A Missive From Pai

Trip Start Jan 21, 2009
Trip End Mar 20, 2009

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Friday, March 6, 2009

I am loving my stay in Pai so very much. This morning on email, Ellen said, "AN you have to leave sometime." I could easily stay here until I need to go to Bangkok to fly back home. In a typical day, it costs only about 1000 BT (about $33) for food, lodging, and a massage or yoga class. The young travelers live for much less, quite easily.

My quandry of the day is whether to venture out to a new place to eat, since I have a handful of places I really like already. I eat vegetarian, although I did have some "red ant eggs" recently; they are a delicacy and were actually very tasty. For fellow travelers, I must mention that Na's Kitchen has absolutely the freshest and most delicately seasoned, best Thai food I have eaten in Thailand. There are still many things on Na's menu that I want to try. TKK, The Thai Kabob has the best breakfasts, Israeli salads and falaful this side of the Middle East. The Flour Bakery, same owners, makes great sandwiches to go for trekking, roadtrips and picnics to the waterfalls or hot springs. There is Dal (indian lentil curry) and delicious iced Chai with Goats Milk on the wooden tables along the street near 7-11, in front of the Muslim fishing tackle shop (that is how it is known). I stop in at the fresh orange juice stand every day. The small orange-greenish tangerines hand squeezed for me look like the real fruit I remember as a child. Very different from the genetically engineered, waxed and sprayed large round things we eat in the USA today.

Yesterday, I took a lazy bamboo river raft trip down the Pai River for 2 hours. It is the dry season so the river is very low and the scenery is uninspiring. I saw industry on the river that redefines the word "industrious." There were metal boats every few meters, each filled with metal buckets. 2 to 4 people were standing in the river at each boat, sifting gravel, and medium and large river stones from heaps of river bottom mud. The laborers fill the buckets with the stones and sell them for 5 Baht (pennies) apiece. The sun was very hot and I marveled at the work ethic of the pickers. I know that if they don't do this work, perhaps their family won't have any rice to eat that day.

And I think deciding "where and what" to eat is my big decision of the day. I have said this before and I will say it again. Traveling this way makes me so very grateful for the bounty in my life. Yes Ellen, you are right. I have to leave sometime. I am working on it, and smiling!
Love, Nancie
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