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Published: October 28th 2009
Our 2nd class train journey from Phitsanluk was a bit unadventurous. The air-con was flowing and the fans running overtime, so it was a case of trying to keep warm more than anything else. We also got dinner included with our ticket just to make the journey that little bit more unadventurous. The train arrived as usual about an hour late. A nice security man came from his office to tell us this in English as the announcement was made in Thai. He obviously felt sorry for us and said ‘come, VIP room’. We followed and he brought us to a nice air conditioned room and left us in there. This train journey was certainly a lot easier than the 3rd class trip we last took!
We arrived in Chiang Mai and got a tuk tuk to our guesthouse. €6 for a double room with air-con, a TV and a fridge is not bad. Bags unpacked we headed out for something to eat and to try and find the Irish match somewhere. My stomach wasn’t feeling to good, which I put down to the severe lack of large quantities of red meat missing from my diet, so I ordered the
biggest beef burger I could find. I wasn’t disappointed. We had a drink there and set out to find the Irish pub, hoping they would show the game. We did find the UN- Irish pub, which stands for United Nations because of all the different nationalities that have owned they place, but I would think the UN is more like ’unlike’ for the reason that it is very Unlike an Irish pub. It’s a bit cheap and easy money. “Oh, lets call it an Irish pub and a be so unique!”
Anyway, they were not showing the match but told us where we could find it. We returned to where we were before and went to a reggae bar with a live band. It was good fun and the buckets that they sell their alcohol in are not advisable! We turned up at the bar showing the match at 2am. All the lights were off but there was an old women sitting inside. She beckoned us in and we asked if she could show the football. We told her True Sport 1 and soon she had the game on for us.
We thought others might arrive to watch it
but no one came. We cheered Ireland on from behind our bottles of Singha (good Thai beer) and were delighted with the early lead against the Italians, but disappointed with the equaliser not long after. As the game wore on we would have been happy with the draw, but then Ireland go and score after 87mins. 2-1 to Ireland and I was jumping around in front of the TV. I was saying to Michelle to get a photo of me celebrating (a famous win) when the Italians equalised. I can honestly tell you I felt a right ejit! I hadn’t seen an Irish football match in two years and I remembered all of a sudden why. When we left the place all the surrounding bars were closed and there wasn’t a sinner to be seen. We walked home depressed and got into our beds at the early hour of 5am. The next day we did very little. We did go to see the famous Sunday night market, which we had seen before and it was still as good. Things are cheap and we picked up lots of different foods from the stalls. Oh……… how could I forget! I got my
haircut. Not very exciting I can hear you say. Well, when I walked into the shop the girl sitting with her back to me turned around and it turned out she used to be a man. Although very feminine looking she was clearly of a masculine nature. Turned out I got a great hair cut and she turned out to be friendly. I don’t care what anyone says, but it is still a shock when someone you think is a woman turns out to be a man, even in Thailand!
As we had seen most of Chiang Mai before, our main reason for coming here was to catch a bus to Pai. Apparently a hippie town up in the mountains, that’s very sleepy and relaxed. At first when we arrived there I was a little disappointed. To me a sleepy hippie town, shouldn’t rely solely on tourism. The streets went in the same order. Bar, restaurant, tour agency, crafts shop. Nothing unique. The place was full of tourists as well. Don’t think, that I think, I’m not one of those, but, I was looking for a peaceful place with only a cross road to make up the town and
a few sleepy huts along the river. If that’s what your looking for, Pai is not it. We did though have a great time there and loved the place for different reasons. Yes, it was very relaxed and each bar was extremely unique compared to the next. We had hooked up with a guy from Scotland called Martin, on our bus to Pai. We shared a few Singha that night and went to a bar called ‘Don’t Cry Bar’ at 12 that night. It was pretty cool. It was all outside and had lots of little fires around the place and very low lights. All the seats were on the ground (or grass) and it was a pretty chilled out place. Quote of the night came from Michelle. We were all sitting at a table talking to different people we had met. Michelle got talking to a gay guy from South Africa. When I asked her a question she said she would be with me in a minute……… “its just I haven’t had a girly chat in ages”. Fair enough.
One of our days in Pai we hired a scooter and went around the country roads. It was now
that I realised why people had made this journey to the far north of Thailand. We visited some water falls and the scenery was absolutely stunning. Big rolling hills, with more types of green than you could imagine. Every now and again we would have to overtake an elephant. Normal around here but still a little strange for us. One waterfall we got to was quite when we arrived. We were just about to go for a nice relaxing swim when loads of people arrived and decided bombing into the water would be better suited in this beautiful tranquil place. Clothes back on we were out of there in a shot. We did find another quieter one, which was more spectacular but just sat and admired it for a few minutes. Our bike only cost €3 for 24hrs and is a great way to see the surrounding landscape. Unfortunately our time in Pai had to come to an end so we could start our journey to the Laos border.
Pai wasn’t what I thought it would be. Instead of finding a peaceful place, where the masses don’t go, we found a busy little tourist town, full of exciting bars
and parties galore. I would definitely recommended Pai, just don’t expect to rest that much.
In a bit: DH
Song of the blog: Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama
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