I arrived in Pai yesterday by way of minibus from Chiang Mai. I got in around 3 pm, and began my search for a place to stay. This city, which is really a small town of 3000, is packed with Thai tourists. It was the setting of a Thai romantic film in 2006 and since then, has become the holiday spot for Thais. It was described to me as laid back, full of fun things to see, and a good place to kill a few days. When I arrived, I killed a few hours walking with my pack on trying to find an open place. Everywhere was full! I finally got very lucky, and landed a bamboo hut next to the river for 200 baht a night. This is expensive for Pai, but I just needed to drop off my bags and get some food. These two missions accomplished, I began my standard walking tour of my area. I still find this is a great way to settle in to a place, and I generally meet people while I do it.
This time was no different, and after I had completed the circuit of my footprint (the area I can comfortably travel on foot) I passed a group of people sitting around in front of a small bar/cafe speaking English. I pulled up a seat and hit it off with them. There were three guys from Israel, a girl from Canada, and a girl from Australia. Two of the three guys were together, and the other had just met them that day. The whole group had met oat the bus station that day or the day before, and I settled in nicely. We had a fun night of wandering the town, and I made plans to meet up with Bonnie, the Canadian girl the next morning to ride motorbikes around.
We met up at 10:00am, but all the motorbikes were already rented in the whole town, so I had to fork over some extra cash and rent a bigger bike that was some sort of chopper. She hopped on the back and we took off for a full day tour of the mountains and surrounding area. We went to two waterfalls, a crazy canyon that was unlike anything I have seen, and had lunch with the best view I have ever had while eating fried rice. When we got back, we grabbed two beers and went down to the river to drink them. We sat on a bamboo bridge over the water and watched it get dark as people slowly drifted on bamboo rafts below us, occasionally getting stuck among the pillars of the bridge. When it finally got dark, we moved over to a camp fire that had been set up with pads around it, and spent a while just talking about randomness. She had a room that was huge, and she was only paying 150 baht a night, so I moved my stuff in with her and am now only paying 75 baht a night.
We met up with some people we had come to know, and got dinner, followed by a few hours at a live jazz bar set away from the main road. Today we decide to be lazy, and woke up around 11, before she went to lay by a pool, and I got a massage and went to the Internet cafe where I presently am. No plans for tonight, but tomorrow is New Years, and from the amount of flyers being past around, it should be an incredible time.
Oh, Update: I ran into Greg, the Canadian that I hung out with in Ton Sai. We had been planning to meet up in Laos, but it didn’t work out. He was walking down the street one night and I literally ran into him. So we have been hanging out some, catching up on th emonth since we have seen each other.