I got away from Kin Pun smoothly and turned right onto a dirt road several kilometres out of town. I immediately started dealing with muddy creek crossings, which were soaked from yesterday’s rain. I stacked it on the slippery mud. It was a hard fall and I scratched up my legs and have a dark bruise on the palm of my hand. It still hurts now and the bruise continues to darken. The track took me into thick jungle. I got the distinct impression that my hellos and smiles were not being readily returned by those I passed. The atmosphere wasn’t altogether welcoming, but I was determined to keep going. I came across a massive scorpion crossing the track and stopped to record a video. Its claw-span was almost the width of my foot. A local guy walked past as I was filming. His teeth were stained red from betel nut. He was curious about my camera and took it from my hand a little too confidently for my liking. I finished filming, then continued on.

Around the corner I saw the same guy, now accompanied by two others, all squatting on the side of the road. As they looked at me, my instincts told me to be wary, that they had dodgy intentions. I turned back the way I’d come and once I was out of sight, I stopped. Within a minute, two of the three guys came wandering back past me. A scooter came by just as they reached me and I was happy for the presence of a third party. They continued walking as the scooter went past. I decided I was being paranoid so I continued on as well.

I hadn’t gone far when I saw the third guy squatting by the side of the road ahead. In the instant I appeared around the corner, I saw him surreptitiously move an unsheathed machete from in front of him into the long grass behind him. He was clearing trying to hide it. This was enough for me. I turned back around and gave up on my jungle adventure. I returned to the main road and made some distance instead.

The main road offered a pleasant ride through unchallenging rolling hills with nice views across rice fields. I came across a roadside restaurant at which buses stop to give their occupants a rest. The lunch I had there was magnificent. I only ordered two small dishes, but these were joined by another five or so bowls of vegetables and spicy sauces. It’s rare that I don’t eat everything put in front of me, but this time I just couldn’t do it. I was sure to scrape clean the bowl containing an amazing mutton curry though. So good!

Eventually, I rolled into Bago and chatted to a lovely local lady who gave me the run-down of accommodation options. I disturbed the crazy current of traffic by crossing the road, then headed to San Francisco Guesthouse, choosing the cheapest room option, which was a fan-cooled room with an outside shower and toilet for 8000k. The room was a decent size and fan strong and well-positioned. The toilet was squat but immaculately clean. The shower was cold, which is just what I wanted. I have just finished eating a generous portion of fried noodles with chicken and a Thai-style soup at Three-Five Restaurant.

Day 519 (pic)

Dodgy

Accommodation $ Guesthouse
Distance ridden today 111.73km
Average cycling speed 17.2kph
Total distance ridden 14,080km