Leaving Pai early to avoid the heat as much as possible I made my way up the mountain. It was a long first and second gear grind with a little bit of third and forth occasionally. This was the first time I used my ipod in the morning, usually preferring to get a couple of hours in before using outside assistance. I needed something that would last at least a couple of hours so I chose a selection of classic tracks that I had put together some time back. In certain circumstances timing is everything. It seemed so today.

The moon was still shining high as I left the town and started climbing. As I looked up and saw the full moon I heard The Waterboys and The whole of the moon. A bit of a coincidence but nothing more. Its a long way to the top I thought as Ike and Tina Turners rendition of River deep mountain high made me smile. A drop down the hillside again and rounding a bend I saw three bridges ahead of me crossing three separate streams. It can't be just coincidence I thought as Jimmy Cliff started singing Many river to cross, but we'll see. Bridges usually tell you you are in a valley and another climb is going to come soon. Just around the corner it started in time with Peter Gabriel singing Solsbury hill. Once I reached the top I had about 5 - 6 kilometres of flattish road before the descent. It was here that I started spinning just as Brian Eno and John Cale sang Spinning away. This was getting weird. Now up until this time the clouds had been constant, the first time this has happened so far on the trip. It was midday and the long descent towards the Chiang Mai plain started. The clouds then parted and The Beatles struck up Here comes the sun. Things were looking up until about an hour later when it became overcast again with thickening dark cloud. I should have known what was going to happen as Amii Stewart began to sing Knock on wood. It's not the title that had me worried, it was the lyrics - "Thunder, and Lightening". Sure enough the clouds parted and I was soaked within a couple of minutes.
When it rains here, it doesn't mess about. I pulled into the first hotel I saw and without looking at the room I took it. Big mistake. This is the first time I have been anywhere that does not have wifi. This includes cafes, restaurants, hotels, milk shake bars, tourist informations centres and tourist attractions, all free. Its not too much of a problem being unconnected for one evening though. At least there is a TV with at least one channel in English. The bathroom was a sorry affair, and the bed is the worst I have come across in my life, Springs covered in the thinnest material known to hotel owners. Good job I have my airbed. And not even the usual complimentary bottles of water ! Hot food was available just 10 metres away, which was going to be the first thing I did after a good long hot shower.
Then the lights went out.

The storm that had now been hammering down for about thirty minutes took its' toll on a tree next to the road and as it came down it brought the power lines with it. Adapt and overcome I thought. Put on my headtorch and have a shower. Wait a minute though, the shower is powered by electricity. Cold wash it is then. Not that big a deal as it's still warm enough to wear just shorts and T-shirt. With that done it was out for some food. Unusually for this country the street food stall was cooking by electricity instead of gas. I managed to get some still warm spicy pork and noodle soup. It was so hot to me that it was still burning my lips half an hour later. Back to the room and an early night with the ipod as the electricity had not yet been connected again. It was at this point that I should have checked the switch for the light. I woke up at some point and just as I opened my eyes the electricity was connected sparking the flourescent tube into life. That was a stark awakening I can tell you.

A new day dawns though and off I set once more with a light cloud covering and a hint of sun. I'm on the road again. The morning sun warmed me quickly and good time was being made. Unfortunately the clouds started gathering again in the afternoon. By 4 oclock they could hold out no more and I experienced a second day of rain. This time though I had taken refuge in an internet cafe. The first week or two I had been using them to avoid the sun, now it was to avoid the rain. Once the rain stopped it was a quick 10 km blast into Fang and this time a great hotel with great facilities all for the same price as the evening before. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. So far on this trip I have been winning. Let's hope it continues.
 





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