Thursday, December 8th, 2016
My Chinese is very good? So says the Taiwanese cyclist. I might have blushed, but it was too hot to be sure. The good news about the heat is that it comes riding on a strong northeasterly wind that's blowing me south. At first I'm wondering if the wind hasn't turned on me. Not to worry, a few clicks down the road and it's at my back. The restaurant where I had a late lunch yesterday is open but they're not serving breakfast (sad face), they make me a latte to console me.
This road dumps me unceremoniously on the highway. I don't see any other option, highway it is for a long stretch. I'm starving by the time I come upon a highway rest stop. I scarf down a plate of rice, fried eggs, and ginger chicken. At Prachuap Khiri Khan I can finally get off the highway to take a look at the wat perched on a hill (Khao chong krachok) and ride along the harbour.
I ride up on a young Taiwanese cycle tourer, complete with Ortlieb bags and trailing a Taiwanese flag on a stick. They (his friend is somwhere behind) started in China, came down through Laos and Thailand, and are on their way to Singapore like myself. We quickly switch to Chinese. I tell him how much I enjoyed touring Taiwan. After a few minutes he says go ahead, I'll follow you, but I shake his hand knowing he's not going to keep up with all that luggage he's carrying.
At some point a road appears off to the left that from the maps looks like it will take me some distance along the coast. Relieved to escape the highway, although it certainly allowed me to cover some ground. I ride up to see another wat perched on a mountain, Phra Mahathat Chedi Phakdee, the access road has some brutal grades. I've almost forgotten what it's like to climb after all these flat roads.
I book a place, drop my stuff there, and head for the beach. There's a little bar on one end, I have a delicious mango smoothie. A bit later an Australian couple shows up, turns out they are touring by bicycle as well, jumping around Asia sometimes riding, sometimes plain or train. We trade notes for a bit, then I'm off to a restaurant I spied on the way over. It looked good and does not disappoint. Fried beef with veggies, chili and rice.
Back at the guesthouse the internet isn't working. The owner comes down to mess with my DNS settings. I try to explain the concept of DHCP to her but the language barrier is too much. Oh well, perhaps at some point she will try to mess with the DNS settings of some Thai who can explain to her how to properly configure her router.