Another early wake up for another early start and another 100km day to reach the city of Hua Hin. We rode along Highway 4 towards Hua Hin. The road was extremely flat so we made excellent time with our highest average speed ever (21.8km/h)! The road has been getting increasingly busy and ugly the closer we get to Bangkok and today was definitely the busiest and ugliest yet. Lots of trucks, lots of flat run down buildings full of garbage on the highway - definitely a scenic low point. We did pass our first rice paddy, though, which was a beautiful bright green:
We stopped for a Coke when we started to feel overheated. The girl at the counter asked if we wanted her to remove the bottle caps for us, we said yes. Then, she poured each of our drinks into one of the inescapable plastic bags! I’m not sure what the point of doing this is when the Coke comes in a nice glass bottle to start with…
We arrived in Hua Hin and were surprised to see that it was such a developed, tourist focused city. There were hotel high rises all over the place, and we saw our first Starbucks since entering Thailand. The guesthouses were a bit pricey and the ones we looked at were a little on the dirty side. We chose a place where we could lock our bikes right outside our room.
I took a shower as soon as we checked in and realized I’d developed heat rash all over my legs! I was pissed. I have had so many weird health-type issues on this trip and Jamie has had absolutely zero. I spent the rest of the afternoon out of the sun, reading my book in front of the fan. I also spent the afternoon fuming about my heat rash and the maddening fact that Jamie didn’t have it! By the next morning I’d gotten over my bitterness. I was also happy because we’d decided that we wouldn’t cycle to the next city, 65km away, but would instead take the train from Hua Hin to Bangkok. The highway is simply getting too busy and non-scenic to be enjoyable and neither of us want to waste any more days of our tour on this when we could be in other regions of the country.
In Hua Hin, we also saw the most Thai women with western men that we have seen so far. Our theory is that there are three types of arrangements: flat-out prostitutes, women who marry older men to improve their financial situation, and then something that seems like a girlfriend-for-hire. These are usually young, attractive Thai women spending time with young, western backpackers. Maybe some of these are actual love connections, but we have seen several of these girls (some of whom speak little English) dragging their backpacker “boyfriends” into shops with womens’ fashions to buy them expensive gifts. We keep looking for a book that explains what is going on - maybe there’s a guide on how to get a Thai girlfriend for a week? We are dying to know how this works, but it’s hard to decipher what’s going on just by watching these people on the street. I think Jamie should go into one of the tourist bars to chat up the Thai girls that hang out there and find out how it works, but he won’t do it. Hostess bars are also popular here. These are bars full of very attractive Thai girls where westerners buy the girls drinks and in return the girls flirt and chat with them for the evening.