2009/01/10: Ang Thong 48 km
We did a short day out of Ayuttaya on Saturday, reaching Ang Thong by noon to find an adequate hotel near the centre of the town. The strong winds were truly buffeting us, and we had tired quickly. Also, gathering ourselves to start was slow, as Chris had been in no condition to assemble his gear the night before.
After resting in the hotel, we strolled in the busy markets, found an internet cafe, ate a delicious Pad Thai supper, and found a pharmacy. We bought calcium supplements which have helped relieve muscle cramps. We can take calcium now that we’ve stopped taking the malaria medication. Upon carefully checking our malaria maps, we don’t need to consider taking these till we near the Laos border. Furthermore, according to Alistair who has lived and travelled extensively in the tropics, Australian travel doctors advise against taking anti-malarials because you can still get the disease but the symptoms are masked therefore making a diagnosis is more difficult. Without anti-malarials, he says, the disease can be diagnosed and treated quickly and effectively. Canadian travel doctors have a more conservative approach. We find ourselves uncertain whose approach to take. Knowledgeable and thoughtful comments would be welcome.
We’ve started to photograph food, as many cyclists seem to do. Food is such an important part of travel, both as fuel for the engine of travel and as part of enjoying local culture. We have no qualms about photographing food we have ordered and are clearly about to savour, but I would feel impolite photographing food in a market because it appears unusual to falangs like us. I can tell you a few things, however. We had what I think were poultry hearts on a stick for breakfast in Ayuttaya. I got them by accident, but they were pretty good. And there are grilled skewered frogs in the market that were as big as small chickens. The fried locusts at a roadside vendor did not appeal to me.
We travel by endless canals where small groups of Brahman cattle are herded along the banks. The rice paddies stretch on for miles and are cultivated mechanically.
We are planning to head onto smaller roads soon, now that we have a bit of a feel of things. This country feels so safe that our Plan B is to bivouac in any of the roadside bus shelters if we are not near accommodation as night falls. We are considering doing a leg by boat on the Mekong River from the Laos border to Luang Prabang.