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Our Love of Pai

THAILAND | Tuesday, 7 February 2012 | Views [570]

   This post has been a difficult one for me to write. I want to convey our experiences and how we feel about this special place so greatly, but am struggling to find the words. Pai meant a lot to us… it felt like home. As we have been away from everything familiar for quite some time now, finding a spot that felt so familiar felt good. It’s like when you meet someone for the first time, but feel as though you have known them for years. That was our Pai.

  Since I’m having trouble writing this post, I’ll start with something I could write about all day… food. The food in Pai was quite frankly the best we have had in all of Thailand. The curries, the noodles, the breads from bakeries- just perfection! When we asked for our dishes to be “Thai Spicy”, the chefs would give a new meaning to the term…  They take your requests seriously in Pai and I liked that, because I take my food seriously. But also, they were quick to recommend how best to have your dish… if you asked for “Thai Spicy”, they’d say, “Much better, less spice… you taste all flavors.” Right again.

  The people were lovely and super laid back. The owners of the guesthouse where we stayed (Darling View Guesthouse) called everyone “Darling”, leading all of us to do the same… so, everyone in Pai was “Darling”.  The feel of the town reminded me of a mix of Portland, OR. and Fayetteville, AR. because of the great live music scene, laid back feel, quirky coolness of the town and the beauty of rolling hills and mountains that surrounded us.

  The drive from Chiang Mai to Pai was something in itself… 762 curves on the road you have to take. And I’m not talking nice rounded curves, these were sharp and jagged. Our bus driver was slowing down for nothing… well, unless there was a hill… then he would actually stop accelerating completely and turn his lights off (we were driving at night). He’d come to an almost complete stop then push on the gas and sometimes turn his lights back on. Whatever, it’s Thailand.

  The plan was to call the owners at Darling View from the bus station upon arrival and they would come pick us up. The way “time” and “schedules” work in this country is in an extremely laid back manner. For example, say you’re scheduled to leave at 2:00 p.m., you’ll end up leaving between 2:45 and 3:30 p.m. If it is supposed to be a 10 to 12 hour train ride, it’ll be more along the lines of 19 to 20. We’re fine with it though, because their inconsistency is actually very consistent.

   The bus finally came to a stop, it was pitch black outside as we all stumbled out of the bus, somewhat sick from the ride. Seconds after collecting our bags, we heard this sweet voice calling out, “Christa! Christa Spencer?” I couldn’t see anything, and thought maybe the bus driver had been circulating something besides fresh air through the vents (we heard a rumor once about tourists being drugged through the vents on buses.) But we both heard it again, “Christa! Christa- Darling?” As we walked toward the voice, we saw Ann (a.k.a. Darling owner)—a short, teeny, long haired, laid back Thai, who had two 24 packages of toilet paper strapped to her motorbike, along with some sacks of vegetables and other groceries. Travis and I walked closer, happily confused as to how she drove up at the exact time of our arrival, without us even having to call and wait around for awhile. Did I mention that “The Darlings” (Ann and Peter- lovers and owners) didn’t even know what time we were getting in? All we could tell them via e-mail was that it would be in the evening sometime. So we asked Ann, “How did you know we’d be here? This is just perfect timing!” Ann just sort of squealed out a cute giggle and said, “Oh Darlings! This is Pai!”

  I think our first five minutes in Pai sums up what the rest of our time there was like… unexpected, effortless and lovely.

  Enjoy the pics!! <3  

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