Posted by: James Shannon | June 9, 2011

The Life of Pai, Episode VIII: My Final Days in Pai Land (For This Trip, At Least!)

Whiling away the last days of February and the opening week of March in Pai, I suddenly realized something … my time in SE Asia was quickly drawing to a close!  Within five weeks or so, I would be jetting back across the Pacific to Canuck Land.  Time was getting short, and thus, it was time to get a move on, as I still had three countries to explore before departing the Far East (Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam).

I booked my plane ticket home on April the 12th … point of departure?  Hanoi, Vietnam … with that, the trip took on a new and fresh urgency.

But first, it was time to wish my beloved Pai an appropriate farewell; the pics below are from my last few days in town … enjoy!

The Pai Hotsprings National Park (not its actual name, I forget the real one) has a foreigner pricing scheme that is considerably more expensive than the admission for locals, so Katie took me to a different set of hot pools … the so-called “Secret” Hotsprings.  The water is actually more warm than hot, but it was quite relaxing just the same.  Here, Katie kicks back with a beer, enjoying life, Pai-style!

… and what would a day out in the wilderness of Pai District be without a hardy picnic lunch?  On offer on this day: BBQ chicken, sticky rice, papaya salad, with fresh fruit for dessert!

After arriving back in Pai, Katie and I, along with a guy from Germany training in Muay Thai kickboxing, had some afternoon brews on the deck of my bungalow … which morphed into evening brews and a fun night out on the town!

Here, and throughout Thailand, people don’t have barbed wire to keep out unwanted intruders … they instead save a ton of money and cement broken glass to the top of walls to keep out would-be burglars … The Thai people are such a resourceful, entrepreneurial people, in just about every respect!

Walking through Pai on my last day in town, I happened upon the town food market; there are no real supermarkets here yet, so food shopping happens here, and at other markets throughout the district.  Out in front of the market building was this stall for roasted chicken … *drool* 😛

Inside, fruit/vegetables, meat, dry goods, and even frozen foods (Thai love fish balls apparently) stored in deep freezes are all available for your shopping pleasure…

Having a farewell drink of wine with Katie and Moses (German, but of Indian descent: fascinating person!) at his place just off the downtown core of Pai.  Nothing like imported vino and pepper crackers to end off my stay in one of Thailand’s true gems!

And with that, the march to Laos began.  I had one last stop in Thailand though, before crossing the Mekong to Lao P.D.R … Chiang Rai would be my launching pad to this tiny, landlocked nation, giving me my last chance to stock up on the things taken for granted in a quasi-developed country, before taking a step into one of the 20 poorest nations on Earth.

But Pai, keep the porch light on … I’ll be back before you know it!

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