30-04-04

PAI


 
From the LP Thailand: "It first appears that there is not a lot to see in Pai, a peaceful crossroads town about halfway between Mae Hong Son and Chiang Mai. But if you stick around a few days ...( you just might find you get what you ... came for ).
 
Joe Cummings, auhor of LP Thailand is very lean in his description of Pai, isn't he? I heard somewhere ... that he likes it around here and is seen in these parts occasionally. Mmmm? Could it be that he is trying to reserve the best morsels for himself? 
 
I first heard of Pai in Varkala. I mentioned to my neighbors at Palm Beach Resort that after the beaches of India I was ready for a change of scenery, and wanted to go to the mountains in Thailand after my friend Mike's wedding in Petchabun. They suggested Chiang Mai and Pai. Mike concurred, but said that I probably would not want to spend more than a few days there. He suggested Mae Hong Son and was right on.
 
So I came to Pai, on my way from Mae Hong Son to Chiang Mai, thinking I will stay a few days.

 
Coming down from the mountain roads into the Pai valley, one meets Pai, The little town that could. Pai, population 3,000 ( plus the farang tourists ) is indeed little more than a crossroads. Everybody is very laid back here. You've got your main street crossed by market street with most of the restaurants and food tents and then a bunch of guest houses on a few secondary streets and alleys that connect it all. The Pai river bordering town is also very popular with tourists and therefore has a dense concentration of guest houses. When you walk around a bit, it become obvious that tourism is one of the main industries here. An abundance of Thai massage rooms offer traditional Thai-, foot- and oil massage, for 100baht an hour. You see plenty of 'Trek' outfitters on every street, motorcycles and bicycles for rent and of course the ubiquitous Internet rooms.  There is even a small movie house with private screening rooms with TV and DVD player.  
The Beebop and Monkey Magic just outside of town provide live band entertainment and tucked away in a little alley is Edible Jazz Cafe where you can eat and drink and listen to some cool jazz. 
At Mellow Yellow, my favorite bar, I finally got my Guinness, the one I have been craving since that day in September in Pokhara when I saw it on the menu but they were out. To keep the craving, India offered it on several menus as well, but they were always out too. Aah, I relished that Guinness.
At Petit Poulet, in a simply casual but very pleasant decor, with sweet background sounds of Bob Dylan, Tracy Chapman or Cat Stevens, Phuy serves great Indian food, for a nice change from the flavors of the daily Thai diet I have been on for a couple of months now.
Crossing the Bridge on the River Pai, I found Sun Hut, my guest house for the month; a number of bungalows and a tree house strewn around a pond stocked with carp; a nice lawn to practice Tai Chi in the early morning; the best pancakes for breakfast and Khao Tom - vegetable rice soup - in the afternoon and a superb library of used books ( two thumbs up for 'Love in times of Cholera' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez' and 'Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance' by Robert Pirsig and 'Travelers' Tales Thailand' edited by James O'Reilly and Habegger from our very Bay Area. In moments such as these, if I don't want to, I need not leave my guest house, the world will offer itself freely to me to be unmasked...
 
No wonder I stayed here four weeks. But tomorrow, May first, I leave for Chiang Mai.
 

07:41 Gepost door pieter | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

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