Itching Like No Tomorrow - Unchained Melody - CycleBlaze

February 1, 2024

Itching Like No Tomorrow

Thung Wua Laen Beach to Chumphon

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Itching Like No Tomorrow

I thought they were bedbug bites on my legs, lots of them, big red blotches that were itching like no tomorrow.  I didn't see any evidence of bed bugs and there have been no mosquitoes for a long time, almost our entire trip!  It was perplexing as I tried not to scratch my legs off all night.

We left our really great little room not because we wanted to but because the sand was taking it over.  We had told the housekeeping women for the three days we were there that they didn't need to clean our room.   The women seemed overworked already and we really liked them.  But, funny thing about sand when you have a room right next to the beach, eventually everything starts feeling gritty.  The bed was even gritty!  I remember tenting on or near a beach and that was ten times worse but this was starting to feel like camping.  Actually our entire trip has felt a bit like we are camping in a way.  Maybe it's because of the type of rooms we normally have; kind of humble affairs.

Anyway, we didn't get an early start, not because we weren't up early.  There were just too many things to do.  I had to walk down to the water's edge and take photos of the sunrise - just had to.  Then, I had to upload a lot of photos to this journal because the internet is faster in the early morning but it still took time.  Then I had to peel and cut up two mangoes and a few tiny bananas for our breakfast.  And of course we had to sit on our little porch and enjoy our breakfast looking at the ocean and you don't want to rush that!  We had to greet and talk to the neighbor from Germany who always seemed starved for conversation.  And I had to clip my fingernails... again.  I'd like to know why fingernails grow at a greatly increased rate in hot weather.  It always happens over here and it's not like I'm taking calcium tablets every few hours, I'm not taking any because they weigh too much.  Seriously, if I had taken along 88 tablets of calcium it would have added well over a pound to my already overloaded panniers.  So, why do fingernails grow so fast here?  Andrea has the same thing going on.  We're constantly clipping our nails!  It's a crazy phenomenon.  And then I had to track down one of the employees here to get my 200 baht key deposit back.  The woman waved a 500 baht bill at me seeing if I would bite and give her 300 baht back.  No way, it was my turn to play that small bill game.  Even though I did have the change, I wasn't about to do it.  I have to keep my smaller bills.  But she took off somewhere looking for 200 baht and was gone a long time!  It's just nuts.  Imagine, all of you in the States, that whenever you gave a store owner a $10 bill it created a frenzy of searching for change: digging in pockets and purses, asking friends or neighboring business owners if they had change they could borrow.  It's a $10 bill!!  

So, we got the latest start of our entire trip so far - 8:45.  But it didn't matter because Chumphon, our destination, was only about 17 miles and a lovely ride too.  We immediately turned away from the ocean and rode on winding little roads through quiet jungly areas and areas filled with tall palm trees.  At a couple of places the road skirted calm, shallow bays. We heard lots of birds and were always on the lookout for hornbills because we are now in the deeper south.  We did see two of them flying the other day.  Spectacular birds. They like to munch on cashews but we haven't seen many cashew trees around here.  There was a fresh dead snake, #108 on the road which I actually stopped to take a photo of.  Normally I won't stop if they are a fresh kill because I dislike snakes so much that I never know if they are actually dead and if it started moving I'd freak out.

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Dead snake #108. Sorry, Bill, I'm not going to turn over a snake even using a stick for your easier identification. I just have a thing about snakes.
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Bill ShaneyfeltI understand...
Hard to tell, but might be a racer or vine snake of some kind based on the remains of the head and the slender body.
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3 weeks ago
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We're apparently not on the Royal Coast Road anymore but Thailand's Riviera?
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Yeah, no this is not a Riviera.
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This must be a durian.
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That reminds me that I totally forgot to tell you about a snake that nearly got tangled up in my bicycle.  It was way back in Laos on our hardest day of terrible dirt roads along the Mekong.  Suddenly, right in front of me a snake crossed the road.  It was moving very quickly and if the timing had been just a few seconds different we would have collided and it would have been ugly.  It wasn't a big snake, pretty small in circumference but fairly long.  It was a close call and we had enough that day to keep us occupied as it was.

Another thing I wanted to tell you about was that when we were at the place on the beach on Jan. 14th where my shoes were stolen by dogs, we walked down the beach to a restaurant for dinner and as we were eating we observed an incredible bird on the beach.  It was a rather large bird with an incredibly long beak that was a bit curved.  It must have been close to a foot long.  It would walk along on the hard sand beach and stuck its beak way down into small crustacean holes in the sand.  I wondered how long it took to evolve such a beak/bill but now that they have them how successful they are at grabbing meals.  It was fascinating to watch.  I Googled and found the bird.  It's a Far Eastern Curlew - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Far_Eastern_curlew

I didn't take this photo.
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Scott AndersonPretty bizarre. Just saw my first curlew of the year yesterday.
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2 weeks ago

I also read that the Far Eastern Curlew is an endangered species.  They winter in Australia with only a few coming to Thailand.   For us to see one of them was probably a pretty rare thing.  As we watched the bird it was certainly a rare thing for us.  Fantastic bill/beak. 

I'm telling you all these other related things because today's ride was so short and nothing much exciting happened along the way, just lovely jungle, birds, waterways, more fishing boats moored in a river and that dead snake.  Oh, there was a lone dok fai tree with their typical big poofy yellow flowers.  They are an ancient tree like gingkos.  I imagine dinosaurs enjoying the yellow flowers, putting them behind their ears and such.  They are funny trees in that the smooth trunk comes straight out of the ground with little to no evidence of roots flaring out at the base.  And the other thing funny about them is that they bloom in the winter after having lost all of their leaves.  I just don't know of trees that act like a dok fai where I'm from.  So, we kind of love dok fai trees.  And I love the color yellow.

The very cool Dok Fai tree.
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Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like a South American tree... which has become widespread. Gotta love those bright yellow flowers!


https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/430862-Cochlospermum-regium/browse_photos?place_id=6967
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3 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Bill ShaneyfeltYes, I think you are absolutely right. It's an odd tree, not so common in Thailand but they are always fun to see whenever we do find them.
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2 weeks ago
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When we were approaching Chumphon, which is a rather large town, bigger than any we have been in since Hua Hin I'd say, while stopped at a long light I posed the question to Andrea that maybe we should ride directly to Lotus's.  We needed more muesli and that is the only store that sells it.  We were so early that probably no hotel would want us checking in so early so we might as well kill some time.  She agreed and we stayed on the road we were on and went straight through Chumphon and out the other side to the far outskirts to Lotus's.  Andrea stayed in the heat with the bikes and I went as fast as I could on a muesli mission.  I was not able to be as fast as I wanted to be because that particular Lotus's was the biggest one I'd ever been in.  I finally figured out all the food was upstairs! I had never experienced a Lotus's with an upstairs.  I walked about ten miles inside that store but finally we were back on the same road headed back into Chumphon with enough muesli for three or four weeks but we only have a couple to go.   

When we were trying to navigate through Chumphon to find our hotel, Nana Buri Hotel, we made a wrong turn and passed an older woman's tiny restaurant.  She had amazing looking tray food in front of her restaurant and I had to stop to try some.  It was so delicious.  I kept telling Andrea, "This is real Thai food."  And the woman was sweet as could be too.  I always trust these older women who cook this stuff because they have been doing it since they were teenagers.

We haven't been eating lunches for a long time but when I saw this woman's trays I had to have some. It was excellent and she was so sweet.
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We had never been to the Nana Buri Hotel and were not completely sure of the price or what it was like.  Once inside the lobby I immediately thought it would suffice and got a room sight unseen, very uncharacteristic of me.   It turned out the room was fine, a bit overpriced but there was that potential of a good buffet breakfast which, if true, would go a long way in making the room price of $23.50 worth it.  It was in a great location in the center of town, a town which Andrea and I have always liked.

The view from our room at the Nana Buri Hotel. It's a far cry from a beach scene but we like that it's set way back from the street.
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This was next to the elevator of our hotel.
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Once in the room I suddenly remembered that Frank Roettgen once mentioned bites he had in this same part of Thailand so I searched through one of his journals on CycleBlaze and sure enough, he had been bitten by a lot of sand flies on the beach we had just been at.  Mine sounded exactly like his.  The bites took many hours to start itching and then created big red blotches that lasted for days or weeks.  That most certainly is what I have and not bed bug bites.  Thank you Frankie.  It's here in his journal, https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/frank2017indochina/day-70-thung-wua-laen-beach-chumphon/ 

All of my bites are on my legs which is good because my legs are the toughest part of me and I will be more able to handle the itching there.  It's just another opportunity for practicing non-attachment.  The bites have been itching like no tomorrow but I don't want to be attached to the itching anymore and I want there to be a tomorrow for that buffet breakfast.  I'm ready to be attached to that buffet breakfast.

lovebruce

Today's ride: 22 miles (35 km)
Total: 1,091 miles (1,756 km)

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Gregory Garceau"The Dinosaur with the Yellow Ear Flower" . . . great image. In my mind I see it as a Vermeer painting.
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3 weeks ago
Ron SuchanekTo Gregory GarceauI even photoshopped a dinosaur with a yellow flower behind it's ear, but sadly (or not), there's no way to post it in the comments. So much art suppressed.
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2 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Ron SuchanekI'm with you. So much art suppressed. I'd love to see your dinosaur.
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2 weeks ago