and it was magic.

For the next hour or so all worlds came together as we discussed religions, languages, understanding and unity of all peoples. It felt like he gave us a mission. A mission to understand the common ground of religions and beliefs that we will encounter on our journey, and in a way a mission to unite all the cultures within our own minds.

By the end of the meeting he gave us his phone number for any difficulties we might encounter, granted us visas without charge and we are honoured to call him our big brother.

Feeling fancy at the embassy.

Feeling fancy at the embassy.

I have been to a Pakistani Embassy twice in my life, both for this project, and both have opened my eyes to a group of people who seem more humane than most. They seem to be the opposite of everything I have ever read or heard and I am truly waiting to see if the country is as great as all their people I have met so far.

After the magical encounter at the Embassy, we met our journalist friend at his new condo for a pool and a Sauna. A SAUNA!!

It was the first sauna in over 3 months and we got so excited that we blabbered everything we knew about saunas. We enlightened our friend Peter about the Finnish Sauna culture and the Sauna Spirit, Löylyn Henki, a Finnish belief that is unknown to most of the world. I think Peter thought we were mental because the Sauna is just a hot room with a stove. This might be true for most of the world, but not for the Finns.

For the Finns the sauna is a place of Magic, a place of Birth, Healing, Cleansing and it is one of the rare places on earth where even ‘the Finnish Man’ can open themselves to communicate with other beautiful souls. A Finn needs the Sauna like the Monks need their temples. This is a little bit exaggerated, not much, but you get the point of how important the sauna is for the Finnish culture, and the Finnish people, and you can imagine how good it made us feel. Thank you Peter for taking us to the Sauna. Thank you for all the beautiful people we met there who shared the magic with us.

After wednesday the magic has continued. Our close friend Jukka arrived here yesterday by surprise. He didn’t know if we were still here, and we didn’t know he was coming. He was spending time up north and suddenly felt the urge to come to Bangkok for no specific reason. He was just in time for the final farewell party, and it would not have been the final one without him. So thank you Jukka!

We would also like to thank our Thai sister Wanida, for all the wisdom, great conversations, and unforgettable moments we have shared. And an extra super big thank you for coming with us to the Transportation Authority to find our lost papers. You are the best detective and one of the best people we have ever met anywhere. Thank you.

And a final thank you to everyone at P. Hot Pot for everything. You took us into your family, and we truly feel like we are part of it. This has been our home away from home. Thank you.

The time here in Bangkok is coming to an end and it has been a journey within a journey. After these magical days we are finally ready to move on.

Today is the Equinox, the beginning of a new time. Spring has begun and it’s time for new life and boost in growth. Tomorrow we hit the road and start the long-awaited unveiling of the Tuk Tuk.

Ins’ha Allah.

Thank you everyone

It’s Hot in Here

35° celsius.

Just eating, makes me sweat as if i’ve been training for 3 hours. It’s the hottest time of the day, but the nights are not that much easier. For the last few nights we’ve been sleeping the spartan way. Glazed tiles are cooler than a mattress and it doubles up as an all night massage with a side order of ant-acupuncture (Even that can be turned to the positive :D).

In Thailand there are only three seasons. The hot season, the very hot season and the rainy season. By now it’s the middle of the very hot season. Come Songkran, the Thai new year, we reach the pinnacle of the scorching sun and dryness. It is the hottest time of year and how do the Thais celebrate? With an all out water war. They get ready for monsoon time.

Actually we prefer the very hot season instead to the rainy season for the moment. After all we have to drive our Tuk Tuk through Thailand, Myanmar and India and during heavy rain the roads get so muddy and flooded that a canoe would be more suitable for the journey.

The very hot season brings it’s own rhythm. During the day it’s just too hot to do anything. Even sleeping and laying down in the shadows with the fan on full is too much. In the north we are used to work to survive. Here the key to survive this season is to do nothing in vain. When it’s time to work, it’s time to work and when it’s time to rest, it’s time to rest. All with a good conscience.

Photo: Juho Sarno

Photo: Juho Sarno

This certainly doesn’t mean laziness. I’ve seen so many people working in such different ways to make their living that it makes my imagination seem useless. I’ve seen people selling brushes from a cart, fishermen making their own nets and wade them in to one of the dirtiest rivers I’ve ever seen. I’ve even seen people collecting garbage from the byways and patch clothes with old pedal singers on the alleyways. Without money, these people must use their creativity.

In Thailand this is all possible because one part of Buddhism is that everyone is responsible for their own life and happiness. The government can’t and doesn’t want to control everything and some sort of grass root anarchy-capitalism is living strongly.

In contrary to western capitalism it’s not about the money, it’s about the buddhist way of life. Families work together and help each other survive from day to day. They don’t need to be richer tomorrow because they are content today.

Close by there’s a lady who owns a copy machine. She asks 2 baht per copy and probably makes 100 baht a day. Thats about 2,2 €. But it’s ok because with that money she eats 3 times a day and she’s always smiling.

For the last 2 weeks we tried to live off the same amount. We were given a place to sleep for free and in exchange we painted one room. We have been given food because we have become part of the family and we help around as much as we can. Our daily budget for the necessities has been less than that of the copy woman, and we are still smiling and still going strong.

Different climates create different cultures and thats certainly something where we can learn from. I will definitely take the idea of lazying with good conscience with me 😀

Learning from the kids

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Imagine yourself having the nicest most relaxed dream you can think of.

Feel your body sinking into the chair or floor, and let go of all of the tensions inside your mind and body.

Take a second for this to sink in before you continue reading.

 

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Then start to hear your alarm clock slowly enter you consciousness, bringing you back to reality.

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7 am

 

A few days ago we were asked to perform for the children at Wat Mankhut school and we needed to be there at 8 o’clock for the morning assembly.

Eyes crossed, we found our way there with the aid of a tuk tuk, and got served breakfast and coffee. Todays menu was rice soup with shrimp, one of the best school foods we have ever had. After breakfast we weren’t quite sure what to do or when to do it, so we waited. We’re starting to get quite used to waiting…

Moments after we were taken outside to where the kids were sitting. We warmed up, tuned up and did a soundcheck. In no time we hit the stage.

Photo: Juho Sarno

Photo: Juho Sarno

‘Nothing makes you smile more than 300 children all cheering you on’

It feels like our energy levels have just skyrocketed, and we realised something. While it’s all fine and dandy performing for the kids, painting houses and helping where we can, it would still be nice to be heading home. So we came up with an idea.

Photo: Juho Sarno

Photo: Juho Sarno

‘If you can do it yourself, do it. If you can’t, ask for help. It is human nature to aid others.’

We want the damn Tuk Tuk registered and we need your help for it. Something is wrong someplace and we cannot will it to happen ourselves. But. If we get the 300 kids and everyone they know, everyone we know, and everyone you know to let go of all doubt and fear and to concentrate on goodpositive thinking, it will send us a tsunami of positively energised thought that is bound to make something happen.

So tell everyone you know that for the next few days beam good thought around and let it gather energy. When you feel like positive energy starts to radiate, make it stronger. Make it so strong that it cannot stay within your seIf and it must go somewhere. Then concentrate.

For all you skeptics out there don’t stress too much, there’s nothing to be lost. There is however everything to be gained. If enough of us do this, we believe that it will make a big difference, and we can finally start heading home.

 

Weekend Blues

The past two days have been blue. Not because of the waiting, but because we feel that things are not in our own hands. Since the beginning of the project we have worked ceaselessly no matter what obstacles we’ve encountered, but now it’s in the hands of a bureaucrat and our tuk tuk reseller Mr. Pong, who is handling the case. Lack of communication means that we are not sure what’s really happening, and thats frustrating.

On Friday it sunk into our heads that we are not leaving this week either. It’s like Groundhog Day, the Bill Murray film where he relives the same day over and over again. Every Friday we are told that the register will be ready by Tuesday, and every Tuesday we hear that it will be ready by Friday. We’re baffling in the dark. Papers are ready, but for some reason it’s just not happening.

So far there’s been complete trust between our fixer, Mr. Pong, and ourselves but we can feel the bond of trust slowly cracking. This is where faith is tested.

Trust enables us to have power, responsibility and freedom, and these are essential in all teamwork. Lets say that I get the responsibility to do a task, I must also have the power to do it in the way I see fit. Otherwise I am responsible for something I cannot, or do not want to do.

It is human nature to pass on responsibility to others while keeping the power with yourself. But I’ve noticed that whenever I get or take responsibility and I do not delegate it forwards, I work towards fulfilling that responsibility the best I possibly can. When I do not delegate responsibility to others, the fulfilment of the task is about my own pride, my own self worth, and my own freedom. If someone gives me responsibility without giving me the power to execute it the way I see fit, they gain from my work and I feel like I slaved for it. Thats why these days I say I will do it my way or you do it yourself. When power and responsibility are together the feeling of freedom and pride come out.

During the past five weeks there’s been no frustration, so why is it popping up now? Bangkok Shutdown was a legitimate obstacle and it felt like their cause was more important then ours. They are fighting against corruption and corruption comes when people keep power to themselves and force responsibility onto others. It was, and still is, about Power and Responsibility and we understand that.  But now after the offices have opened up we see no legitimate reason why things are not going forward. Seems like someone is not fulfilling their responsibility.

On Monday we will take matters into our own hands again and block up all the holes and rebuild whatever needs rebuilding. We must get everyone to work as a team again, otherwise this boat is not going to float all the way home.

We are going to go to the transportation authority ourselves and talk. If they do not see the importance of their task, why would they take responsibility for it and impose the power that they have to fulfil their responsibility? The papers are ready. It can and it will be done.

We are taking frustration as a sign to take responsibility back to ourselves. Frustration is an illusion where the mind thinks that matters are not in our own hands. In reality we are responsible for our own lives and therefore we have the power to get rid of the frustration, if we decide to do so.

We have 100% faith that this will happen. If we lose faith, so will everyone else. It’s lake balancing on a tight wire, the moment I lose faith, I fall.

Welcome to Thailand!

Linkki

It just gets weirder and weirder here. On thursday we were training in the park and a couple of Thai girls asked if we could pose for them with a “Welcome to Thailand” sign. Naturally we said yes, and Pyry hopped on my shoulders and we posed for them. They liked us and asked if they could show us nice places in BKK and film some material with us. We’ve been a bit bored lately so we were delighted for something new.

photo: War Room

photo: War Room

Friday came and we met them at the park to find out what it’s all about. War Rooms is a production company filming a pilot episode for their new TV-series where they show a different side of Thailand for tourists, and they wanted us to be their mannequins for it. We asked if we could also film, so both of us filmed a filming crew filming us 🙂

They took us to see a Chinese Opera and we got to visit the backstage. It wasn’t that much different from the ones we’re used to in Europe, except there were no walls or any of the fancy stuff like lights around mirrors. But the atmosphere was the same with all the make upping, sound checks and concentration. It felt cosy. Just opposite the stage was a big temple, and you could actually see the temple prayer room straight from the stage.

The show started at 6 p.m. and lasted for 1,5 hours, going through the same 15 min pattern over and over again. At a certain time of the pattern loads of fireworks, which almost deafened us, were set off inside the temple. But to help with thinking you’re going to be blown up every 15 minutes they had a nice habit of throwing betel nuts and leaves into the audience during some point of this pattern. The nuts and leaves made us feel relaxed and happy and the more we chewed the better the show. Ingenious, drug the audience before the show and it’s a sure hit!

In the middle of the performance we were taken to the temple to pray. This temple was specifically for people to pray for the success for their projects, so naturally we went to do just that. No cameras are allowed, but luckily the local filming crew managed an exception and filmed us with our own camera.

The atmosphere was amazing. Tens, if not hundreds of candles burning, ranging from small to humungous, lit up the hall with fireworks exploding and the thick smoke of incense embracing us. There were dragons swarming the altars and ‘incense’-smoking lions guarding the entrance. We could not have found a better place to pray for the success of our journey. The force was definitely strong with that one.

We were supposed to perform after the opera finished, but it wasn’t that easy. After the 1,5 hour show stopped we were getting ready to do our show. Luckily the atmosphere felt a little weird so we decided to wait for a bit. Soon the film crew came to us and said, ‘ok, now the prayer for the gods is over and the story is about to begin, it’s usually about 30 minutes’.

No wonder we didn’t quite understand what was going on. So from the end we jumped back to the beginning. After 1 hour and 30 minutes of this new performance the film crew asked if we were hungry. They said because there was an exceptional amount of audience that night, the show will last until 10 p.m. So we took a taxi and went to eat and came back for the finish.

Just after 10 o’clock the announcer apparently announced that this was the final scene. They stayed strong with their Peter Jackson mentality and made something that’s normally 30 minutes, into an over stretched spectacle that cannot be finished before the 3 hour mark. To our luck when a Chinaman does something, they do it well.

Photo: Juho Sarno

Photo: Juho Sarno

During the last scene at some point our performance was announced on a loud speaker so that nobody could hear the opera singing, but it didn’t seem to matter. The time was 10:53 p.m. when the final scene came to an end, and finally we got our chance.

By this time we had already had quite a few betel nuts and space wise we were very restricted. It was still great to perform for the performers and Juho even grabbed a brave boy from the audience and took him for a spin.

Then we continued for the after party and enjoyed our time with the filming crew. It was good to see that we share the same attitude towards creation and filming and it’s very relieving to notice that a long time professional is basically thinking and filming the exact same way we are.

It wasn’t until later that we realised how this Chinese Opera works. The Opera is hundreds of years old and everybody knows the plot because they see the same thing over and over again, with slight variation each time. This enables the audience to follow the play and eat and chat and go for walks in between, always returning to watch the rest of the opera. It is more of a communal meeting, with opera being the reason to bring people together, than something to go to without connecting with people around you.

It’s not easy, but the performers were amazing. They did their part full throttle and let the audience be at ease. No one was bothered about the kids playing and running around during the show. It was a lively occasion and maybe this idea of socialising during a performance might be an idea worth diving into.