|Free water and ice are always available in Thailand. No matter if you just order 2 drinks, the hospitality is the same!|
|The ongoing construction of the bridge to Koh Lanta|
|Cupcake, Tern D16|
PAK MING - KOH LANTA
We started out at dawn powered by a light breakfast of "Yu thiau" bought from a stall across the street. 2 baht for 1 "Yu thiau". While our local ones are foot long, the ones sold in South Thailand are all 3 inches and lacking in salt. If the length of a "Yu thiau" is to represent one's manhood, then our fellow Malaysian and Singaporean men are vainly egoistic!
Today's route is mainly scenic, passing by villages and plantations. Previous day, Alvin had voiced out many times that we need to clock 60 km by noon or we'll have to start searching for alternative mode of transport. He added that we will have 2 ferry crossings so we must not be late!!!!
With these thoughts hovering over us, burning "Yu Thiau", plus the crisp morning air, we rode fast. Alvin almost went into warp speed but stopped short when his Da Brim flew off!!! YC, Claudine and VT saw it flying but were not quick enough to catch it. Instead Lance was the one returning the doughnut to him.
Our proper breakfast stop at Sikao came quickly! Everyone were surprised we managed the 10 km in such a short time. Breakfast was a terrible dim sum of sausage Siew Mai and the sorts, decent pork porridge and decent kuih-muih. We downed this with Cha Ron and the usual complimentary hot green tea. It seems Celia has not learnt that coffee in South Thailand is unpalatable to us. She pushed her's away!
After breakfast, we rode out again. A light drizzle cooled us momentarily. We rode for another 10 km or so before stopping by a shop opposite a school. Drinks from the shop, rambutan from the stall a few feet away.
We made a detour via rubber plantations.
It drizzled, it stopped.
We returned to the main road.
We made another waterstop.
George went to the side of the shop, opened an orange ice box and helped himself to the cold water. He bathed Papa with icy cold water too until someone asked....is the ice box meant to hold seafood????
We rode out again.
Our next stop was at a bamboo and thatched roofed stall. We only ordered 2 large bottles of soft drinks but were served with ice and cups to go around! Jugs of drinking water were placed on the table for us. Such was the excellent hospitality of Thai people.
When we left, the stall owners beamed us wide smiles while the 2 DHL courier men continued to dine. We can only guess their consignments will be arriving "Dua Hari Lagi"
After riding a few kilometers, we turned left to the whiff of fried cempedak. Claudine, VT, Alvin, Celia and Lance stopped for the hot fried food. The rest skipped the snack. Even, Papa Mike!
As the food was piping hot, we took our time.
Then, we gave chase!
Lance was designated to pull everyone. We rode in a peloton.
After what seemed like 15 minutes of mashing the pedals, we saw 2 cyclists ahead. But the visions disappeared when we turned a corner. Alvin, Claudine and VT wondered if they have seen ghosts.
It was another 5 minutes before the ghosts were busted!!! One rider in bright yellow and another in chili red!!! Papa Mike and YC!!!
According to Alvin, we made yet another stop at a lousy Malay shop with a muddy path to the toilet. Claudine has no recollections of this at all.
Just before noon, we arrived at the drive-thru for ferry tickets. 60 km down our belt. We bought the tickets for Koh Lanta. 35 baht per person, per bike for 2 ferry crossings.
Then, we searched for lunch.
There wasn't many options for lunch at the ferry terminal. Most shops does a grab and go concept. The only place for a sit down lunch was back up the hill, 30 meters away from the terminal.
There, a petite lady took awhile to understand our orders of 7 fried rice. She kept insisting there were 10 of us! When she finally understood that some of us are sharing, she went on to prepare our food.
She took forever!
She took such a loooooong time that Papa, KC, Wendy and George dozed off. Lance who was at their table, sneaked off to join the other non-sleepers.
While the waiting takes forever, the eating was quick. Soft lumpy fried rice were served.
Then, another long wait for the bill.
Pen in one hand, exercise book in the other, our little lady does a profit and loss account, followed by a balance sheet!!! Debit, credit ....
When she was finally satisfied, we paid the bill.
There were no time schedule for the ferry. The ferry loads, the ferry sails. When it gets to the other embankment, the ferry unload, then reload for the return journey.
We boarded the ferry.
We bought local ice cream from a spunky young girl on a motorcycle with a side car. The ice cream comes in a cone topped with roasted peanut. We could not identify the flavour.
When we reached the other side, we rode for another 20 kilometers to the next ferry terminal. Beside this embankment stands a half built bridge. We suppose this ferry service is entering it's sunset days.
Our century ride ends at Mook Lanta Resort after a second lunch in the town area and discovering that there will be no boat services to Krabi during this low season. But that is another story to tell!
As for dinner, we walked out to a restaurant called Ta Tha Ta. Craving for western food, we overlooked that we will be served spaghetti in tomato sauce and pizza from a frozen pizza base! I suppose, with the laid back charms of Mook Lanta we had let all our guards down.
So the unfulfilled few, spent the night eating great ham and cheese croissant and all that works from the 7 eleven store nearby!