Ahhh Pai. It's been said that 'There's Thailand & there's Pai.' So very true. Imagine New Hope Pennsylvania with more Wats, better Pad Thai and more jungle. Or Nederaland, Co with less musicians and more just plain lazy ass hippies. Very much an artist's town, Pai is pretty close to Chiang Mai; however, add 762 hairpin turns (literally) to endure throughout route.The trip takes close to 3 car sicking hours by bus. But so worth it. So, I decided to splurge on my bungalow this time around. So instead of the typical 300 baht/night. I'm paying 400 (approx $12) I'm staying right on the Pai river in a cedar & bamboo bungalow on stilts. It's got hot water (1st hot shower I had in 3 weeks!!), much needed mosquito netting, a tv (not that I watch it), and it's only just big enough for the queen sized bed. It's perfect.
So, here I sit. Drinking a Singha, listening to Norwegian Wood. I really dig this place, and I've only been in the tourist areas. Tomorow comes an elephant ride through the jungle, possibly a tubing trip. Won't be the same without my Jersey brethran; but, I'll suck it up an do a little Fear & Lothing on the Pai River anyway. I know that it was always supposed to be Fear & Loathing on the Mekong, but hey at least it's Southeast Asia, right?
I just stepped out of a bar with a very hip vibe. Stained glass windows of green & blue. A tilted orange lampshade on the the end table. Shoes left at the door. The band that came on had a mandolin player; needless to say my interest peaked significantly. They opened with a Johnny Cash song, then rolled right into Dylan. I kept looking at the mandolin player, just dying for the guy to pick something. Maybe some Yonder, perhaps a little Grissman. But it's a Thai band, and all he does is strum; Hell I'm lucky I got Johnny Cash. This isn't, after all Nederland.
I've done about 3 laps around the entire town, and have yet to be winded. It's a small town, sprinkled with expats and artists that made escape from Bangkok. Hill tribes offer their wears. Dogs sleep in the middle of the road, too lazy to throw in the effort to even bark. Apparently, the energy is contagious, even to our 'best friends'. There are lots for rent. A gallery wouldn't take much start up. Maybe just for 2 years, then sell. My mind drifts to Greg Brown's 'Boom Town'. I smile.