Memories of Pai: Photo-log 2
I’d have gone walking at sunset but I figure that’d be dangerous. These are nice enough anyhow.
Memories of Pai: Photo-log
Without many places to go without spending money in Krabi, I and my feet find ourselves locked an anguished longing to explore. The morning of our departure from Pai I took out my best walking shoes and set out on the road running south from town.
The second semester has come into swing at Ammart, and seeing less and less of my students as they prepare for graduation and going to the university I am left in my own company. As I look out across the school’s campus searching for students who never come I think back on the 2 weeks of vacation we had in October. My emotional state had been spiraling thanks to a strained environment and carelessness on mine and others’ parts at the time and rather than respite the first few days found my toes on eggshells.
In Chiang Mai I pulled my usual defense and retreated into myself. Much like a turtle I hauled myself into a van to Pai, shutting my eyes to the winding road and my ears in favor of my Ipod. The 762 turns through hills, pasture and untamed wilderness spanned 3 hours, pausing for a chance to stretch our legs, relieve our nausea with ginger tea, and witness a motorbike returning to life thanks to some charitable farang.
The sun bathed the green-gold hills, the blue sky melting into yellow and white in the distance. Mists climbed over the steep tree flooded peaks like dragons as we passed along the straight road to Thailand’s small jewel of the expatriate: Pai. Tucked away between waterfalls, hot springs, and nearly vertical roads this sleepy hamlet hosts several bookstores, restaurants and bars for the hippie in everyone. A small cafe we frequented had walls littered with bookshelves and advertisements for bamboo house-building, yoga, and reiki courses.
After falling off my motorbike (I was doing fine until this one little turn) I feared being further isolated by my injury but was fortunate to make the acquaintance of a young woman named Vicky from Scotland. Having spent her year teaching in Indonesia with a lifestyle necessitating a motorbike she was more acquainted to the controls. Almost without question she allowed me a spot on the back of her bike and together we set off on a small adventure.
Our path crossed by chickens and dogs, lined by the ever-reaching pastures on either side. We had to stop for a moment to watch the sun peek between sharp mountains as the clouds stretched overhead, and I kicked myself for forgetting my camera. The hills striped by terraced and level farming in lushest reds and golds and greens give our amber waves of grain a run for their money. Looking below at the sprawling sun drenched countryside I felt full of an awe I prayed had nothing to do with the thinning air.
When my birthday came at midnight I finished off a margarita and headed back to the hotel when the bartender at Almost Famous asked me how I was feeling. I replied that I’d just turned 23 and somehow 2 hours later I was showing off my Gangnam Style at a place called Don’t Cry.
The night ended outside a laundromat and motorbike rental shop with nine other travelers, each regaling whoever cared to listen about what life had taught them so far. Thus I passed into my 23rd year with joy and wisdom.