Pai, Thailand

SynchroniCity

This post is rather lengthy. Take your time. ไม่ดอ้งรีบ. You Are in Pai. Also known as Synchronicity although it rather resembles a town really.

On the way to Pai the minivan I am sitting in unfortunately hits a dog’s rear. A short rumble occurs which means the poor animal probably gets smashed under the left front wheel. This incident reminds me of the dog who was hit at Krabi when I hitchhiked to Khao Sok National Park. It was also hit at the tail end and then tried to reach the side of the road, crawling, whining desperately… my heart shivering. Mirror neurones firing away. I know how my butt hurts after three hours of sitting in a local bus, but this… well I have to accept the fact I can’t help the poor lad that is most probably expelled from the gene pool soon.

Ten minutes after arrival in the town of Pai I already found a place to put up my tent at a camp ground near Roots Bar. It’s hot. With the help of an Australian youngster named Theo it’s all set up in another couple minutes. Very helpful. Never before have I arrived somewhere and found a place to stay as easy and quick. For a week I stay here. Then I move to the other riverside.

It is hard to describe what happens here, and somehow I don’t want to… next to doing nothing for hours on end, here are some things I have done in and around this lovely town. Play table tennis. Share three delicious cakes with two lovely ladies at Witching Well. Enjoy bonfire at Roots Bar.

At the Pai Circus School I spend one afternoon at the pool and participate in a workshop. I get some advice on slacklining, learn to swing staff in the hot afternoon sun and spin fire in the evening. Bruises on right elbow and blisters on fingers say it was worth it. No photos of this afternoon. I was simply too immersed in learning a new skill. Sun sets over Pai. Kygo music enchants. Foot massage for a Brazilian girl. Read a good book about Burma. In a word: happy! And disillusioned by what’s going on in the neighbouring country. Life’s not a fairy tale.

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Swimming pool at Pai circus school (100฿ just to get in not worth it, there are better places to get wet)

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Preparation for fire-spinning this evening

When I wake up a nice lady and a cute puppy await me. At breakfast we meet Aron, a cool Californian.

Scootering Joy and me to the white Buddha uphill with a great view. On our way downstairs we give some bananas to the people working on the concrete staircase.

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White pink and blue buddhas 😉

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Bungalows and meditation hall at Open Mind Centre

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Sunset at Pai Canyon

In the evening we listen to Undercover Hippy (www.undercoverhippy.com) at Art in Chai. It’s open mic night and everyone is invited to share some story some poem or whatever. It’s like poetry slam but without the competitive touch to it. I like it. Chocolate brownie, too, hihi!

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Refreshing bath at a waterfall with a slide. Friendly people all around. Local children and travellers alike.

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On the way up to the waterfall we pass by a bar with pool table and pétanque area. Ganesh Bar it’s called. Good พัดไทย. Good mood.

In the evening when we arrive at Roots Bar (also campground, my resting place) I decide to get a bamboo tattoo. Oh yes. Sweet pain.

Morning yoga at Open Mind Centre.

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เนิบเนิบเป็นคนติดดิน …

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In the afternoon we eat some chocolate salty balls – put’em inya mouth n suck’em – in the shade at Earth Tone opposite Maeyen temple.

Helping Amanda, a canadian friend in need after a a scooter accident, to find a new place to stay, far away from all the noise, to cure her mind and body at Baan Din Doi Lisu (House Earth Hill Lisu) and Open Mind Centre. Lisu is a tribe living in the hills near Pai.

So many people here who come and have no clue how to ride a scooter. Or they are driving drunk. Breaking in curves. Not knowing how to deal with sand pitches. Let alone for the psychology of dealing with a highway cop patrol.

After sunset we settle down at the bonfire. The atmosphere has changed since friends left and some weirdo kids arrive. Conducting interviews instead of talking to one another from the heart. Hard to take. So after a couple days of big chill out the decision to move to the other riverside comes easy.

A tenant staying here for a longer period of time is the man from down under. With his attire and beard he looks like a twenty-sthg but he shows me his passport to prove he’s actually 18. Well, he has Greek roots he tells me… and also about his tattoo ideas on both arms. He had one made that reads ‘koi pen koi pai yim samme chun thon heng lisu’… meaning ‘slowly slowly always smiling the way of the lisu’).

Breakfast at vegan restaurant near the police station. Highly recommended. At the back their is a shrine room. Inside the restaurant no smoke no alcohol. Probly Buddhist proprietors. 35฿ for a proper meal. Excellent quality. I share black sesame which I got from Tom & Tim at Nan.

I go to pick up Amanda Dawn at Baan Din Doi Lisu. Half an hour by scooter.

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Bungalows (300฿)

We check out the waterfall together. Take a plunge in the fresh water basins. Some cows pasturing there, too.

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Ok, I won’t be afraid of you if you’re not afraid of me, ok?!

In the evening we pass by the Indiana cottage. Meet Leo (Bavaria) and Peter (Austria) there. And then Sarah, the ladyboy transcender we met on the first day in Pai, asks about our whereabouts and invites us to stay for free. After the strange atmosphere yesterday evening at the campfire she doesn’t have to ask twice. So the next thing to do is to move the tent and backpacks over there. With joy that’s done in about half an hour. We get a mattress and blankets from Sarah who’s in charge at Indiana cottage. Kind of. Funny guyle.

It is getting more and more difficult to keep up and write a diary. To keep track on what has happened.

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Joyce (Amsterdam) and me strolling the streets of Pai

With happy joy who cried last night we explore House of Pork (a veggie café, as you might have guessed) and a guy shows me how to juggle with four balls.

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We go to Om Garden with friends and have a great salad. Crawford, a slightly famous Scot (google Cambodia naked bike police chase) provides me with fresh coffee and serves it with a just-woke-up-ten-minutes-ago smile.

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Writing postcards at John’s exquisite & extensive bookshop in walking street

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Mr. Brown and Mr. White

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Delicious food at Om Garden Café

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Opening up the tent in the morning… dog gazing at me in … well.. almost lotus posture. Magic moment.

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My resting place at Indiana cottage (the tent I bought in Sukhothai for 700฿)

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Wake up bath in the Pai river

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A big smile and a great chai in the evening

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Dinner: bananas, chai and the best raw spring rolls ever!

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One evening we discover some kittens crying… we get a ladder and get them down from the attic…

Days are going by in a peculiar fashion. Not to do anything when you don’t know what to do is the best thing you can do. And it’s so easy to do exactly that around here. It makes it so much easier to decide on the things actually worth doing. I will give you some examples:

Afternoon I attended Muay Thai training. Exhausting
Indian dinner with a nice British couple at Bebe Spice. Marvellous.
Bonfire with Crawford, Demian, Joy and many others. Relaxing.
Fire-spinning performance by Demian. Incredible.

And then…
after what seems like a month – or completely beyond any time frame, for that matter – I take a bus to Chiang Mai … and on to Chiang Rai. Joy joins me. She has even let a train ticket go void cuz she wanted to spend some more days with me.

At the bus station I reencounter a couple I had met at Pai Canyon.

Joy and I arrive in the evening. At a Reggae Bar we get advice where to check in.

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