I guess that if your body tells you to stop, there's not really much point in arguing. I certainly got that message yesterday. When i woke this morning, my right thigh, where it had been cramping for the last 20km yesterday, was tender, tender, tender. It seems a little weird, that having cycled over 17,000km, repeating the exact same motion for over nine months, suddenly I've got an "injury". Mind you, it wasn't the only part of the body that was screaming......
But I was hungry, and very thirsty. I very slowly lowered myself down the stairs, and crossed the road for food.......rice, or "bread", but this bread is similar to donut and very, very sweet. I cannot stomach rice this morning, so try a donut stick, called bread. It took me almost 30 minutes to eat, washed down with a litre of cold water. I cant manage the other stick.Then it's back upstairs for some meds, arnica, anti flam, and two hours sleep. I wake up hungry and thirsty.
Down the road to another restaurant. This time I go for the fried rice and vegetables, and water. I soak the water up, but only manage a quarter of plate of rice. I get it "to go". Two more hours sleep. Surely I'll be able to devour that rice now...... Nope. It rolls around in my mouth like a cow chewing it's cud. I bin at least half of the meal. I've gotta eat. Cross the road again to a little shop...and find real bread, and tins of tuna, packets of Anchor cheese....and litres of fruit juice. Oh my goodness. It's soooo goood to have real food. After half an hour I have to go back to the shop for more. I'm on the way to mending.
The second night I sleep a lot better. My body is not cramping every time I move, and I'm full of food, but I'm still weak the next morning. Oh well, another rest day. I fill it easily, eating, looking for a bank, giving Fiona a clean up, looking for Internet, napping, and reading my book.."Emergency Sex", a great read, put together by three people who volunteered for the UN in the 90s. I recommend you have a look. Unfortunately I finished the book, and now have nothing to read. My Kindle has been corrupted, and now has only books in Chinese text.
Three nights and two days doing nothing but eat and sleep, and I'm finally feeling like I might manage some kms on the bike. I've got a town to aim at, about 55km away. Its got a cool name, that I want to be able to include in my trip log, and if I'm extra lucky it might even have a Guesthouse. I eat, cheese, bread, and hot soup for breakfast. It's Sunday morning, but the smokey fires are burning, and everyone is up and zipping about on their scooters, but there are no big vehicles. Which is really great, because even though I'm following a main road, the tarseal is only really one lane wide, with wide gravel hard shoulders. However, the only real traffic once I'm out of town is bullock carts, loaded with hay, with the workers sitting atop.
The country is very dry, and the vegetation is very like Aussie bush, just without kangaroos, alive or dead. I cross a big bridge, over a completely dry river. Nothing but sand. It looks as if they are trying to farm some areas, but I've no idea what crops they have planted. There certainly won't be much growth until the wet season.
There's a junction that's not on the map. My instinct is to go straight, but locals are telling me I need to turn right, and most the traffic is going right, so I follow. It's a new road, following a ridge, and is pleasant riding. I come out at an intersection, and a group of women who are shaking stones in bowls, collecting donations for their temple (this week they've been outside every temple), stop me and harress me for a donation. I turn them down. I don't have any money under a $5 note. I ask which way to a Guesthouse....and they direct me up a hill. 3km later and I've found nothing. They've done the dirty on me. I have to backtrack. They all grin and cheer as I go past them again......cows. That's the first time on my adventure when I've missed a whole city. Never trust a woman you've refused to donate too.
A guy has stopped me and offers to help with directions. He rings an info Centre, gets a phone number for a Guesthouse, rings the Guesthouse, and the owner, Eric gives me directions. A few kms along the road, another scooter rider slows beside me. He's been sent by Eric to guide me. Love these people. I end up at Lei Thar Gone Guesthouse, which translates as Gentle Wind on Hill Guesthouse. It's along a small side road, set on a hill amongst village homes. Real Myanmar. Amazing.
Eric is a very special person. He is a retired Burmese Engineer. All the profits from his Guesthouse, which is very posh, go towards the running costs of a Foundation that runs an Orphanage and School for local orphans. Eric set up the orphanage, the school, the guesthouse, and this week, with the help of staff and volunteers, has opened a Western/Myanmar Resturant. An amazing man. He is also training unemployed locals to run all the enterprises. But he can't do it all alone. So here's a challenge for you.....
Why not come and visit Myanmar? While you're here, why not come and do some volunteering for Eric? What are you good at? What are you keen to try? If you can speak English, German or Japanese you could help the kids with these languages. Got "health" skills? Come and make use of them. Handy about the place? Perhaps you can get involved teaching locals some skills.
If you're even just a bit tempted, give Eric an email. Tell him you heard about his work from Grum. Sounds like my sort of adventure....volunteering in central Myanmar.
Erics new website will be live soon...leithargoneguesthouse.com
Email Eric: ept. firstname.lastname@example.org