I have had an exhausting days cycling, my longest yet. I had a rather small breakfast at the youth hostel, then set off back to the main highway and headed south. By 10am I was hungry again, so stopped for rice and fried veg at a roadside stall. I was really hungry today, I seem to struggle to eat enough despite eating about five meals a day. And I am drinking so much water and coke. I am wondering if coke and pepsi and suchlike are good things to drink when cycling. Is the caffeine in them bad for exercise? Perhaps one of my cycling friends can do some research and let me know.
The culinary excitement of today was when one woman offered me a big round fruit, about eight inches in diameter. I have no idea what it was, but it had a green skin, with lots of white pith and large pale yellow segments a bit like a big grapefruit. It was a citrus, but was much less acidic than a grapefruit or tangerine.
It is really interesting how they sell things at the roadside here. Rather than having a mix of stall selling different stuff, they will have a row of stalls all selling exactly the same thing. Two days ago it was pineapples. Today I went along a stretch of half a mile with about 50 stalls on both sides of the road all selling small bananas. They were very delicious, but I have no idea how they make a living. I also went along a mile where they were all selling beautiful hand woven baskets. And it is the same with food. For five miles they will all sell whole roast chickens, then 20 miles later for five miles they will all sell dried fish, then 30 miles later it will all be something roast inside bamboo.
But getting food and drink is so easy. I rarely go 5 km without passing a roadside cafe where I can get rice and fried veg, and maybe a fried egg if I can explain well. Twice they have put chunks of meat in, but I have just picked them out. I am going to stick to being veggie.
The scenery today was much the same as the last few days, two lane highway lined with miles of palm forest. So I dedicated my ride to memorising how to say all the numbers up to 99 by putting my notepad from last night in the map section on top of my handlebar bag, and then practicing by trying to say the numbers on the milestones before I passed them. I have pretty much got all the numbers now.
I cycled about 130 km today, and actually felt much better with it than previous shorter days. Maybe I am finally getting a bit fitter. But the tail wind helps!
I am staying in a really nice guest house tonight, and the owner has arranged a ticket on the boat to the island of Koh Tao first thing tomorrow, and also booked me onto a four day diving course to get my Padi certificate (which means I can dive anywhere in the world) and arranged five days accommodation at the dive school. she has also checked that I can take a day off during the dive course to go to the full moon party on Ko Pha Ngan, the neighbouring island.
So it should be a fun few days!
Time to hit the night market now and hunt out some veggie food...