68 km, 3h 50 min, max temp 36
At one point today Becky was thinking that cycling in the rain was like exercising in the shower. But then the rain got much worse and it felt more like swimming than cycling. We stopped under a temporary marquee for shelter and were quickly joined by two ladies on a scooter. We all waited under the marquee for 15 minutes or so while the heavens opened for real. Streams of water began to fill the ditch we were in, and we had to move our bikes and ourselves to higher ground. This seemed to go on for much longer than 15 minutes, and would have been a great opportunity to talk with the ladies. Unfortunately, the only communication we could manage was smiles and nods.
We left at 11 am after deciding we really did not want to spend another night in Krabi, and took the back roads to Ao Leuk (sometimes spelled Au Luk) to get away from the tourists. At first, we did not seem to escape the traffic, but shortly after the rains began the roads cleared, and we were on quiet back roads for most of the day.
We were again happy to have the GPS, even though our maps are not very good. When we looked at the map versus our actual path, we find the road is plotted in a slightly different location! Fortunately, the roads on Google Maps seem to be accurate, and Scott created some tracks this morning. Navigating the back roads, with only the occasional sign in Thai, and very few road numbers would have been a real challenge. Even with the GPS, we did overshoot a few turns, but managed to recover quickly. At one point, this turned out to be rather fortuitous as we would have completely missed a large outdoor reclined Buddha. It was right at the corner, and just out of our field of view while turning.
We eventually pulled up to an intersection in Au Luek and saw a marquee with people in it. We had no idea which way to go for a hotel, so we pulled up and asked. Just then, the rain started again, so we waited under the marquee for it to lighten a little. Looking around, it appeared to be a joint police/army vehicle inspection post, perhaps looking for drunk drivers during the Songkram weekend rush? A women there gave us detailed directions to the hotel in Au Luek, which was rather fortunate, as we likely would have had a very difficult time finding it on our own – for anyone passing by, it is across the street from the hospital, right on Highway 4, and shortly after the traffic light.
The hotel is called the PN Mansion. We have an air-conditioned room for 350 Baht a night (about $12 CAD). There is no Internet, but the shower has hot water and there is an Internet café across the street. They found a spot for our bikes downstairs, which was nice given how wet they were when we arrived. Our room even comes with a bonus gecko nest just outside the bathroom window. As good as TV, and bonus bug control… What more could you ask for?
We went across the street for dinner and had our first taste of Thai hotpot. It was a buffet, so we got to select our own ingredients. They provided us with a hot pot and grill at our table (sort of like fondue). It was wonderful – lots of great vegetables, and some liver to help keep our iron count up. We definitely got our 89 Baht ($3 CAD each) worth!