I woke up in my peaceful bungalow to the sound of roosters sounding the morning alarm. With a moped in my possession I planned to explore the lands around Pai to see what hidden treasures awaited me. I had been messaging my friend Ignacio to see if we could meet up for the day but communication through WiFi alone can be quite unreliable. So with that in mind, I had no choice but to ride the dusty roads of Thailand by myself which I was completely content with. After filling up on some water and snacks at the ever-present 7/11, I stopped at a nearby restaurant for a quick breakfast. Just when I was about to order, I saw Ignacio and the two Spanish girls sitting at a table just across the way. Reuniting once again, I joined them to a nearby waterfall. To get to the waterfall we had to essentially hopscotch to and fro across a stream that ran the length of the entire trail, forcing us to balance on a variety of rocks and logs to gain clearance to the other side. The trek was much longer than I expected, lasting well over five and a half hours but the trail brought us through some beautiful spots in this Thai forest. We ran across so much bamboo intermingling and leaning against one another with some forming corkscrew twists in nature’s own interpretive display of art. The hike was incredible, certainly what I expected and hoped for in Northern Thailand, but I had a difficult time appreciating the views with my constantly nagging headache. The waterfall itself was powerful in its own right with this time of year being the dry season as it surged down three levels of falls. After completing the entirety of the trek, I left them at their hostel so that I could forge on, wanting to take advantage of what little daylight I had available to me in this first official day with my baby, my moped. Peeling away at the pavement, letting the engine roar (if a moped engine can roar), I cruised out of the city and onto the highway reaching speeds upwards of 80 km/h (50 mph). That speed may not sound like much but when you are strapped to a piece of old Asian metal and the wind is hitting you in the face while coursing through your hair, you feel every bit of those k’s. I don’t know if I ever felt more alive than in that moment. The sun was setting and I could see its hazy orange hues fading past the mountains in the distance. With the last rays of light coming from that giant orb, I could see many rice fields spread all about. This place, this feeling is what I long awaited for when the dreams and visions of Southeast Asia danced in my head. Like a drug addict getting his first hit, I was hooked. After getting back into town I needed some nourishment in the form of soup. Walking down the road, I ran into the three girls from the U.K. I joined them and consumed two bowls of soup myself, needing to kill this bug in any way I could. Before long after chatting our fair share, I left them to make tonight an early night to get a proper night’s sleep, an act prolonged for far too long. Tomorrow brings a full day of riding and more by way of a three hour plus round trip journey to Lod Cave, the cave of all caves.
Thailand Day 62: A Real Thai Trek