Woke up at 6am and it was already getting light out – the days are getting noticeably longer as we head north and it gets closer to summer. We were on the road in time to enjoy the comfortable temperatures of dusk. The road towards Kra Buri rolled and undulated (to use the words of our New Zealand guidebook) the entire 59 km. At the top of the largest undulation of the day we stopped to enjoy a posted scenic viewpoint. On the way down the other side of the hill we passed a picnic area. We felt exactly like we were in New Zealand! The English signs and hills felt out of place in Thailand.
We visited the Ranong bike shop yesterday to get Jamie’s rear rim re-taped and hopefully end the flat tires. It is constantly and unexpectedly just going flat. It is not at all fun to stand in the sun on the side of a road with buckets of sweat dripping off everything, trying to fix a tire. It’s even worse when you think about the fact that every minute spent fixing the tire means you’ll be riding closer and closer to the dreaded hour of noon when the sun is at its most brutal and there is not a speck of shade to be found anywhere. As the day gets hotter we also notice that the dogs don’t even care about chasing us as they usually like to do. They’re too busy sacked out on the side of the road trying to deal with the heat!
Anyway, at the bike shop we chatted with the owner and found out he and a group were planning to ride 120km the next day in the same direction as us. Just 10km into the day we ran into them all! They were waiting at one guy’s house for everyone to show up so they could start off. We stopped and chatted on the side of the road. They all had lots of fun lifting up our bikes and grunting and exclaiming to each other about how nuts we were to be carrying so much weight. We also took lots of group photos. We teased them for wearing so much clothing – everyone had long sleeves on, I don’t know how they can ride in all those clothes!
After we left the Thai cyclist team we passed through some small fishing villages where women were sitting in bungalows along the side of the road weaving gigantic green leaves into roof thatching. I wish we would have stopped to get a picture, it was pretty amazing. Halfway through the day we stopped in a town to search out some breakfast. Just as we stopped the Thai bike team caught up with us and pulled into the town to get a drink. They bought us each a Thai-style Gatorade, we chatted a bit more, and then they said “Come on! We will ride together!” Oh great…I was hungry and ready for a break, but neither of us wanted to pass up the chance to ride along with a big group of Thai cyclists! We rode with them for 10km. I think they were going a little slower than usual to accommodate us, but I was at my aerobic limit regardless. I kept it up, panting and sweating like crazy, for the 10km but then I decided to throw in the towel. We waved goodbye, dropped back, and stopped at the next roadside shop serving breakfast.
We ordered the usual, “Kai Jeaow”, which is a simple omelette served over rice. We also each got a tiny can of iced coffee, brand name “Birdy”. Everything is so tiny and cute here! Here’s the shot of our typical breakfast feast. This is one of my favorite parts of the day:
Bikes parked outside the restaurant:
We reached our destination of Kra Buri by 11am. We checked into some bungalows just outside town, showered, read our books for a little bit, and then headed into town. We wanted to eat some lunch and stopped in a cute looking corner restaurant. It turned out to be a coffee shop. The co-owners were two women who’d grown up in Kra Buri together, went to university in Bangkok, and then moved back to start the coffee shop together. We were ecstatic to discover that they served the same type of delicious iced coffee that we’d had at D.D’s! We walked around town for a bit. Here’s a house we passed that was drying chills outside:
We headed back to our bungalow to chat with the owner (she spoke English!) and eat some dinner. She herded us down the block to her brother’s ‘restaurant’. I use that term quite loosely. She told us to take a seat, take a seat! The problem was, there were only two tables and they were all full. We said, it is full, we can not take a seat. Then she kept motioning at a table of two teenage guys…so we sat down with them. They sheepishly said Hello to us but wouldn’t say anything more, then moments later they got up and left to hang around at the end of the driveway. Our hostess said, “What do you want? Fried Rice? Or Noodles with Pork? Fried Rice? Noodles? What you want?!” We said, Noodles sound good, and she told her brother. Then she said, You want something to drink? Pepsi? We didn’t want Pepsi but we also didn’t know what we really wanted. So we sort of froze and stared at each other. She thought we didn’t hear her and started raising her voice so she could be sure we didn’t misunderstand her: Pepsi? Pepsi?!? Pepsi?!! We said Yes Yes! Pepsi sounds good. So we ate noodles and Pepsi for dinner. It was pretty hilarious. The noodles were OK, it was a very small serving which is typical, but there was all sorts of mystery meat in them. I tried a piece and it sort of dissolved into powder in my mouth. Ew. I didn’t eat anymore meat. Jamie later said he saw all the meat just laying out in the open with the flies and sun. Nice!
After dinner we went next door and bought two beers and a fine selection of Thai junk food, including banana chips, tiny cakes, some weird corn cones, etc. We ate these in our room along with a small watermelon we’d bought earlier in the day. Later on we signed on our hostess’s guestbook and went to bed.