Thung Wa to Trang

I woke up hoping it was near morning: it was midnight. Finally (finally!) dawn came and we packed up quick and headed out. Stopped for a breakfast snack on the edge of town and the second I got off my bike my stomach started turning. Truly thought I was going to hurl over my handlebars. Stuart bought some little rice batter pancakes and chicken and I ate a little. Felt totally awful. Wound up going across the street to the hospital to use their bathroom. A Thai emergency room is very, very chill compared to an American one. (Nobody even batted an eye when I came in. It’d cost you $100 to even wash your hands in an ER at home.) We rode all day on the highway, but there some very pretty stretches: limestone cliffs and deep jungle.

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Long day to Trang, 80+ kilometers. Incredibly windy, and it felt like it was a headwind or sideways gusts about 90% of the time. We stopped for a watermelon and we ate the whole thing! Watermelon guy was kind of chatting with us, 99% in Thai. We just nodded a lot. Kept asking where we were from (I think) but USA, U.S., United States were all really just not getting across. Finally he said “Oh, France!” so we just rolled with that. Last 20km to Trang were SO hard for me. Tired. Surprisingly, so far I’ve just been body tired, hot and tuckered by the end of each day. It was the first day my legs really hurt. But we made it to the hotel: nice and friendly, hallelujah. Showers and TV. Got some beers and chips and had a nice rest on the little rooftop deck included in our $25 penthouse room. We sorted out a plan for the next day: we’ll take the train to Ban Krut, a beach town, and have some rest days. Booked a place.

We went down to the weekend market for dinner—totally nuts when we arrived at 6:30 and just got progressively more packed, loud, and bonkers. Stalls selling hair extensions and baby clothes and seashells with your name on them, plus tons of food. Had little half-orb batter things with spicy bits and mussels in them, and then crazily fishy pomelo salad. Pomelo plus big fried anchovies and dried shrimp and fish sauce. And peanuts. A little much. Walked around and got some more snacks: highlight was these crazy fried nests of herbs and whole tiny shrimp. Stuart loved them—perfect Stu snacks.

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Got a papaya salad (one chili, please! We’ve learned our lesson) and some beers and headed back. Sat on the deck again and listened to the market from above. Watched a little TV: state broadcast on every channel talking about the plans to improve rural Thailand. Been thinking lots about where we live—often when traveling I feel like other places have it better: cheaper, more flexibility, better food, easier. But this trip, seeing lots of very rural, developing world living up close, I’m feeling thankful and glad for my nice warm (or cool) house, clean water, and good smells. Life is so easy in the U.S.

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Woke up the next day and headed to the train station to get tickets. Turns out the train doesn’t stop in Ban Krut. Oy. I’m tired of hassling with things. After lots of back and forth, we decided to stop in the nearest town. We’ll arrive late, around 10pm, so we’ll stay there and go to Ban Krut in the morning. Found some cute bungalows to stay in but no one answers the phone and you can’t book online, so I wound up booking some dumb hotel on Agoda. Called to let them know we’d be in late, but we couldn’t really hear each other. Eventually turned to static so I hung up and sent an email and hoped for the best. We went down to get situated at the train station. Hot and hungry, agitated after looking at an iPhone and trying to make decisions and figure things out based on wacky Thai websites for a couple hours. I was just exhausted and tired of things not going as planned. Turns out I am indeed a planner, and I’m really able to have much more of a good time within a structure. I like to think that I’m easy breezy but sometimes not so much.

Stuart watched the luggage and I went back to the restaurant we’d been to for breakfast and a snack the night before. I had the same weird herbal mushroom soup I’d inadvertently ordered the last time—cinnamon and goji berries and bony beef bits and lots of greens. Really delicious somehow. Watched Thai soaps and read my book and calmed down. It was surprisingly super nice to be alone for a little bit. Got Stuart some takeout and headed back, much revived.

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