On November 4th Fred the bike is embarking on a six month journey across Southeast Asia. Starting in Singapore, Fred plans to make his way up the west coast of Malaysia, across Thailand, Cambodia, up through Vietnam and into Laos. After that... who knows? Fred invites you to follow him through his adventure. Any advice from fellow travelers is always welcome.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Chumphon-Ban Bang Boet

Total Distance:94.32km
Total Time:5h55m42s
Average Speed:15.9km/h
Maximum Speed:45.0km/h
Total Distance So Far:1581.18km

Yesterday I resumed my cycling experience. I regret to inform you that I have encountered yet another delay in my trip. What we all knew would inevitably happen finally did. I injured myself. Before you start to freak out and assume the worst, let me assure you it is not that bad. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let me go back and describe the days events for you.
I arrived in Chumphon on the 26th. I stayed there an extra day in order to do a Visa Run. I had originally planned to do it in Ranong, but Chumpohon eliminated having to back track for a day. The Visa run was quite an experience. They take you a van to the Burma-Thai boarder where you then take a boat to an island in Burma. The island us completely desolate. The only thing there is a Casino. You sit there for an hour, at which point you get back on the boat and reenter Thailand. Simple as that. Another 15 days on your visa. It all went well and the next day I was ready to hit the road.
I woke up early in hopes of making all the way to Prachuap Khirikhan, which is a long and gruelling 180km or so from Chumphon. However, having spent the last week exerting the bare minimum in physical effort that is needed for human survival, I suspected I might tire out and be unable to make it the whole way. As a backup I could stop in Bang Saphan, about half way through the two cities. There are two roads that go from Chumphon to Prachuap. I opted to take the secondary highway as it runs along the coast and would make for a more scenically pleasing ride. I stand by my choice. The view, although nothing spectacular, was nice and I had the road almost completely to myself. The only downside was the rather harsh head-wind which slowed me down significantly. At one point I was travelling on only the smallest of inclines, unable to push myself past 10km/h. Despite the wind, it felt good to be on the road again. I was instantly reminded of why I chose to do this in the first place. It is so nice to be able to take in every inch of a country. Experience everything it has to offer. To often people travel to only the major cities and resorts in a country, never really seeing it's true culture. The ride, though tiring, was great.
After about 60km I was starting to get tired. I decided to stop for a break at the side of the road. That's when it happened. There was a slight decline getting off the road. I planted my feet ion the ground steadily guiding my bike down the hill. All of a sudden I lost my balance. I toppled over, bringing Fred down with me. With him all geared up he's quite heavy. My leg got wedged under him and one of the pedals gauged a fair sized chunk of skin from my leg. I got up and tended to my bloody leg. Everything seemed to be okay. The cut was deep, but did not render me unable to ride. It didn't seem to require immediate medical attention. A sat for a bit, drank some water, and got back on the bike. When I started riding I received a most unwelcome surprise. My knee hurt with an intensity I have only ever felt once in my life. Panic start to set in.
For those of you who don't really know me, now would be a good time to tell you I have spent the past two years recovering from a rather bad injury to my knees. I tore various ligaments in them while skiing a couple of years ago. The healing process was a long and unpleasant one. One I don't wish to repeat. So I sure you can imagine my fear when I found myself unable to pedal my bike.
Given the circumstances I think I handled it fairly well. Don't get me wrong. there was a fair amount of panic involved. However I was able to collect myself and come up with a plan. I was still pretty far from Bang Saphan. There was no way I could ride there. Worst case scenario, I could hitch. A single woman riding a bicycle through SE Asia is brave, but hitching... that's just plain dumb. I would only do it as a last resort. I saw a sign for Ban Bang Boet Beach 25 km away. Luckily a lot of the terrain was downhill. I could coast through the downhill parts, and walk my bike for the rest. So that's what I did, the whole time praying there would be some sort of resort there. It was a risk, but my best bet.
Upon arrival a sense of relief filled my body. Three resorts, all of which cost a pretty penny. Desperate times call for desperate measures though. I wasn't about to go in search of another place to stay when I couldn't ride and barely walk. The people there took pity on me and gave me a discount. 1000 baht, down from 1500. Still pricey, but what can you do. This morning I woke up early, arranged for a ride to Bang Saphan and caught a bus to Prachuap Khirikhan. Ban Bang Boet is pretty "one horse". The possibility of needing to see a doctor still exists, so I'd rather be in a city where I have access to a hospital and buses to various places if need be.
Today was my first bus ride. I didn't like it. Watching the landscape zoom by didn't do it justice. I missed my bike. I missed my method of travel. I'm in Prachuap now. My leg feels a little better. I think I'll rest here one more day. Hopefully I'll be able to ride, but if I have to I'll bus it to Bangkok. I only have 13 days to get to Cambodia, so time is of the essence.
So that's the story of my first, and hopefully, last injury. I'm optimistic that everything will heal and I'll be back on track by the day after tomorrow.

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