After eating a delicious breakfast fruit bowl of mango, watermelon, papaya, pineapple passion fruit, avocado (yes, avocado), yogurt, and muesli (for 50 baht no less), I took the long tiring road to the bus station. I began to get extra bitchy since carrying that pack for any length of time is pain in the arse but then again I should be glad I am carrying that pack versus the many other things I could be doing right, such as working. So keeping things in perspective is invaluable. I boarded a minivan of all things for the journey to Pai, which apparently is a growing mode of travel in Thailand. Until the road got extra windy through the mountains, I chatted with a Thai guy who was extra curious about America and Hollywood movies and probably just wanted to practice his English, which I am always more than willing to do. The road had so many curves and switchbacks that my stomach began to churn but fortunately I was able to keep it together but the same could not be said for the Thai. The three girls that I went whitewater rafting with in Chiang Mai were in the minivan as well, so when we got into Pai I tagged along. After looking at many guest houses and hostels we came up with the arrangement to get two bungalows for two persons each so that we could live the luxurious life for a couple nights at 200 Baht per night (6 U.S. dollars). After eating some green curry, we walked around town to familiarize ourselves and I found it to be mostly what I expected. Pai is very hippy, full of dreadlocked, tie-dyed tourists and locals looking to get away from the big city and relax in the comforts of nature and peaceful way of life found so far north in Thailand. For me, Pai feels very much like home, like Athens, Ohio where I spent a few years of my life for school. Unless you looked outside the town, you would have a difficult time picturing Pai as a Thai city. Pai is a breath of fresh air from what I have seen so far in Thailand. The craziness and crowded streets of Bangkok and Chiang Mai need to be seen but my heart and soul lies in the mountains and the quiet escape of these sleepy towns filled with people in not so much of a rush. Needing to take care of some business, we separated and I went to the motorbike shop to look into renting one myself. I have never ridden a motorbike or moped before in my life but I am here traveling for a reason, to experience new and exciting things. Renting a motorbike is very cheap and easy in Thailand, to the tune of 200 Baht (100 baht per day rental, 40 insurance, and 60 to fill an entire tank) and no need to have a motorbiking license. I just got a moped 100 cc which will have enough power to get me to where I need to go. Being a rookie to the world of bikes, I had no idea how to start the blessed thing. After some pointing and guidance from an employee I got moving. Unfortunately for me and all of Pai, my first experience riding meant navigating through the walking street where many unsuspecting pedestrians lay in my motorized path. Somehow I got out alive without producing any roadkill and then from there filled up on gas so that I would revved up and ready to go for tomorrow’s adventures. I can now say I have ridden a vehicle in three continents (New Zealand with the off-kilter Maori, Thailand, and of course the U.S.). After getting back to the bungalow, the four of us went to explore some of the foodie options on walking street, the main place to be in Pai. For me personally, I got a bamboo tea cup about a foot long in which I could get refills of various herbed teas including honey lemon, lemongrass, ginger, etc. When we sat down to chat I had the opportunity to teach them one of my favorite card games and apparently more of an American favorite, Euchre. I would like to say I finished out the night quite strongly but the cold I have been experiencing has gotten the best of my immune system.
Thailand Day 61: Pai, The Hippy Side of Thai