Pai is the Boulder of Thailand. Tons of hippies with dreadlocks milling about, lots of coffee shops. Oddly, not very good coffee anywhere yet.
We left Chiang Rai early on the 3rd, to head to Chiang Mai. Earlier than we wanted to, but the 7:55 was full, and we had to take the 6:15. Note: as soon as you know when you want to travel, book that ticket. We only booked the day before, and we should have gotten the ticket the day we arrived. We are trying to have a loose construct around the travels, with some things in stone, the rest fairly flexible. As a “planner” this part was a little hard at first, but it’s getting easier.
After a short layover at the Chiang Mai bus terminal, we board a van to Pai. I had read that it’s a super twisty drive, but hey, we’re from Colorado, we know twisty roads through hills. Yeah, what-ev. Consider this: It’s 90 kilometers from CM to Pai, and it takes 3 hours. If all roads were equal, that’s going 18 mph average. But, the first hour or so we were moving pretty well, then the last 2 were amazingly slow and twisty. The scenery was beautiful, and we had the luck of sitting in the only seat with a window that opens, so I was able to enjoy the view and have some fresh air.
The night before, I was able to FaceTime with some friends while packing and enjoying a little vodka cocktail with mascerated local strawberries. I was feeling a little bit of a sore throat, but really didn’t worry about it. After little sleep, and 2 buses, it’s official, I feel like crap. We find and check into our guesthouse in Pai.
I’m feverish, congested and achy, so I’m quickly in the bed of our very spartan room. Brent goes out to explore and bring back snacks, and I try to sleep, which is hard when you’re congested. It’s also near impossible when there’s a rooster crowing outside your window all night long. ALL NIGHT LONG, every few minutes, it was madness. The owner of this guesthouse was a super nice lady, she took a little off the price of the room, but understood that we could not stay there any longer, and we moved down the street to a similarly spartan accommodation for less than half the price. I went straight to bed- no rooster. Any noisy thing that happens now, it can’t be as bad as a constantly crowing rooster inches from your head.
So, I slept most of the 5th, which was King Rama IX’s 85th birthday. The people love him here- there’s even a tv channel dedicated to songs about how much he loves and cares for the people, and how much they love him. There were fireworks, and this sleepy town of about 3,000 was transformed into a giant night market, with food, dance, festivities, it was really quite impressive. Many of the people from the hill tribes come down for it.
I apologize for not having more pics, but I was incapacitated. Brent went out in the world and had this excellent green curry.
He declared it the best he’s ever had. I’ve noticed that I love green curry here. I always order the Penang in the states, but the green curry has never failed to satisfy, and I’m obsessed with the Thai eggplants in it. I have to admit that his pic looks pretty good. I can’t believe that unsolicited, he took a picture of his food!
I rallied for dinner, and only managed to take a picture of this very sweet dog. He’s sitting there because the woman keeps feeding him. Duh. He’s very gentle about taking the food from her. We had green papaya salad and a noodle dish, bit all I get is the dog. Figures.
For breakfast we hit a place on a back street, which has only Asian customers, other than us, of course. Here’s the chalkboard, conveniently translated into English. Brent got the green curry rice, which was loaded with veg and really pretty. I should have grabbed a pic, but something tells me that we will be back.
Back to the flexibility- since I missed the first 2 days of being here, we’ve pushed our stay here to the 9th. I’m looking forward to exploring more, doing some hikes, etc in the area. Here’s the view from the cafe we are sitting in, enjoying a drink and excellent internet
Last for this post, the deep fried insects cart.