I arrived in Pai aboot a week and a half ago now, took the 4hr (but only 120 km) bus ride of very winding mountainous roads with an aussie bloke from the hostel that was going the same way. I arrived there and absolutely loved it.. very small with a few main streets, lots of hippies, a river, lots of shops and lots to do in and around the area. Found myself a bamboo hut to stay in across the river away from the streets and hoop-la...very basic but lovely with a mattress, mosquito net, my own loo and wee bamboo porch out front.. can't complain for 200 Baht/night ($6.30 or 3.15 pounds)
. Anyways so me and the same aussie bloke rented motorbikes for a couple days (100B/day - crazy cheap!) and scooted around, saw some waterfalls, hotsprings... local villages and the beautiful scenery! Went for an elephant ride...they aren't the most comfortable animal i have ridden but not the worst either..felt sorry for the poor thing, didn't seem too interested in going for a walk. AT the end, we took a bath/ride with the elephant in the river...as the elephant continued to sit down and stand back up again and again in the river... i continuously to fall off or get thrown off as the stupid foreigners (me) are supposed to do. It was good fun though!
That night i went for a wee wander, there was a free music carnival but not much happening so was on my way home (aka the hut) aboot 9pm as i was very tired maybe from all the elephant riding and this mad (in a good way) Malaysian hippie stopped me, maybe i looked down or bored and said i couldn't possibly be going home.... he seemed like a laugh so i decided to go along for the ride (must seize the moment when traveling) and followed him to this Raggae bar. And certainly glad i did..talk aboot seize the moment!! ...never exprienced a bar like it and i suspect i never will. It was brillant!! Everyone and by everyone i mean aboot 10-15 peeps, is sitting around a fire and everyone introduces themselves and makes me feel very much at home, amongst friends right away and it really was like that
. People bring their drums, guitars and sing their own personal tunes..solo or amongst others... the owner is one of them. Live music was advertised but like no other bar...the patrons provide it themselves.. very happily tho which makes it so special and personal and friendly. Entertainment was also provided, again by the patrons - I got to play with Poi finally!! I have loved poi for years when i first saw it in SAn Fran but never had a chance to experience it for myself much and i love it!!! Some might say i'm addicted, just have to find a set for myself now. What is poi you ask??! "Poi is a form of juggling, or object manipulation with balls on ropes, held in the hands and swung in various circular patterns, comparable to club-twirling" So i was very happy needless to say drinking beer, sitting by the fire, listening to everyone's music, playing with my poi!! I had a very surreal night and truly appreciate it!! Life is all too simple - just great company and great atmosphere! I returned the next night for a repeat...
After that i'm afraid..it started to go downhill rapidly. It's a shame cuz i had so much more that i wanted to do in Pai but my time was up sort of speak. I got very sick all of a sudden and was constricted to my wee bamboo hut that i did love, for 5 days and 5 nights, moving was a real struggle, needless to say my love for my hut quickly disappeared
. It's so interesting as how your experience depicts your impression of a place immensely... i was beginning to hate pai even though i had enjoyed it so much just cuz i was having such a miserable time there and was beginning to struggle mentally a bit...the place hadn't changed, still fabulous, just my situtation and the place takes the brunt of it unfortunately...that's why i always have to experience each place for myself - cuz everyone's experience is always completely different! Anyways once i mustered up enough energy and was able to keep food and such in my body, i made the long winding bus ride back to here, Chiang Mai to see a doctor and found out i had gastroenteritis. So here i am.. feeling much better, thank you but still taking it easy and just trying to get my energy back. I'm treating myself to a cheap hotel with a pool and air con and tv...just waiting anxiously for my dizziness to subside and my energy spirt!!
My Thailand visa runs out in a week (you only get a 4 week visa on arrival) so i will be on the move within a week and very anxious to do so... looking forward to more adventure, new places, new people and new fullfilment! Til then just chillin like a villain...
So I am not actually in Pai as i write... i am back in Chiang Mai unfortuantely. I had a wee bit of a debacle in the lovely wee town of Pai - i got sick! Hence the delay between entries..so sorry. But let's not begin there as it's not very interesting and certainly don't want to use that as entertainment for you folk kind enough to read this.