Saturday, March 01, 2008


Day: 155
Sukhothai to Si Satchanalai
Time: 3:29
Distance: 56.80 km
Avg Speed: 16.2 kph
Terrain: Flat

We rolled out with the morning rush to work and school. We cruised out of town with the usual cadre of office gals on mopeds, mother and children on mopeds, school kids on mopeds, little old ladies with veggies on mopeds, monks hitching rides on mopeds and us on bicycles. You really don’t see a lot of bicycles until later in the day when the older people who tend to ride them come out and start making their rounds. We are always given our room and are told hello or saw wat dee by the passenger.
The road was flat for most of the day today. We have graduated from rice paddies to fields of corn, bananas, tobacco and sugar cane. The sugar cane is used to make Mekong whiskey, which is sold in bottles at a lot of road side stands. I haven’t had the gumption to give that a go yet. The tobacco was still in the fields, but we did see a drying barn with the drying racks all filled up with product getting ready to go to market. I am not sure if it goes abroad or is used locally for cigarettes. The sugar cane harvest is underway and there were trucks packed to the rafters with the canes and we even passed a field that had been recently burned with laborers cutting down and bundling it all. Imagine working in long sleeves and pants, bent over, swinging a sickle, covered in soot and sweating in 95˚F heat…tough stuff if you ask me. They were nice enough to harass us a little and ask if we wanted to come work when we stopped for a picture.
We finally rolled into Si Satchanalai and were on the prowl for the only place in town to stay. Wang Yom Resort was described as ‘having rustic, worn bungalows just outside of the old city’. What the guide book didn’t mention is that Wang Yom Resort looked like the sugar cane field…BURNED. It took us a second to register it, but the little lady across the street selling wares told us she knew a place to stay nearby. I thought that we were in for a wild goose chase, but she took us to a little house down the street that is set up for homestays. We have a two room suite with bathroom, a/c and shower (hot water too…yeah) right down the street from some major ruins. Our host, Papong, was falling over herself getting the room ready for us when we said we would take it. This area was known for its pottery and it was once exported across Asia. Our outer room has a beautiful display of local pottery that has just blown me away. The plates and kettles are simple with intricate paint and glaze on them. They even have a little tea kettle with rooster tail and head on either side of it. I figure my mom would give her middle child for that one.
We will check out more ruins on our way out of town tomorrow before we start heading into the hills.

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