Sad, but not tragic. A forced opportunity. Maybe even a fortunate adaptation…fuck it. Let's make taco salad.

Pai = Love

Did that crazy old woman just jump out of the bushes and offer us an opium joint?  Wow, that was a bit of a surprise.  “You are now entering the Golden Triangle.”

Pai was not on my primary radar, but I’m so glad I was convinced to go.  Just another in a long line of places where you plan on staying for a day or two and then a week later you’re still struggling to leave.  It’s hard to put into words what makes a place like this so special.  Probably because it’s more of a feeling than a particular sensory experience.  I’m reminded of when I first arrived in Victoria, San Gimignano, Brugge, or Český Krumlov:  The sheer romance of the place is startling in its power.

Of course, it also helps to have a 4-star resort with a private bungalow and an infinity pool at the edge of the Pai River for 1100THB/night (~US$35).  We were at this place for 5 nights and saw a total of 4 other guests in that time.  And there were 30+ resort staff to serve us.  Amazing, bordering on comical.

It also helps to have a sweet baby blue scooter — The Scoopy I — for 140THB/day (~US$4.50) to help get around.  I’ve never felt more like a man, I assure you.

Pai is in the mountains, which doesn’t mean much in Thailand other than the size of the bamboo and the spiders — ridiculous, both.  But riding Scoopy through the rolling hills, mountain villages, and rice fields felt otherworldly at times.  (It is hard to drive a scooter and take quality photos simultaneously, but I’m learning.)  We took day trips to mountaintop Buddhist temples and frolicable waterfalls.  We had some of the best Thai food ever conceived.  Even the street food was remarkable, except for the pink-spotted veggie balls — those you can skip.  I even had a pretty damn good burrito.

We experienced one of the most delicious tropical cloudbursts I’ve ever encountered upon stopping at a treehouse resort for a drink.  We also stopped at the most beautifully situated coffee shop I have ever seen where I sat overwhelmed for 5 minutes unable to even speak. (I think my friend Orly may have been more overwhelmed by the idea of fresh ground Arabica beans instead of instant Nescafe than the actual view, but no matter; Coffee In Love was absolute magic.)

And then we drove by a spider the size of my head booking down the middle of the road like it was heading out for groceries.  Time to go.

Grandma, I know you’re expecting this to end with me driving the Scoopy off a bridge into the Pai River or having a head-on collision with an elephant train, but the fact is that nothing of the sort happened.  For once, in as long as I can remember, I had an entire week of sanity, of calm, almost meditative, peace.  I hope you’re not disappointed.  I promise to make it up to you.

One Response to “Pai = Love”

  1. JimK says:

    Knew that you’d love it. Pai is definitely one of my favorite places on the planet.

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