I’m taking advantage of being sick to get my blog fully up to date. This is a rare occurrence, dear reader, so get excited!
As mentioned earlier, I caught a public bus from Chiang Mai to Pai. We had a bit of trouble getting around a truck that was stuck trying to make it up one of the turns, which you can see in the second picture. (The first shows me winning my first bike race in over a year. It was hotly contested.)
I’m staying at Spicy Pai hostel in Pai, a hippy town in the northern mountains of Thailand. The hostel is managed by a brother and sister team who, in addition to leading day trips around the area, also seem able to party every single night and still wake up by 9 every morning.
My first day in town, Kit, the brother, led a motorbike trip to a nearby temple for walking meditation (the group picture is from the temple), then to a canyon ridge hike, and finally to a waterfall where I was the only one to go swimming. (Believe it or not, it gets quite cold here* at night and everyone was being a baby about the temperature.)
The next day I went to local hot springs with some of the people from the hostel, and in the evening the hostel held a huge barbecue/going away party for a girl who had been staying/volunteering here for over a month.
The day after that Kit again led a trip to one of the largest caves in Thailand, Tham Lod. The cave was, unsurprisingly, enormous and had to be navigated by raft to reach the different rooms. As much as I love caves and underground (literally) things, the drive out to the cave – up and then back down a mountain over switchback turns on a rented motorbike with a passenger at speeds of up to 80kph – was just as awesome.
The second to last picture is me and Dave, a 40something Irishman who’s about 2 months into a year on the road. He has been staying at Spicy Pai for about 3 weeks now, partying with the best of them, and shaved his hair into a mohawk today. Doug, if you’re reading this, it’s not too late to get out! (And you’d have one hell of a mohawk.)
Obviously today I was supposed to leave for Laos, but I’ll be doing that tomorrow instead. The trip involves a minibus to the border, a night at the border, riding a slow boat all the next day, a night in a small town, and then another half day on the boat before finally reaching Luang Prabang, Laos.
*Cold by Thai standards. Spicy Pai’s beds are in an open walled building and even with two blankets I’ve been sleeping in pants and a sweatshirt