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The Hut

THAILAND | Monday, 24 November 2014 | Views [443]

Our hut in Pai

Our hut in Pai

We leave Cave Lodge, sadly and sorely, and head back to Pai. Pai is partway between Chiang Mai and Pang Mapha, and we thought staying there for a night would be a nice way to break up our return trip from PMP to Bangkok. The road from PMP to Pai is almost as winding as the one from Chiang Mai to Pai. I had had a couple glasses of wine the night before with our new friends at the lodge, and was feeling fine in the morning, but not so much as the trip progressed. By the time we arrived in Pai, I was pretty green around the gills. Aaron led me into a nearby little cafe for a Sprite and a rest. 

After recovering for a little while, we walk back next door to the bus station to check out a map of Pai and try to decide where we'd like to stay. We pick out a couple of places listed and head out to try to find them. We want to be within walking distance of the bus station to make getting back tomorrow as easy as possible. Compared to where we've spent the last few days, the streets of Pai seem like Bangkok!! Well, not quite, but there are lots of backpackers and street vendors and motorscooters vying for right-of-way. We head left and look for the turn to the bridge over the river. I'd been told to stay somewhere across the river. We come across several little places set up like cabins or huts along the water. Since we hadn't yet located our first choice place, we decided to just grab one of these little places. 
We ask a man if he has room for us, and he leads us back and back through rows and rows of little bamboo raised huts. We are given Hut #24. On first view, we think, "How quaint!  It's just like our own tribal hill hut!" There's a little front porch with a well-worn string hammock that is flanked by banana and papaya trees overlooking a field. Opening the door, we see a cloth mosquito net gathered up above the bed, with walls and floor made of woven bamboo mats. There is thin linoleum over the more worn (read: broken) areas of the floor. Cozy and rustic!! And then, unlike some of the other huts, we have a bathroom. Aah, the bathroom. 
Now, don't get me wrong, I am grateful to have a bathroom and be spared having to stumble around at night or early morning trying to locate our specific hut again on the return trip. But this bathroom is definitely on the no-frills side. First off, there's no toilet paper. Not that unusual in Asian bathrooms I've been to, in that you are expected to either use your own or employ the hand-held kitchen-sink-type sprayer as a kind of bidet. (We went immediately to purchase TP.)  This toilet also is the common gravity-fed type that requires the user to dip water from a nearby bucket with a plastic pan or bowl and pour it into the toilet bowl, as many times as necessary, until the bowl is "clean."  Any TP used does not go into the toilet, to avoid clogs. It goes into the bathroom waste basket. Luckily, the back wall of the room is mostly open overhead, so as to allow plenty of ventilation. Good thing we have a mosquito net!
Our toilet also had a detached seat, that one could place on the rim if desired, for precarious balancing during use. 
The shower had hot water!  Sooo welcome after today. No floor basin for the shower water; no drain for that matter either.  The water just dripped down through the floorboards onto the ground below. 
The town of Pai itself was kind of a cross between the hippie wonderland of the Oregon Country Fair and the agricultural areas of a state fair. There were scooters, and big backpacks, all manner of stray dogs,   Jesus- and Russell Brand-lookalikes everywhere. Great choices of street food any direction you looked: dried cuttlefish on sticks, black sesame cakes, different teas served in bamboo tubes, fried oysters, and even nachos!  I've been mostly avoiding any attempts at Mexican foods here. We pick a relatively popular looking place, receive menus and are then never waited on. After 20 minutes, we leave and head across the street. There, I order a mixed fresh berry juice and chicken with holy basil and chili. Assuming this was chili *paste*, I am blind-sided by searing hotness in my face from a incredibly hot Thai chili pepper I just ate. Wow!  Seriously lethal!  The smaller the pepper, the hotter it tends to be, isn't that true? I eat a bunch of rice to try to soak up the heat, and drink a ton of my berry "juice," which actually came very thick and cold like a shake. What luck for me!  Aaron's dinner was less eventful, but he did add squid to his list of "Meats Aaron has Eaten on this Trip."
Sleeping in the hut was interesting; between the generously-firm and sloping/domed mattress, to the raucous calls of the overly-drunk Japanese fellow down the way.... to the call to prayer at 5:00 am, and the rooster crowing at 5:30.... We slept great. Early rising today to catch the 8:00 van back to Chiang Mai. Stopped back at our old Hollandra Montri guesthouse to say hello again to our pals there and to gather our bags. Not traveling so lightly from here on. I could still get rid of probably half of my stuff!! We get a tuk-tuk to the train station to wait for our train to Bangkok. Hanging out at a coffee shop, we see a familiar face!! It is Claudia from our massage training last week!  She's going to Bangkok too, on a later train. We catch up a little and we tell her all about Pai. 
Today will be a long travel day-and-a-half, encompassing four cities and two countries: Pai, Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and Siem Reap. 
We have a 1st class sleeper car on the train on this trip, which I hope will be a bit more restful than our first trip up to Chiang Mai several weeks ago. We are Cambodia-bound!! 

Tags: pai, thailand

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