Satun to Thung Wa

Woke up and had instant noodles in the room. Set off around 7, with the sun already up because Thailand is (or isn’t? It’s confusing to me) on daylight savings time. Neat ride through town, tons of school kids heading off to class after street snacks and people toodling around on scooters. We stopped for a more real breakfast at a very shack-y place with Muslim ladies making huge huge huge vats of soup and curries. The pharmacist from next door came over to help with the English-Thai barrier, and after lots of pointing we both wound up with plates of rice and curry and fermented mustard greens and scrambled eggs. I also got soup somehow—a bowl full of big hunks of potato-y melon and bony meat that was surprisingly great. I thought the curry I had was pork, but realized later it couldn’t have been (headscarves) so I’ve got no clue what I really had for breakfast. Very different flavors than Malaysia: more herbs, more oomph—and less fish funk, surprisingly.

Stopped at our first magical Thai 711 on the way out of town for water and snacks and off we went. We biked along the highway for a while, but went with Google walking maps again for a longer but less busy route. Definitely paid off with a nice road through little towns and dry paddies. I can’t imagine how different it must look here in the wet season—huge swaths of rice growing land are totally barren, even burnt—must be a very different scene when they are watery and lush and green. Everyone waves at us and we get lots of Hello!s and Sawadee!s.

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Started off feeling strong but by noon or so I was getting really tired. My butt is truly so insanely sore. So I was insanely glad to come across a good lunch spot at a turn in the road. Sat down—must have looked totally toasted. Sweaty, red and pale at the same time, floppy, exhausted noodle girl. Gal having lunch there sweetly hopped right up and brought us glasses of ice for water. Stuart did some good pointing and got us a great lunch of fried rice with chicken, shrimp, and delicious greens. Lime to squeeze over the the top. We both barely made it through our lunches, both feeling pretty weird. “Gerbils doing Muay Thai in my guts,” as Stuart put it. Managed to just chill out and sat there for a long time. I got so tired, I nodded off and woke up maybe 10 times. Haven’t had that feeling since being dead bored in high school. So tired that there’s no thinking about it, just head dropping back and totally OUT. Then coming to,  not sure if it’s been a ten second or twenty minute nap. The guy owner of the restaurant (who was wearing safety glasses to drive his scooter around and hack at meat) sweetly offered for me to lay down in their house, which was incredibly nice. I felt a bit better after the break and carried on to Thung Wa, a place we’d picked as a good halfway point.

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I’d searched for hotels on Google Maps and seen Thung Wa, which seemed like a good stopping point. There was only one hotel in town, so I Googled the name, The Green Hotel, and it brought up these totally charming Scots’ bike blog. Funny, endearing couple who do big trips around the world. They’d stayed there and seemed to like it, so we shot for the same place. Showed up to a strange situation, but got a room for under $10, the cheapest so far. Big room, with a TV at one end and a bed at the other. Fluorescent light over the TV and a weird colonial, garage-style sconce over the bed. Pink bathroom with a squat toilet and no shower. Old shower head that emitted at sad trickle, showers to be taken with a bowl and a trash can full of water. Worked pretty well and felt pretty great after being so sweaty. We wrapped ourselves up in our bug bags and watched Thai TV.

We walked toward town to get dinner, through some pretty little streets. Folowed signs for some kind of vista and wound up at the top of a rise looking out over the water and islands—super, super pretty. We got some dinner from stands in town (after waking around waiting to get to the heart of town, it turned out we were already there.) Picked up fried chicken with sticky rice and a generous scoop of fried shallots and a bag of papaya salad. A weird big guy had rode by us on his scooter a couple times, saying hi in a strange way, and while I was waiting for chicken (with a bunch of ladies, all of whom I stood about 1.5 feet above) he kind of accosted Stuart at a table and kept asking him where we were staying. Creepy. Icky. So we hustled back to the hotel, a long, dark walk along the highway. Got back and realized that the front of our hotel was a nightclub—rope lights and a projector shooting giant photos of naked Asian babes on the wall. Turns out we may have been staying in a brothel.

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Ate dinner in the room with the crazy loud and totally uncontrollable AC on. Stuart tried to secure the door a little better and put a bike against it. I unwisely ate the papaya salad—atomic-level spicy. Whole head felt hollowed out by spice. Near-religious experience. Then back in bug bags to try and sleep. AC kept turning on and off, and was incredibly loud and ineffective when on. Tried to turn the fan on but it sounded like a rattly old truck trying to start right above the bed. Long long night of sweat and dogs barking and loud pop music from the bar. And fear.

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