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A Znack Abroad

Smooth vibes and Changovers

THAILAND | Saturday, 9 March 2013 | Views [377]

Hey all!!!

(Disclaimer to all you grammar/English crazies: I'm on vacation. Don't expect me to edit this. Thanks :D)

Sorry for not keeping this up to date, there is just too much fun going on to convince myself  to go and sit at a computer. On Monday morning we woke up early to catch some breakfast before our trek to the jungle. Bellies full we sat around, wondering if we were going to get picked up by the company. The truck (a covered pickup with a tailgate and two benches) came and we piled into the hot back with two other couples and we all thought awesome this will be fun. That was until we picked up another couple, oh, and another couple. Twelve full grown people crammed into the back of a truck to drive for 1 hr in 38 degress isn't really ideal for many. After a half hour drive, we all got a much needed pee and water break, and continued north for lunch at a waterfall. Banana leaf wrapped fried rice consumed, leftovers fed to the local cananines, we started our 2.5 hr approx. hike to the village. No sooner did we make it a few steps did it start to pour, which was I guess a pretty nice feeling going straight up the mountain in that kind of heat. Soaked, we arrived at the first village for a potential swim and optional gift buying. Another half hour of walking, we made it to the "village", which was pretty much a campground, and in all was absolutely gorgeous (gorgeous enough for Rambo to come shoot shit up in Rambo 4). We piled in to the cabin, where six slept on one side, and six on the other, on the floor, with a large mosquito net (as we were in the heart of the rainforest), and it felt so incredibly cool. Dried off roughly, everyone made there way to the dining area for beers and water,(and a home made beverage from one of the guides which I am sure was Thai everclear). We ate a dinner of home made sweet eggplant curry (my new favourite addiction), something with bean sprouts, and rice. After chatting and a few matchstick games around the fire, people made there way to bed. Exhausted. I managed to sleep an hour before  I had to pee. I crept out and started making my way to the toilet. Then I froze in the pouring rain. No flashlight, and all I could think of was the tiger people from kingdom telling me that tigers hunt at night.

The next morning I rose early to see the mountains start to clear off as the sun rose and the mist playing with the trees to create this indescribable scene. After toast and egg for breaky, we hiked to another waterfall for a swim, then made our way to the truck for more food at the company's restaurant. Pad Thai devoured, we rode elephants for 45 mins and fed them bananas, which was so very cute. Until you ran out of them, and they spray you with...whatever it is that was coming out of their trunks. Luckily, bamboo rafting was next and we had a chance to clean off. The rafts were made of about 15 foot long pieces of bamboo,about 10 across, and the four of us sat down, whilst a guy stood up front and navigated the river with a pole. Half way in, Becca go the chance to direct the raft, which was a lot like paddleboarding. Minus the rocks, and currents, and the four other people depending on you to not flip the raft. She did great! Not long after, the raft got turned around and I got to give it a try. Much harder than it seemed. No body died, and we banked and headed back to the truck for the ride back to Chiang Mai. After an awesome dinner of noodles in thai gravy, Ing took us for blind thai massage, which was absolutely out of this world. I have never felt so incredibly light and de-knotted. Fried and tired, we had dinner, and Bry and I went for a much needed Guinness.

The next morning we left for Pai. Ing picked us up and we piled into  the back of the truck, with pillows, for a 2 hour drive north. The scenery was absolutely majestic. Mountains as far as you could see in all directions, pine trees, and most awesome of all, fresh and clean air. It reminded me of Kananaskis in the summer. Eyes and nose completely sated, we arrived to a cooler climate. The town of Pai greeted my senses with a feeling of familiarity and comfort, a kind of vibe that just makes you want to put down your bags and stay. People were friendly, and from every place, and the idea of serenity eminated from the trees and mountains. Ing drove us around the Pai Loop, which was really scenic, and we went up to visit the Chinese school that he volunteers at (the children go to school all day, then come to the chinese village school to learn about their history and develop Thai language so they can get citizenship). We were priveleged enought to get to watch the children assemble and sing the Thai national anthem. After that we went to the hotel. Our hotel, more like cottage, was across the town center bridge. Walking through the doors gave you an overpowering sense of calm. There was a pool in the central courtyard, next to the checkin desk/lunch place and little bungalows in which you stayed. The property overlooked fields with water buffaloes (complete with the birds that sit on them)and rolling mountains in the background, complete with homes and a temple. Complete zen. The sound of birds littered the air, and sweet sunshine bounced off the water. I had found a piece of paradise. We unpacked and wandered around the streets of Pai (the main tourist area is pretty much a square). Most things didn't open up til later on in the day, so the pool welcomed our overheated bodies. After browsing the night market, we called it a night so that we could all enjoy our free day the day after. All of us got up to nothing much and called it another night.

The next morning brought a small tea tasting at the Chinese village and me getting a bit lost wandering around the mountain/river side of Pai. After finding my way back, we went to go look at a canyon, which resembled the hoodoo like area of Invermere in a way. Even though it was winter and not everything is as green as it can be in the summer, it was still so lovely to see all the trees that go on for miles and the mountains in every direction. Since it was the time of season in which fields were being burned off for new crops, the atmospheric perspective made everything seem so ethereal and dream like. After ambling back to the truck, we attempted to go to a waterfall, which was closed due to all the rain the area had been getting. Figure that one out. For dinner, Ing took us to a restaurant that used to cook for the Thai Royal Family in Bangkok, but moved to Pai a while ago. The banana flower salad was a completely new taste and a must eat if you are ever in Pai. Post feast, the group went out to one of the very chill bars for a drink and to sit by the fire. Bry and I decided that we would continue the night and have a bit of fun. After a few Changs, and a pretty disgraceful game of pool, we made our way back to get some sleep.

So today I woke up with what they call here a Chang-over. I had no head ache, but my stomach felt like death. Well, hell, I thought, I have another day in ridiculous heat, full of activities. Shit. Oh, no, nevermind, today is fishing day. We drove 5k to a place called Piranha Par, which was pretty much just an aweome hotel area, with 3 large ponds full of fish, like piranha, that you can catch and release all for a whole 30 baht an hour, plus bait. So here we were, standing around these ponds, pole in hand fishing. All I could think of was Ocarina of Time: I stood around without much success, fishing to a peaceful vibe, (trying hard not to throw the bloody pole in the pond out of frustration), and thinking I should be be doing other more productive stuff, like saving a princesses, but just couldn't  stop. I reeled in a Siamese ....something rather..., when I wasn't looking, or even standing at the pole, and ended up having the pole go in the piranha lake. So success relatively achieved, I called it a day and went back to Pai to continue my quest to save the princess. I mean find a computer and some food.

All in all, Pai is absolute heaven. I am going to open a poutine place for all the Canadians that come out here (there aren't really any fries places). Tomorrow we have a 5 hour drive (hopefully no rain) to Fang, where we will do an orange grove tour (there's an orange thats only grows there). The day after, we have temples, or the long neck tribe, or we go to Burma/Laos, or some other amount of cool (totally can't remember the order of events no matter how many times I get told). I should be able to fill you all in around the 12th ish(13th here). But no promises.

Love to you all, and hope you are all well.




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