Sunday May 9, 2010, 88 km (55 miles) – Total so far: 708 km (440 miles)

Leaving the beach at Sichon was easy. Point the bike south. The resort manager seemed surprised that I was checking out without first having breakfast at their restaurant. Didn’t want to trouble them. It looked like BF was going to be long drawn as there was no staff around. Must be their late night at the beach side pub, but everyone left at about 11 pm, late for local standards.

Somehow 3 girls who were hanging around and seemed like trainee waitresses and cooks redeemed the whole place by running up to me with 2 bottles of cold water bidding me good luck, have a nice day and be careful. One message per girl. I left with a good impression and was curious to see what was down the road.

Not much though, as the other resorts were just waking up. No chance of BF until I pulled into a clean looking hut with 4 tables. Had an average dish of fried noodles to get the cylinders firing. It turned out to be a Thai Muslim stall and we had quite a chit chat as the man spoke Malay.

The almost naked chef

Had a great tailwind assisted ride along the beach for about 25 kms before hitting the main highway 401. Lo and behold as I was about to bonk I see a small wooden building, much like a garden shack but with glass walls on all 4 sides and an AC compressor in the corner. A hip coffee joint in the middle of nowhere. OK if you must know 41 kms on the 401. before Nakhon Si Thammarat, heading south. One iced Cappuccino, countless glasses of iced water, and one refill of ice cubes in the bike bottle later, I had to slowly drag myself out of this roadside oasis of cool air and sustenance.

Eternal spring behind that sliding glass door
Rode another shadeless 20 kms before the lure of a 7/11 called for a break at Tha Sala, a small fishing outpost, one of thousands along the Gulf, then back out onto Hwy 401 where I stopped in my tracks. A huge green billboard that read ‘Tesco Lotus’ meaning for me, a cool lunch inside an AC food court and a stroll seeking fresh fruit. Double locked the loaded bike in the m/cycles section and marched inside. As Hwy 401 is quite close to the coast, my attempts at finding smaller side roads closest to the sea were none too successful, most turned into dead ends or at someone’s house, where I was greeted by chasing dogs more than friendly locals.

More oddities along Hwy 41

More flat roads and Thai highway bliss, before reaching Nakhon, a seriously 6 kms long and lengthy town. A Thai friend emails from Singapore to warn me that people in Nakhon ST are more hot headed than usual and some will really shoot first and ask questions later. I reply asking her where the nearest gun shop was at.
Tonight’s hotel is interesting, the place has no connection with fugitive on the run ex Thai Prime Minister, but the poor staff get quizzed a lot. It’s also in the seedier northern part of town. Rows of pubs and bars outside. I avoid all these by walking through the hotel parking lot. There are also 6 shampoo sachets in the bathroom, how generous.
Wifi or wee fee as the Thais say, was a whole Thb 100 for a whopping mind numbing 24 hours at the hotel lobby. Pay up get a slip of paper, rip it open and enter the printed codes and password. I used 10% of it, but didn’t get Thb 90 back.
Big mistake dinner at KFC in the bright lights of Carrefour. Lame fried rice and spongy ‘New Orleans BBQ’ chicken. Right. Should have known better. Never ever go for western fast food in Thailand again. I console myself by getting some chips and a whole melon for in room feeding tonight.  Ah, but the breakfast tomorrow has redeemed all the eateries in this town, maybe the entire province. Stay tuned.

The office for tonight @ http://www.thaksinhotel.com

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