95km/7hrs. Flat roads. A little directionally disadvantaged at times. A 50c day. Things do not always work out the way one wishes but sometimes that is better. Today was one of those days. After the 130km day yesterday I decided to do far less today and give myself time to explore my destination. I rode 20km more than intended and went to another destination.
If one has not had enough coffee in the morning I find the best way to wake up fast is a dog attack. It gets the heart going and focuses the mind very effectively. I was not sure how to get out of Nakhon Sawan but definitely wanted to. A bit of a business hub with lots of Chinese and Sikhs. I followed the river knowing that was the right direction and found myself riding along a small pleasant road. While enjoying the quiet and I heard a bark and five dogs ran at me. I moved from 22km to 33km in a few seconds and out ran them. Soon I reached a dead-end and realized that I would have to go back the way I’d come. While collecting rocks for the battle a farming woman came out of a house and directed me to the road I wanted. I could go through her property to get there. As I started she said, ‘No, dog!’. They were her three dogs but she could hardly stop them from attacking me by waving a large stick. Don’t people have cages or chains to stop these cures from attacking strangers?
I got on the correct road that was large and boring so followed my nose and sense of direction and got quickly lost. I cycled a small road besides the river. In fact the wrong side of the river but it was beautiful so didn’t care. Thais are very helpful with directions but not too accurate. When I thought I had reached a dead-end I asked two men for directions. They alternatively pointed me in the three possible directions with equal conviction before changing their minds. They then discussed them at length before telling me to continue the way I was going. Eventually the dirt track turned back to a small pot holed road with lots of dogs hiding in ambush. When I stopped to try to work out where I was people often stopped and offered help. even if it added to the confusion.
Then my bike let me down with the second puncture of the trip. Try finding the hole by sound or feel in a breeze besides a motorway. When I managed to fix it my pump could not put enough air into the high pressure tire. I am a patient man but messing about with the puncture in the heat for nearly an hour would have a saint biting his tongue. I think I said a few ‘oh bother’, ‘what a nuisance’ and ‘darn it’ while I kicked the tire along the road. A kilometer after blowing the tire up enough to just about ride it I found one of those lovely oily workshops with an equally nice man covered with grease working on a bit of an engine but very happy to blow up the tire.
I managed to get slightly directionally inaccurate a couple of times further and then at 5pm when on the right road but with 35km to go decided to stop at the nearest accommodation. Easier said than done. The Thai direction giving problem kept me riding around for 30 min and then on reaching the resort suggested had a strange encounter with the owner. ‘Have you got a room please?; ‘Yes, but it is very hot’. ‘Have you got a room with AC then?’ ‘Yes but it is closed.’ I then asked her where another resort was and she directed me along a small road where there was nothing. A man waved vaguely at a paddy field when asked directions. Eventually riding up a road in a vague hope of finding something I came across a beautiful resort with bungalows in a lotus pond. The lotus is of course the Buddhist plant because it comes from the murky bottom of the pond to bloom into a beautiful flower just like the progression to enlightenment. Unfortunately some Buddhists prefer to wallow in the mud as in Myanmar.