I only managed a couple of hours sleep. I was kept awake by unknown noises and a busy mind. As I packed up my camp in the morning, the guy sleeping across from me packed up too, before coming over for a ‘chat’. I tried to tell him I couldn’t understand Thai, but he just kept on going on and on. With a sleepless night shortening my tolerance, I actually started getting quite annoyed, despite knowing deep down that he only had positive intentions. Before he left he gave me a passport sized photo of himself – an old photo in which he was dressed in a navy uniform – and a little piece of paper covered in Thai writing that I think was an address. I felt bad as I accepted these things as I knew I don’t value them half as much as he seemed to. I have tucked them away in my wallet, but know that at some point in the future they will be relegated to rubbish – it’s just impossible to take on board every little thing given during a long term bicycle trip.
Before I left the temple, I was visited by a monk who gifted me with a few pieces of a type of fruit that I have never seen before, as well as a ‘Monk Medical Kit’ (that is exactly what it said on the box) containing band aids, antiseptic solution and other medicinal items. I found a place down the road for breakfast, settled onto my bike for what became a massive day of cycling. As I left Nakhon Si Thammarat I was confronted with roadside figurines of black men with pot bellies. These eventually gave way to giant chickens – whole shops filled with rows and rows of chicken ornaments. As the day progressed, my right calf muscle became sore and it is clear I have strained it. It rained again and I didn’t mind again. The landscape has changed and I have moved from a flat, featureless landscape into one of rolling hills interrupted by tall, sharp rocky outcrops.
I pushed on to Surat Thani, which is my current home. On arrival, I rode a loop through town scoping out places to stay and ended up picking a hotel on the main street within easy walking distance to night market. As usual it took quite a bit of work to settle in: (1) I unloaded my bike into the hotel’s foyer out of reach of curious hands, (2) I secured my bike into the hotel’s underground parking area, (3) I completed five trips to get my gear up several flights of stairs to my room, (4) I put some of my panniers into the shower and sprayed them with the bum gun to clean the light coating of dirt that had accumulated from riding in the wet, (5) then I stripped off, threw my sweaty clothes in the shower and got in myself, (6) I cleaned myself then rinsed my clothes, (7) I re-dressed and began to relax. I gave myself a ten-minute lie-down before hitting the streets. My hungry stomach led me straight to the night market where I bought some jack fruit to snack on as I searched for a place to eat. I picked one stall and had a heaped plate of amazing vegetarian fare. To the ladies’ astonishment I went back for a second heaped plate.
|Distance ridden today||144.97km|
|Average cycling speed||20.3kph|
|Total distance ridden||12,120km|