Yesterday was rough. Driving all day in freezing cold, with freezing rain, and wiping out on ice may have been my worst travel experience.

I was always planning to spend a day in Muang Hiam, which turns out to be a rather grim place. Maybe it’s nicer in the summer. It’s a town with restaurants and guesthouses, but it’s very small, consisting of only one muddy street. Buildings are wooden and rustic. It has a gritty frontier feel to it.

The town itself is not interesting. But there are some roads that would be fun to explore. One goes to Vietnam, 100 km away. I figured I would walk around in the morning, and ride around in the afternoon.

Village in the winter.
Village in the winter.

But my plans were immediately scuttled. It was freezing cold again. I figured I could still walk around a little in the cold. But when I went outside I saw it was raining. I sure wasn’t going to walk around in cold rain.

So I went to the weird restaurant that has an English menu and glass doors. Everything else is open to the freezing air. Despite being enclosed, it was still freezing inside. I had an omelette and a terrible coffee, and sat there reading the news for an hour. A truck with a red cross logo delivered emergency fire wood.

It was still raining when I finished the news. There was nowhere else to go. So I went back to my freezing room and got under the covers. I read for little. I napped. It was boring.

Beautiful view.
Beautiful view.

For lunch I went out in the rain to the noodle shop next door. The lady didn’t have a menu or speak English. I only know a couple dishes. She didn’t have khao pat. She did have pho.

After pho I warmed myself at her fire for a little. Everybody seems grumpy and is just huddled around fires outside. I can’t say I blame them.

I went back to my room and got under the blankets again. More reading and napping. The power was out. It was still out at 4. I went downstairs and the guesthouse lady gave me a candle. Power is out everywhere.

It's too cold to look at waterfalls.
It’s too cold to look at waterfalls.

I went back to the weird glass restaurant for dinner, but they were having a dance party, so they didn’t have food. I had more pho instead at a Vietnamese restaurant. I warmed myself at her fire. I bought some snacks, then warmed myself at their fire. Then back to my dark, freezing room.

It was a really cold, uncomfortable, boring day. It is supposed to get warmer tomorrow, so I will hit the road.

Another lovely valley.
Another lovely valley.
I'm Terry, former cubicle-dweller, and now traveler, photographer, writer, and entrepreneur. I quit my job in 2014 to travel to US national parks, then to South East Asia. I write about independent, flexible, long-term, budget travel. Sign up to my newsletter to get the latest news on what I'm up to. I hope you join me on my trek around the world.

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