We had nine days to cycle to Vientiane, Laos. On the 9th day Winston would return to Bangkok for the weekend. He had a second date planned with the Thai flight attendant from tinder, the pretty girl who’d asked him to put in his ass on the first night. From that night of anal lust onward, he’d been in love.
We left Pattaya at 2pm, a very late start after breakfast by the pool.
Outside the city we saw a lake and I wished we’d bought the cheap foldable fishing poles we saw in Bangkok.
Girls waved and called to us from the Happy Day Bar across the street. We stopped there for a beer.
Up close, they were disappointingly ugly. Too ugly to find work in the city. I watched the only other customer, an old biker, as he left, expecting him to ride out on a chopper. But he had a scooter.
We were riding up a small mountain when Winston suddenly stopped, got off his bike and walked down a dirt road towards a no trespassing sign. “What are you doing?” I asked. He didn’t answer. He stopped and hurled up the contents of his stomach. It was funny.
Our country road ended. Now we had to continue along on the shoulder of a highway, going up and down hills, with cars, trucks and scooters speeding past.
At one point I was riding in front of Winston, racing down hill, when there was a van parked on the shoulder ahead with no way around it besides riding on the highway. Instead of slowing down, I looked behind me and saw a big enough gap between me and the advancing cars that I could pedal fast enough to get around the van and back onto the shoulder before being ran over. I made my move, not considered cars behind those cars could be going much faster, pass them and be on my ass in no time.
Someone blasted their horn. I looked back. A red car upon me. It moved a lane over to avoid me, and I moved back onto the shoulder.
Winston, when catching up with me, asked, “Do you have a death wish?” From his view, I’d almost died.
We hit a busy intersection, backed up traffic. Cars inched forward and doors were opening to let out families who entered a market. We nervously squeezed between the cars, hoping no one would open a door on us.
Winston watched the bikes while I went in the market and returned with fried chicken. Then Winston went in. I ate my chicken, my hands becoming regrettably greasy. And after a few wings and breasts I felt sick, so I threw the rest to wild dogs.
I didn’t throw them the bones, though, having heard they can splinter off in a dog’s stomach. When I was in junior high my family had a chihuahua. The dog, when left alone on the patio, would yap, yap, yap, annoying the hell out of the neighbors. And one day someone threw a bucket of KFC over the patio, hoping to kill our adopted Mexican.
Winston returned with a bag of sliced pork and a plastic bottle of homemade whiskey. One dollar whiskey. We said we’d drink it tonight. For now, with an hour of daylight remaining, we needed to find a hotel.
A golf resort was not far away. Neither of us had ever stayed at one. The room was crazy cheap too. Forty dollars for us both.
We had to cross over the highway. A deep ditch split the two roads down the middle. Once inside the ditch, it was too steep to climb out of with the bikes. We’d lose our footing and slide back down.
I had to push the bikes up to him. Then we ran across and cycled on.
I lost Winston. He was far, far, behind me, creeping along with another flat tire, his third one so far. I rode on to check us in while he continued on foot.
The hefty woman behind the lobby desk said a room for two people was $85. I told her it was cheaper on bookings dot com. After a little while, as I waited outside for Winston, she came out and told me $65.
Winston made the reservation on his phone for $40. She retreated behind the desk, had a discussion with two others, and finally relented.
Our room was in another building on the other side of the golf course. Koreans taxied back and forth between the two on golf carts. We walked our bikes there, passing a driving range along the way. After that, a soccer field.
“If we had a football we could have thrown it around,” I said.
“Yeah, I could throw it in the bin.”
In the room, after showering and changing and trying to patch Winston’s tire, neither of us could bring ourselves to drink the $1 whiskey. Cowards we were.
The driving range was now closed. We played snooker. Winston knew the rules. Certain balls are worth points. It’s not fun. Winston finally won.
He tried to get me to watch more of Breaking Bad, the most overrated TV show ever.
“We have to go to bed early,” I said,”to hit some golf balls and do a lot of bicycling tomorrow.”
“How many times do I have to tell you we’re not bi’s who cycle? It’s cycling. Not bicycling.”