When we pulled up at the guest house last night 2 German guys came over. They were cyclists. Their Germanic keen eye had spotted our cycle panniers strapped to the back of Black Shadow and The Grey Nomad. We had a quick chat and agreed to join them later.
Over a beer we discussed routes, hills and of course food. they'd both been a bit sick so were taking it easy. One guy (lets call him Herman) was very nice and chatty whilst the other one (ok just to call him German?) hadn't really said anything and was busy blogging. Now I don't like to stereotype people but when German suddenly piped up with "We can eat in 4 minutes, it is now exactly 4 minutes to 7 o'clock" I just cracked up. For real? They ordered and when their plates of very plain spag bol arrived, we went off in search of something a little more authentic.
We thought we were doing ok. Our little waiter (like a teenage Thai version of Manuel from Fawlty Towers) took our order but somewhere in the translation from "Chicken Green Curry" to "Chikin Gwin ok?" we ended up with a plate of chicken wings. Kate didn't need to mention her disappointment, her face said it all.
2 minutes later a green curry did turn up, I looked over my shoulder to check if Basil or Sybil were about.
To make up for it though, whilst we were waiting, we'd finally found out what animal makes our favourite sound of SE Asia. We love the "cheep, cheep" of the little geckos but much prefer the rather un PC "Uck you" that we'd assumed was a frog. It also turned out to be a gecko but as the restaurant owner's torch revealed, a bloody big one, possibly 10-12" long and with an impressive girth to boot!
Black Shadow and The Grey Nomad were keen to rip up the tarmac, so by 8.30 the next day we were back on the road.
Kate was flying along, the Shadow's frame flexed and tyres scrabbled for grip as she threw the awesome machine into bend after bend. For inspiration (she admitted later) and to add flair to her riding she'd secretly been listening to Valentio Rossi's autobiography on her iPod! Taking no chances on the tortuous road, she'd also taken the trouble to don her fully approved safety shawl.
Will piloted the Nomad with his usual skill & grace and was hot on her tail but with the wind resistance caused by his unfeasibly large helmet, he never really stood a chance of keeping up....
We did both manage to get past this guy who was taking no chances on running out of petrol.
By lunch we arrived at the town of Mae Hong Son where we discovered that this road isn't know as the "road of 1000 bends" but actually the "road of 1864 bends", well that is according to all the stickers, t shirts and fridge magnets that are on sale here.
It's hot outside (38 degrees, that's 100 for the oldies and Americans in the audience) so we've checked into another nice guesthouse had a shower and are about to make friends with the air conditioning unit but not we slather ourselves in this