Friday, 20 March 2015

The life of Pai

We never found the Festival that night in Mae Hong Son.  We never found Benny in here either

We did however find a couple of very interesting people to talk to. A retired professor and his assistant who'd been doing a research project into which areas of northern Thailand hillside jungle and farms may need protection. Sort of scouting mission for the National Parks. They were Canadian and Belgian but could both speak Thai and were going out into the rural villages to talk to the chiefs to collect information. God it made my job seem so mundane and pointless....

The road the next morning was ace. No photos, sorry, it was either too steep and twisty to ride one handed or too much fun to stop.

We arrived in the little town of Pai by late lunch. To be honest we had reasonably low expectations for the place. It is described as being a bit hippyish and plenty of grungy looking backpackers had mentioned its name with glee. We planned to stay 1 night but actually stayed 2.  Yes it's touristy but its done in a laid back, nice way. I can't really work out why it's nice but it is. Maybe it was all the young, tanned flesh on view, poking out from under tie dye t shirts? Maybe it was all the dreadlocks? Maybe it was the melting pot of cultures & nationalities? It was fun to listen to the Asian tourists attempting to speak to the Thai's using English, their only common language (sort of)....

It would seem that I've not taken many photos for the last few days. Here is the sum total
A sticker

A dog

And kate eating a Nutella & banana pancake. I have to say, wiping up around our mouths with the toilet paper after eating this beast left some rather unsavoury thoughts...

All this time, Black Shadow and Grey Nomad sat patiently in the hotel parking area. At a hire charge of £3.50 each a day we didn't exactly feel obliged to ride them in the 40+ degree heat just for the sake of it.

Oooph, a 5.30am start! The Grey Nomad is a kick start only machine. All my bikes (except the 1st I passed my test on) have been graced with the 'magic button'. Imagine my male ego shrivelling to a walnut when, after several failed attempts to coax the Nomad into life, the young hotel receptionist tottered over in her pencil skirt and sandals, shooed me out of the way and with one quick, skilful movement, slipped onto the Nomad, kicked it, revved it, slipped off again and finished the act with a slightly "not so smart now are you white boy?" Smile. Hmmph ;-(

We had to get the bikes back by 10am so were on the road just after dawn. We caught this guy sleeping on the job

The morning air was cool and the roads were empty. Hammer time! Up we twisted, then down again. Bugger me, the air on the 'dark side of the mountain' was cold. 15 flippin degrees. Try that whilst riding in shorts and you're more accustomed to it being 40. Luckily kate had persuaded me to put on my fleece (first time on the whole trip) but we still both got really cold. The sun finally came up properly, slowly cutting through the smoke made from all the land clearing fires. Shadow and Nomad were in their element

Once we were down the other side we saw a little roadside restaurant so pulled over. Noodle soup sooooo makes sense when you're cold except trying to use chopsticks with cold hands that wouldn't work properly...

We got the bikes back to the hire place in Chiang Mai with 1 minute to spare. Why had we rushed? They were so laid back. No check in/damage report nonsense. Just a friendly "hello, here's your passport back, thanks". Now isn't that the way it should be?

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