The Long and Hazy Road
By god I am tired. It is half past five in the evening and I have just awakened from sleeping the sleep of the dead; well, not exactly the sleep of the dead, but it was quite a sleep for a full two hours. Not really sure what is going on. I had a late start and a late lunch with a little stop for cheese cake and iced coffee half way through and in between I did ninety kilometres, and now I am knackered. I guess that the riding with a group is simply different from riding alone. With a group I will ride along with those at the back giving encouragement, support, and if necessary sing behind them in order to chivy them on. (My singing is so fearful it has been known to drive severally fatigued men from the verge of failure to first to the top of the pass). Then I might ride on through the group having a little chat here and there, fixing flat tyres, listening to stories and telling them as I go. Then I will stop, hopefully where it is pleasant, and wait to see how folks are getting on behind me. That is not a hard and fast rule but it is a broad and general description of riding with a tour group. Then, suddenly alone, there is no waiting or going easy, it is just get on with it at whatever pace seems like a good idea at the time. It is funny to realise only now that I have to adjust to pacing myself or I end up stopping at three and sleeping till five and then wondering why I can’t seep at night.
The lady here at the hotel is of a stout build that suggests a passion for food and relaxation, an altogether hazardous combination for those with an eye on keeping a trim waist. She offered me a room with a fan for two hundred Bhat, or with AC for 350. Although warm outside the rooms are old and well hidden from the sun and the non AC room was quite chilly when I wandered in. Made me wonder if they ever sell the AC room. Talking of which it was quite odd this morning. I set off and the temperature was fine, then a while down the road my chest began to feel quite chilled. I was sweating, as one does cycling in the tropics, and the evaporation of the sweat in the chill air felt quite heavy on my chest. So far as I was concerned the air had quite a chill to it. There was a light haze hanging over the hills and valleys in the distance and I put it down to this. Then I checked the temperature on my bicycle computer, 29 degrees. Hum, looks like it’s a good job that I am not in the frosty grip of this most harsh of British winters.
Following my sleep I wandered out of my room and the light was quite beautiful so I took up my camera and went for a wander. The fruit of which was the realisation that beautiful light is a fickle task master, especially here in the tropics. Whereas in Northern Europe sunrise and sunset last for hours, even all day during a far northern winter, here in the tropics the only thing that is not done in a leisurely manner is the setting and rising of the sun. Up, down. And so by the time I got to the local monastery the beautiful evening hues had been obscured by a palm tree and a large building the other side of the road. I met a surly monk and a dog that looked as though it was in two minds as to whether to savage my leg or empty it’s bladder on it. I left.
Well, time for food now, I am rather peckish to say the least so I will call it a day.
POST SCRIPT: I went looking for food and, most unusually, the restaurants were all closed, I mean all of them. I found the night market and that, fortunately for this hungry wheelman, was open. I also found a friendly monk, an angry cat and would you believe a dog that peed on my foot?