I was dreading getting back on the bike. I really, really didn’t want to. It’s just going to be exhausting and wet. But staying in Dawei? Nah. But what was to come was quite bearable.
So at 1pm we were fed and checked out, back on the bicycles. Especially the beginning rolled down easily. Paved road, I was rested. People were waving, smiling and nodding at us. Beautiful.
Bad luck I don’t like the typical Burmese food as inu cold meat in some curry sauce with plain rice. Yan was very pleased. I was hungry. Knowing about the next day I would have been happier about the food I got.
We rode into the night. Restless roadside camping just out of Kyauk
Shat next to a river in a hot-humid tent with all of Yans clothing on a line in the feeble attempt to dry it and hardly enough water to wash ourselves. Dinner and breakfast were cold ramen noodles eaten as biscuits.
The eighth day of riding was finally getting to Yan who refused to have a rest day in Dawei. His mood was…. Well, he just wanted to be done with riding, get to Ye, get to a hotel, an air-con, a shower. No matter what. People offering bottles of water? No stopping for that.
At 30k I talked a shop keeper into fixing some rice vermicelli for us – she just had this very small store in a part of the front of her house and I assume we ate at her table. Her daughter washing some dishes for us.
When we rode on, I got a head start – but Yan is faster than I am so I didn’t worry. Until about half an hour into the ride. So I stopped. And waited. Fittled around with my phone. Waited a bit more. Filled up my water bottle. Waited a bit more. And waited. And waited. Wondering if I should go back? What if he passed me when I was taking pictures of the reclining Buddha earlier? I already waited there for about ten minutes but two men showing up made me feel a bit uncomfy so I rode on for a bit. Yeah, 30 minutes of riding, pus 45 minutes of waiting? Whatever issue there could be on his bike… he would have fixed it and caught up with me by now. He passed me at the Buddha – either not seeing me or not caring to stop – and is propably waiting at a restaurant down the road.
Nope. 15k later – still no Yan waiting or catching up whatsoever. Great. I mentioned the food situation earlier right? I decided to eat even though Yan would be further away if I stopped and finding him in Ye could become a hassle. So I stopped at a restaurant, put up my smiley-face and mimicked my wish for food. I was declined and they pointed further up the road. I smiled, nodded, rode to the next restaurant-like place, smiled, talked, mimicked. And got declined again….
Outside the village I stopped, considering myself lucky for having ramen noodles and coconut milk for a cold lunch. Yeah. What a feast. Not.
Next village, next restaurant. Some real food. Rice. Egg. Veggies. I stopped, put up my smiley-face and mimicked my wish for food again. Again – I was declined. Ok, next place. Bigger. Very, very restaurant-like. I stopped, put up my smiley-face and mimicked my wish for food. No such luck. Declined. Again. I mimicked drinking, pointing to the electric(!) fridge. Yes. I could have a drink. At least that.
The man next to me started a conversation with me. Where I started my tour, where I go to. And then – the one finger in the air. The sign for the question, if I was on my own.
That’s when I realized it. I was not in front of Yan. They haven’t seen him pass through. He is somewhere behind me. It’s been more than 20 hilly k since I’ve seen him… Not. So. Great.
He should have caught up with me by now. Ok, I wasn’t going slower as I assumed he was in front of me, but still – he is faster than I am, I stopped all these times…
Sipping my fizzy drink I watched the road – and there he was! Of all places – Yan, the atheist, went to service at a Baptist church in the middle of Burma. He was battered. And pretty happy to get a cold drink and some uncooked ramen.
Before us was a long climb up to the border between Mon and Karen state where I listened to George Orwells explanations what Burmese and Chinese think of the smell of White people. Which didn’t help me in feeling better as I was sweating my way up-hill.
We had a real passport-controlling check point and when we went up to take some pictures a group of wealthy Burmese travellers spotted me.
After checking into the finest hotel in Ye – and a shower -, we had dinner – no more uncooked ramen, but everything fried at one of these kopitam-style-places.