A very happy and heartfelt “End of the Fiscal Fourth Quarter” to you too, Krammit! [Phanom]

Our first day of riding started auspiciously enough with a one way nit noy but it started raining a bit before lunch and Danny bit it in a pothole at the bottom of a wet hill, bonking his elbow and chest and bending his bike frame. It so happened that one of the first passers-by was a volunteer fireman (or something?) so he jumped on his cell phone and within not too many minutes, two well-intentioned young men on a scooter showed up, carrying a plastic toolbox full of bandaids and buttoning their RESCUE shirts. They decided that his wounds were too serious for them so we all trooped half a mile through a rubber plantation to a clinic (co-pay: 30THB/$1) where they stiched him up and 37 mysterious friends showed up to take cell phone pictures. A sharkbanana was presented to the most helpful.

This is cliff country, specifically karst limestone, and except for the shockingly steep ascents in some places, looks as if you dumped a bunch of fertilizer on Honduras. Every village has a gilded wat and in between villages are rubber, teak, and palm oil farms–how convenient that I recently finished The Glass Palace. Every house also has its vicious dogs and children shouting “Hello!”. Lunch was exciting because it was the best fried rice I have had in forever served in a roadside stall with a nice monk watching muay thai at the adjacent table. The screaming of cicadas permeates everything.

The hotel was wow, wow, wow, nestled in a national park and surrounded by cliffs.

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