15 February 2012
I spend a few kilometres getting out of Chanthaburi and snaking north to get on highway 3, and then most of the day is a steady grind along it.
The highway just seems to be a rolling backdrop of petrol stations, tyre shops, car repair workshops, the occasional factory. It's boring; it's manufactured.
The good news is that my strength seems to be returning, and I'm making a conscious effort to keep an eye on water and calorie levels.
I stop for lunch shortly before 1pm, and manage to do such a convincing job with my limited Thai that the lady cooking my lunch tries to make conversation, and asks me a completely contextless (and probably quite simple) question - I have to own up and say I don't understand. I get pork fried rice that I can't help drowning in prik nam plaa - chopped chillies in salty fish sauce. At the shop across the street I score a Coke and a bunch of bananas.
After about 85km, I reach a junction that'll take me off the highway and over to a smaller coast road. Tired of truck noise, and considering an early stop in the small port of Ban Phe, I take it. The small road is definitely more pleasant riding, but the dog chase risk is clearly higher.
I predict that stopping in Ban Phe means an easier job finding accommodation that's at a suitable price, and better dinner options. I'm also thinking that it might pay to build up distance in steps after my time off sick in Trat. The 15km or so I'm short today will just have to be tacked onto tomorrow.
Everything works out smoothly in Ban Phe, right down to the snack availability in 7-11. This store is rapidly becoming a key part of my Thailand calorie strategy. Raisin oatmeal cookies and chocolate milk are food groups, right?
99km, 21.4km/h, 4hr36min, 5770km