Today started as yesterday left off. After a breakfast of doughnuts and a fairly decent sleep I was in good spirits. Not much of note really happened for the first half of the day but the time passed easily.
After hitting 50 miles a few hills appeared which I hadn’t expected. They were nothing big but the road was constantly up and down, and this paired with the 40 degree heat really started to wear me down.
When I took my second stop at 75 miles it was obviously apparent that I was struggling, because a woman came over and offered me a pink hand-held fan – much to the amusement of a young boy.
After recovering and having my photo taken with a very smiley woman, I headed on my way for the final stretch which turned out to be slightly harder and more eventful than expected.
I had to turn off my pre-planned route towards Naypyitaw in order to find accommodation. Naypyitaw is the new capital of Burma… and it was all a bit odd. First, the road was hilly and I had a headwind, but I’ll gloss over that as it’s nothing new. The interesting part is the ‘city’. It’s been built with the future in mind so I ended up cycling on empty 8-lane highways. The traffic was minimal and there were more policemen – who were posted every few kilometres – than there were civilians. The extremely wide roads and lack of any real landmarks made it very difficult to know where I was and it was a real struggle to navigate. Luckily, the ‘hotel zone’ is near a golf course, and after lots of cursing at an unhelpful map I resorted to getting off my bike and miming a golf swing to a non-english speaking policeman to find out directions. I finally made it to a fairly decent hotel. I chose the cheapest looking one in the selection (all of which look completely empty) but it’s still a lot pricier than I expected to pay and a lot more than I was used to paying in India.
Today has – in general – been a good day although there have been a few drawbacks. First, the last 25 miles took longer than expected and I hadn’t eaten enough. Together with the heat, this meant I was really struggling by the end and my whole body has been cramping up all evening; which is not much fun. Also the pain in my hands has not subsided, despite new gloves. The skin on my palms has hardened but underneath that it’s tender and I’ve been getting pins and needles all day.
On the bright side, I think I’ve managed to sort out a place to stop at tomorrow, although the day after is still a bit of a question mark. For those who don’t know, the Burmese government restricts the places where foreigners are allowed to stay overnight – and camping is prohibited apparently. So much for carrying this damn tent all this way!
Oh and the food so far has been good. There is a mix of Chinese, Thai, Indian and sometimes western. So thankfully, so far, I have been able to steer clear of spicy food for dinner.
Distance: 102.15 miles / 165.1 km
Riding Time: 6:59:10
Av. Speed: 14.6 mph / 23.6 kph