Thursday, January 5th, 2017
At a crossroads that will decide what the rest of the tour holds in store... when the canal that I've been on since yesterday disappears I'm at a big intersection. Turning right will take me to Cambodia, Angkor Wat, and probably a ride down Thailand's eastern coast. To the left will take me to northern Thailand and the mountains. I hesitate for a minute then turn left. My reasoning is that I've already done a ton of that flat riding along the coast when I was headed to Singapore, and I frankly don't want to deal with another visa, language, food, culture, etcetera that going to Cambodia will bring. Towards the mountains it is.
Some highway riding, some detours on rural back roads. Hot as usual. I'm amazed at the number of "Wats" (Buddhist temples) in Thailand. Even on these random back roads they seem to crop up out of nowhere. I have to come back to the highway to find a hotel at the end of the day. The woman checking me in speaks zero English but we manage to work it out. After a shower I'm out the door for dinner number 1 which is one of those vermicelli soups with pork, very spicy. I'm still hungry so I go looking for dinner number 2. It takes a couple of kilometers to find it... a small roadside cafe where I use Google translate to order stir-fried chicken and rice. The extended family comes out to see me, the gringo, eat dinner. A man who must be the grandfather asks me some questions about where I'm going and what I'm doing. All of this in pantomime, not a word of English to be found here. Surprisingly we manage to understand each other and have a few laughs. It's dark by the time I ride back to my place on a busy road with no shoulders. A bit stressful but I survive.