Yesterday Sunday 10th July
77km Phimai – Phon
Departed the lovely Phimai about the same time the monks were collecting their Elms and had a head wind for 10km back out to the Highway. After that a really fast ride, maybe it was the tail wind, maybe the couple of days rest or maybe the excitement to be back pedalling moving forward into the unknown.
Arrived Phon and found the only hotel in town, well so the owner said but we were sure there was another. Anyway we weren’t worried as was a great hotel at 590b ($23.50) inc brekki. Chilled out in the air con for a bit then did some exploring. We absolutely loved Phon, the people so friendly, and the streets so quiet. Very few Westerners would visit Phon and those that do would be males either looking for love in the Isaan Province or visiting their loved ones families, so Western females a definite novelty.
We had the true Isaan hospitality last night whilst having dinner and a beer. As we were about to leave and paying the bill the man got the calculator out to do the tally and the total for one big beer and 2 dishes came to 125b ($5). When we tipped him 25b it was like he had won lotto. He struggled to accept it and in return gave us a large bottle of water worth 12b. This was so sweet and made us realise how fortunate we are to be having this amazing experience with these lovely people. Also puts life in perspective when many of the Thai people only earn 300b ($12) per day, others we pass daily on our bikes walking the side of the highway picking up plastic bottles to scratch out a living.
76km Phon – Khon Kaen
Up early and already the heat was packing a punch. Hearty brekki of fried eggs on toast to hit the road. Traffic was heavy all day and 10km into it we saw our first of 2 crashes for the day, a trucks trailor rolled over on the road. When we arrived it looked like nobody injured just feeling sorry for himself.
The heat and humidity was scorching today and at one stage I had to check I didn’t have a flatty as the pushing was such tough going. Struggling to get the fluids on board to keep up with the rate they were exiting the body and with what seemed to feel like uphill all day arriving Khon Kaen was a welcome site. Navigating the busy big city we found our hotel but not before seeing a lady getting knocked off her scooter and almost doing the splits as she fell. She was fine but scooter a little damaged. We decided to splash out in Khon Kaen and booked a room for 1200b. ($48 Inc brekki) Maybe the receptionist saw how buggered we looked but we ended up getting an upgrade to the ‘Suite’. Hmmm now that’s cycle touring in style. Maybe a little posh for us sweaty, dusty kiwis but hey we will lap it up for the 2 nights and maybe even extend a 3rd.