Wednesday, October 03, 2007

End of the ride

After Uttaradit I continued south to the little town of Pichai, where I searched around for somewhere to sleep. Found one grotty place about 7km outside town, with a foaming guard dog on a chain, decided to head in to town proper, where I found pretty much the only hotel, which was charging 500 baht for a room situated beside a road where trucks rumble past. Had a look around town, main centre seems to be some small supermarket type shops. Find a restaurant and order the old standby or chicken fried rice. I can almost read some Thai menus now, although painfully slowly! I decided to have a beer to help me sleep so popped along to the karoke bar next door, where some drunk Thai guys were wailing into a microphone. Then they all clambered onto a flat-bed truck/tractor and went singing into the night. Time to retire and get an early start for the ride to Phitsanulok tomorrow.
I set off at dawn and managed to pick out the correct minor roads to meet up with a highway. Sometime the minor roads are better as they are quiet traffic wise, but the downside is they aren't maintained to the same standards. So I navigated along a potholed road, rolling through little villages, getting a few wide-eyed looks, farang!

With 25km to go I stopped off for some breakfast and some rehydration. Feeling tired but push on, turns into a slog although the road is flat. I take a wrong turn as I reach Phitsanulok adding more distance, although I'm trundling along in first gear by now. I spot a large building straight in the distance which looks like a hotel and continue slowly towards, only 2km away but seems to not be getting any closer. Anyway eventually I arrive and it's pricy but I check in, order a steak sandwich via room service (which didn't last long) and crawl into bed. I wake up about dinner time :) Have some food and retire to watch a movie, today was a real struggle on the bike, the next day reveals why. I move round the block to a cheapy hotel, when I pull my bike out, I notice the rear brake block is rubbing againt the rim, hmmm. I suspect I cycled the last 25km like this, as the rubber is worn down on one side quite a bit.

Quite a big place Phitsanulok, I went for a walk and came across the local wat/market/construction site. Don't think I'll be eating here as dust fills the air. I walk through the middle of the city and a Thai woman in front of me screams at the top of her voice. I had almost stepped on a snake! It slithered off into the bushes, probably over a metre in length.

Then I took the easy way back to Chiang Mai, hopping on the train. Although I could only get the sleeper train due to my freight (i.e. the bike) The train meanders alongs through the night, eventaully getting into Chiang Mai after ten hours or so. Returning somewhere you know is so much easier, I jump on my bike and take the short ride into town, as new arrivals haggle with tuk-tuk drivers. Soon back in town and I sell my bike, buy some shoes, zip down to Bangkok and fly past Everest and down into the Kathmandu valley!

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