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Published: August 1st 2010
Pai, a small town nestled into the mountains of north western Thailand. Who would think a place with such an unassuming name could be so cool? As soon as we got off the bus from Chiang Mai I realised Pai was one of my favourite places. It just has that vibe, you know its the vibe of the thing?
So on our mini van journey through the twisty turny mountain roads Chloe and I met Marcel, a fellow traveller from Holland who we ended up hangin out with for most of our time in Pai. He had actually recently come from some time in Australia and even visited Perth so he was very excited to fine tune his Aussie slang with us. It's funny how the phrase 'No Worries' can sound so different with a dutch accent!
Pai is known as a bit of a hippie town so it was no surprise to hear Bob Marley pumping out of the various bars that lined the street or to see the many dreadlocked dudes cycling past. Despite this cliche Pai really does have a groovy feel to it and after installing our bags in one of the many guesthouses we
ventured out to soak up some atmosphere and do as the Paiians do and chill out.
Our first full day in Pai was spent at Mam Yoga Studio. Chloe and I were the only 2 signed up for the full day course, which was actually 2 hours in the morning and 2 in the arvo with a 3 hour break in the middle. But it was great, the teacher known as Mama was a real character and according to her if we do some of the yoga moves she taught us every day we will NEVER get sick! We could send the doctors our of business if we peddle this philosophy in oz! Anyway it was a great day, although I did realise just how inflexible I have become since slacking off in the yoga/gym department - must work on that when I get home.
The evening was spent hangin out at Edible Jazz, a bar just next door to our guesthouse who have live music each night and a cruisey atmosphere. We met some interesting characters at that table, Chloe especially enjoyed the company of an American who insisted on rambling on about his mystical trip to
the local waterfall....
On Sunday it was farewell to Marcel who continued his travels to Lao and hello river rafting! After a bit of a slow start because we had a massive group of 22 people we finally got on the road to our put in point. Our ride to the river was in the back of a ute with bench seats installed on either side of the tray. This is fairly normal in Thailand but the speed at which the driver took the sharp hairpin curves was not! After a number of close calls I just stopped looking forward and instead tried to enjoy the view of the magnificent green mountains and the fields and fields of soya beans. Soon enough we arrived and decked our selves out in life jacket and helmet. We were put into a team of 6, whom we dubbed the international allstars as we had representatives from Oz, Germany, Holland, Norway & Iran.
We were a bit worried at first because up until lunch time the river was not so wild, however our concern was eliminated after lunch when we tackled a few rapids and had to duck many times to avoid
being wacked by a passing tree. I seemed to end up on the floor of the raft quite a bit and the others wasted no time in paying me out about sitting down on the job. This of course made me laugh even harder and therefore take even longer to get myself back up onto the side and in the paddling position!
By 5 oclock we were well and truly ready to get out of the raft and see what our 'Jungle Camp' had in store for us. Our sleeping quarters were definitely simple but the mattress was surprisingly soft we had mozzie nets, what more luxury could a girl ask for? Perhaps a shower that didnt involve scooping suspect water out of a drum and pouring it on oneself????? Anyway popcorn and coffee went down well as a pre-dinner snack and we had a great night getting to know the rest of the group. We had a family from Belgium with three young boys who obviously didnt do english so just looked at me strangely every time I tried to speak to them....oops. And and Israeli famliy with 2 teenage girls who I managed to impress with my
outstanding Hebbrew! Yay. Then there were the international allstars so it was a lively discussion about all the differences and similarities between the countries/cultures. We managed to learn that the three ducks from 'Duck Tails' (you remember the show with Scrooge McDucks nephews) anyway they have different names in every language, how funny. The ducks we know as Huey, Duey and Louie are Quick, Quack, Quock in dutch and something else entirely in Norwegian. Ok enough of the cartoons for the insane.....
Day two started early, by the way the person who wrote 'In the jungle, the QUIET jungle, the lion sleeps tonight...' clearly has never slept in the Thai jungle! It was anything but quiet as we were serendaded to sleep by all sorts of birds and bugs, including one we have dubbed 'the shaver bug' because he sounds like an electric shaver!
So day two, this was the day that Chloe fell out of the boat twice! The first time was an accident and we managed to get her back in easily enough but the second time, I think she was just showing off...he he. We had a lot of time to swim on day two
which is great, just to float down the river with the current, well it was great until we accidently hit some rapids that were not meant for people! I ended up with a lot of scratches on my knees from trying to stand up and being pushed into rocks. After I managed to get into the raft I helped Tom save Chloe just in the knick of time as we were heading for the bank and a large rock, it actually would have been funny to see because when only had her top half in the boat when I yelled at her to lift her legs up because we were about to hit the rock. So Tom and I each had an arm and Chloe had her legs straight up in the air. Funny but scary at the same time.
We were ferried back to Pai at the end point and spent the following day loafing before we head south to Ko Chang, 24 hours travel here we come!
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