I already traveled from Bangkok on Tuesday and now have moved three more days away. Especially today the wind was favorable, so that I was able to move forward quickly despite a slightly undulating terrain. With the temperatures now rising a little, I really like that, because I automatically take more breaks and still don’t need any longer.
Since I had my accommodation in the Thai capital west of the broad Chao Phraya River and the actual center, I first had to cycle across the city and then from the eastern edge towards the airport. A constantly busy route, on which I was able to drive past the ever long traffic jam on the left, as well as all the many moped drivers, who fearlessly work their way to the next traffic light, gather there, always groping, and then as a growl, roaring swarm pour over the not yet clear crossing already two seconds in advance of the next green phase.
About 17 km of stress, hectic pace, dust and soot clouds from sometimes old trucks took more than an hour before I could take a deep breath on the arterial road towards the airport. The traffic there was not much thinner, but the road was a little wider.
Full attention requires shared taxis that drive relatively slowly in the left lane, sometimes not much faster than I do, and whose drivers look more at potential roadside customers than at me.
Only far behind the airport, which I didn’t see much from a distance, did the traffic really get thinner. There are several depots of coaches and dozens of these buses, which presumably pick up or deliver their passengers directly from the airport, either go to these depots, dusty open spaces behind high fences, or turn at a widened turning point and drive towards the airport or Bangkok as their return destination.
After far more than 30 kilometers, there was also time for me to finally take a longer break and eat something. However, one can no longer speak of restaurant density, I have to drive a little further until I find one, and on the sheltered outside area with a view of a small lake I sit in the shade for about half an hour.
No more commercial areas and industrial settlements along the road, just settlements and shops. For example, a bicycle dealer where I was allowed to take a large air pump to properly refill my tires. With around 5 bar in the wheels again, it rolled so well again.
But shortly afterwards the really dusty part of this day began: the road was turned into a construction site for many kilometers, the roadway was milled and reduced in width, the substructure was expanded on the right and left, and some were newly created. Now I was an obstacle for trucks that only passed me when there was no oncoming traffic. I got really big so that nobody tried. The drivers can’t help it either, but if such a wide truck drives in front of me and burrows in the dirt with its big wheels, then I have to swallow the dust.
Luckily, I was able to switch to a smaller road ahead of time and, like in another world, I drove towards Chachoengsao much more relaxed.
It is also a larger city, which I then reach after 78 kilometers that day. Rice is grown again in the wide landscape, which is crossed by many canals.
For the next two days, routes 304 and 359 were mostly expressways in my direction, which I could avoid only partially. It was actually pretty easy to drive on these fairly straight roads, since the wind now comes from western directions and pushed me well here. In addition, the traffic on Route 359 was significantly less than the day before on 304.
The landscape has now become much more barren and drier, a lot of sugar cane is grown and this afternoon, before I reached Sa Kaeo, I could see black columns of smoke standing over two fields. As in Africa, the fields are burned to make it easier to harvest the sugar cane. The region is relatively sparsely populated, restaurants or comparable micro businesses have become rare in villages, and even more so outside of them. But what people have, they offer you.
In the afternoon heat I had a big appetite for an iced coffee, tea or at least a cool coke and at a restaurant that was separated from the street by a narrow ditch, I disturbed the lady of the house from her afternoon rest in front of an old-fashioned television, which ran outside in the shade, and asked for a cola, since coffee or tea were not very likely. I also got it and a glass of shredded ice, too. I hadn’t even seen her husband in the shade on the bench next to her simple chair. But he obviously woke up and came to me and added a packet of toasted bread to me, apparently the only thing his kitchen could offer at the moment. A nice gesture, I thought by me.
The Chinese New Year is now over and many small fireworks were lit this morning around the motel where I stayed. In each case a small carpet of firecrackers that rattle and closes with two loud firecrackers. The birds in the surrounding area always feel terrified. I had heard something like this already in several mornings here in Thailand, but never as massive as this morning.
In Sa Kaeo I am now shortly before the border to Cambodia and in the evening I eat typical Thai again, have Pad Thai made and also let prepare a delicious, spicy papaya salad with seafood in a mortar.