It’s a Wonderful Day in Thailand

Satun to La Ngu 56.17 kms
Lan Ng to Ban Thung Yao 54.05 kms
Ban Thung Yao to Kantang 56 kms
Kantang to Pak Meng 46 kms

It’s a wonderful day in Thailand.

I know I’ve been a bit verbose on the political side of things lately so I thought about this title as I cycled along the day before yesterday. So I’ll just get this one thing off my chest and we will move onto wonderful, I promise. We need to be very vigilant as we are living in dangerous times…in addition to voting for non-maniacs when you can, please take political action this year more than once…fund the real media, fund a refugee help organization, fund planned parenthood and feminist organizations, fight fake news…help the right politician win using social media. Read outside your comfort zone. Be open to new opinions. Back up your arguments with facts.

Ok done and back to wonderful.

It was a wonderful day of cycling in Thailand the day before yesterday so I will give you a synopsis of the day.

7:30 am (awake and up — astonishing for us…well for Ian…he has a cold so he went to bed at 8:30 the night before).

8:30 am. Out of our motel in Kantang (even more astonishing with our panniers packed, helmets, sunglasses, and bike gloves on and for me bandana tied around my neck so I can wipe away sweat and when it is very hot I pull it up over my nose protect myself from fumes and sunburn – I look like a bank robber). I enjoy the cool morning air (morning being a novelty) as we ride out of the Kantang Park Hotel which was actually what we would call a motel. Although it was a bit worn at the heels and decorated (by western standards) in brothel pink, it was clean and had air con and cost 15 dollars Canadian for the night.

8:35 am decide to ride along down to the river and see if there really is a ferry (as per my Thailand map which is now downloaded on my ipad). We can’t find the pier and based on feedback from a Canadian couple we met on the ferry from Langkawi to Satun and with whom we have been traveling with for a few days there probably isn’t a ferry anyway.

8:45 make the pleasant discovery that we are somewhat accidentally on the back road that will take us over the bridge and en route to our Pak Meng destination. We see a small grocery store that has a stone table and benches in front of it and we decide to stop for breakfast. The Thai owners seem happy to see us. We survey the shelves and decide on some pastry with mystery filling, two cans of cold nescafe and two orange juices. An elderly Thai woman comes to the front of the store and the owner comes out to talk to her. The woman is very thin and has no teeth. She is dressed immaculately in a pink crocheted short sleeve blouse and a sarong. She has two wicker baskets neatly lined with paper and she shows the owner the contents. The owner chooses a few pastries and then gestures for me to have a look. We don’t know what’s inside (more mystery pastry) but I figure its probably good so I nod yes. The owner kindly opens the pastry so I can see what it is – one has corn niblets the other some kind of bean paste…or maybe its tuna. We nod yes and she sells us two and then and this is so Thai generous…gives us two. Ian and I share the corn one and although it is a bit weird as it is a sweet pastry it is actually very good. We give the thumbs up to the old lady who made them. Ian suddenly remembers the word for delicious in Thai (it is aroy). We both start saying aroy, aroy and she is tickled pink and goes into the store to tell the owners (we hear her repeating aroy aroy).

8:50 We fill up our water bottles and hit the road after I take a few pictures of the spirit house outside the store (the store owners would have erected this when the store was built. It is an old animist practise that is mixed with Buddhism now…often there are wee buddhas in the shrines. They are everywhere in Thailand). I notice what I think is a small cemetery beside the store and take a few shots of that.

9:00 – 10:00 am We are over the bridge and I see a lot of Thai fishing boats painted in bright primary colours in the river below but I am enjoying the ride and decide not to get off the bike to take photos. A little while later we see a guy on a motorcycle attached to a side cart and attached to the side cart is a water buffalo. They are moving very slowly! A few moments later I see a family in the same kind of metal side car and they pass me. The road has a good shoulder and the traffic is light. There are a few hills but they are minor and rolling (and when they roll you can scoot down one and get most of the way up the next one on momentum alone). We stop for a drink at a coffee place. It is very neat and tidy and a bit girly with lots of ceramic flowers and hearts. Sure enough it is run by two Thai women in their twenties. We enjoy a couple of iced coffees. Ian sees two cyclists ride by and runs out after them. He’s recognized them – our new cycling friends. We’ve been meeting up with them in the evenings since then as they typically get up earlier than we do (surprise surprise) but today, for once, we are on the road earlier than they are. They stop for coffee and we figure out a plan to meet up later in the day.

10:00 to 12:00 The last ten kms of our 45 km ride is along the ocean where we see our first karst formations. The view is gorgeous. We stop at a restaurant and order curries and pineapple juice and enjoy the view. We pack up and get to our ‘resort’ which turns out to be a bunch of bungalows at the north end of the beach. Although it is overpriced (a bit run down for what they are charging) it is very quiet and our balcony looks out over a lovely garden.

1:00 to 5:00 We rest up, check email, stock up on some beer, read.

6:00 pm to 10 pm. We meet our cycling friends at 6 for a few chang beers on our terrace and then eat at the local restaurant and are pleasantly surprised with very good green curry and chicken with cashew nut. One of the local cats joins us at the head of our table (jumping up onto a chair) and Robyn feeds her prawn bits.

10:30 Its lights out.

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