niedziela, 14 lutego 2016

Day 1

Chiang Rai – Mae Kon

I believe I’m still jet lagged, so don’t set off before 11am. Filled up with coffee, I ride 10 km to fill up on some breakfast in Chiang Rai. I follow my “Guide du Routard” suggestion and end up in a cheap but first-class dining facility “Oasis Vegetaurant”. Seriously, I think it is the best vegetarian food I have EVER had.

But the clock strikes 1pm, I oughta go. I leave the city for the Thai countryside. Since I do not know what to expect, I guess I’m just partially disappointed with the local views: concrete roads leading through… nowhere…. The only novelty, from my point of view, being the ride fields and hundreds of tiny house-like buildings scattered all across the farmlands.

After a solid hour of cycling, I have my first “wow” moment: Wat Rong Khun, aka the White Temple. In the middle of an empty sizzling land stands this white shining wonder, looking as if it came out of a fairy tale. Is it a palace? An enchanted castle? Turns out it’s a beautifully and masterfully crafted art exhibit in the form of a temple: truly astounding.

My host Tao mentioned it the day before and did not omit recommending visiting something of an opposite sort: the Black House, which is, in turn, a pitch dark museum. It’s getting late in the afternoon, so I hit the road. Thanks to internet maps, a point of interest pops up: Khun Korn Forest Park Waterfall. I’ve never seen a waterfall before, so I decide to go for it.

I finally veer off the main road and get into the tropical forest: with palms, tall trees, lianas and eye popping green. After 2 hour-worth of climb, I get to the park entrance but, to my surprise, I am not allowed to go in, as the park closes its door at 6pm. My attempts at negotiating myself in come to naught. In the last bid to reignite a humane response to my obvious misery and self-pity, I sit down at the gate with my bike and pout. No understanding whatsoever. The guard laughs (?) at me and takes a photo (of me!). A Caucasian girl on a bike in the middle of nowhere must sure be a sight for eyes. I relinquish after what seems to be a whole session and slowly retire to a guest house a downhill-ride away.

Km: 43.65 km
Tm: 2:32 h
Av: 17.1 km/h
TOTAL: 43 km

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