This morning we woke up to a slight rain and headaches…both of us…The headaches could have been the Carlsburg beers that were consumed like water after yesterday’s long ride. They could have been caused by the blasting cold air conditioning when the unit was switched on or to sweltering, stuffy heat of our hotel room when the unit was switched off Or, It could just be that the first week of traveling by bicycle had finally taken it’s toll.
But we weren’t going to let a few headaches slow us down. Well, actually, that’s not entirely true. We might have grabbed a few more hours of sleep, but our tour guide Rickee was knocking on our door promptly at 7:00 am as promised, which left us no option but to put on our happy faces and roll out the door.
After our last Malaysian breakfast of roti canai and a large, extra milky, extra sweet cup of coffee milk for breakfast, we started rolling. Our first stop was Changlun on the very busy E1 highway where we had what Eric likes to call our “after breakfast.” This after breakfast was a plate of noodles with pork for me and a nasi lemak for Eric. I guess he wanted one last helping of anchovies, hot chili paste and rice for the road.
At the same Chinese restaurant, we also got our Thai immigration documents and changed our Malaysian ringgits into Thai Bhat. If we’d wanted Thai car insurance, a hotel room, or a taxi ride to Thailand, we could have done those things, too. The owner of this shop was quite the entrepreneur.
Leaving Malaysian immigration was a bit of a problem for me as, apparently, the Immigration officer at Kuala Lumpur International Airport just had a look at my resident visa and didn’t notice that it had expired and didn’t get me an entrance stamp. So…I looked like a visa overstay. But, with some explaining and the help of our friend Rickee who could speak Malay to the office,r the situation was rectified, a stamp (“chop” as they call it here) was put in my passport with both the entrance date of one month before and the exit date of today.
Traveling just meters past the border brought us to Dannok , Thailand. Imagine the sleazy parts of Las Vegas and the Red light district of Amsterdam combined. There are smoking buses, whizzing fast scooters, horns, power cables dripping from building to building, food hawkers, massage parlors, girlie shows, etc. Rickee calls it the “No moon city.” Hopefully, our hotel is just enough off the crazy main drag to afford us a bit of sleep.
A highlight of the day was trying to communicate with the hotel receptionist about our dirty bag of laundry. After much body language, she figured out that I wanted it washed, I didn’t want it ironed, and I didn’t want to do it myself. Within minutes a nice lady roared up on a motor scooter, dumped our laundry on the floor of the hotel lobby and proceeded to count the soggy underpants, bike shorts, sweat rags, and sports bras in front of everyone. She then promised to return it by 6 pm for only 200 Bhat. ($5.00) A steal, I thought.
Aside from that I made a new friend, the hotel receptionist. She’s 55, has 4 children, and has sore shoulders. (At least I think that was her body language said.) We did high five each other and smile for the selfie.
All this fun and it was only 3:00 pm…the Thai foot messages and facials made for a wonderful end to the day.