Friday, 4 December 2015

We Joined the Circus in this Hidden Treasure Called Pai, Thailand - Nov 19-21, 2015

Nov 18-21:  
Well, it's official, I have just joined the circus...ok, maybe that is just a great marketing ploy.  It worked.  It's actually a clever hostel  that offers Poi fire spinning, slack lines, trampolining, juggling... by a couple of oldtimer late twenty somethings.  Between 4-6pm nightly, everyone is invited to join in but few do except for the newbies and diehards.  Really, its more of a travelers hippy colony full of tattoos and medicinal "oregano" smokes.  Yes, yes, it's like my entire life is traveling from one hippy colony to another.  We did meet up with one of her favourite hippy friends with dreadlocks and hippy clothes.  I found that while he was a lovely young man, the lack of shower of many young travelers is shocking.  I get it.  They stay in dorms with limited water and time to shower but really, I had to be upwind too many times.  

Pai was beautiful and quaint and so different than Bangkok.  We wandered the stalls in the heat and shopped and did our first Fish Spa together.  That was outrageous.  It's 15 minutes.  The first five, they nibble at your feet and it's maddening tickling pain.  I screamed every time they touched between the toe and they love dirty feet, which mine weren't but they had a feast. Not so much with the filthy traveling daughter but then I wouldn't feast off her feet either. The next 5 minutes are bearable  and the last five, piece of cake.  It was cheap and I'd recommend it to anyone.  

Pai has many travel agents who cater to the many many passing through.  Their night markets are fascinating too; stall after stall of roadside food offering samplings for 10-150 baht (pennies to slightly more than $1).  The food is amazing, probably because it's mostly deep fried and I do know that I will pay the price when I return but someone slaved over a hot stove and it should not go to 'waist'. Went to a real restaurant called the Pai Siam Bistro and it was mouthwatering good.  

No one should drive in Thailand, whether it is a small town or Bangkokian sized.  They drive on the reverse size of the road but tourists don't so the 1000 that rent scooters, esp in the small towns, are wobbling up the narrow streets, almost hitting pedestrians, while on the wrong side of the street.  It's a nightmare waiting to happen.  We had places to go and people to see.  My little daredevil wanted to rent a motorbike.  No I told her as I watched a young woman make every single possible driving mistake.  Half of the tourists are covered in large bandages as they take face plants and wreck their legs. These wounds are affectionately called "tattoos".  So we checked out taxi vans, too much.  Renting a bicycle is too uphill for this mama, and we could feel the day slipping away.  We happened by a taxi stand and as we got the price, two more ladies asked if they could join us then one more, the wobbly wrong side of the road young lady who had fallen and promptly returned her bike, joined us too.  Woohoo.  A full day of private escorting for next to nothing.
First sight to see was the small hike to the waterfall.  It was beautiful but what was funnier was when I took many model shots of baby in her bikini looking so  sexy in the cave above the falls until she realized she was sitting in a sea of bat guano- poop.  She was covered in it.  I laughed almost as much as her mocking me cruelly when I tried to say thank you in Thai.  Oh yes, I will never forget.  
Back along the same road, we talked the driver into stopping at the Split.  Not so very long ago, a farmer noticed the land slit apart by metres wide and very deep.  every couple of year, it happens even more dramatically. Meh!

We finished off the day at the local free hot springs.  It was just ok, and lukewarm because I really love a good hot spring and we should have paid the money to do it.  
Every day in Pai, we got glorious painful inflexible Thai massages. There were a few stretches they did to daughter that they didn't even dream of trying with me, which was disappointing.  By the end of the trip, not only had I learned how to do the stretches to someone else, but they were doing it to me.  Hmmm, maybe I should take up yoga.  

When we checked in at the Circus, I was needing a good room so I took their equivalent of a honeymoon suite cabin unlike the dorms and lean tos and it was boring but close to the lobby.  Now you might think this a plus, as I did, but they have musicians, karaoke and just plain loud speakers until midnight.  OMG I am too old for this.  I went to bed early and she partied and had fun.  The second night, I forced myself to get out of bed and join the troops.  Seems I am a bit of a cool mom because none of theirs would ever backpack with their daughter.  Trust me, I was wishing I was their moms with common sense.  I ended up having a helluva time talking about spiritual stuff with some young dudes questioning their raison d'etre.  Mama Guru Cathy was there to guide them.  

21 Nov
The next day, we packed up and left the circus, only slightly more talented with a new thing to put on my resume.  We walked towards town and settled on the only place we could find for two nights- a nice cabin...clean, deafening birds sounds- so cool, and lots of video shooting for Spoiled Rotten. 

Woke up to a fine Canadian fall day- it was muggy and cold finally, cold enough for Daughter's coconut oil to solidify. It said 2 degrees but we never figured out if that was C or F.   Sadly none of our trailor trash display of laundry dried but a small price to pay to put on warmer clothes for half an hour til the heat came back.  We did get a delightful visit from a fellow cabin mate Josh from Colorado which delayed our first meal until 1:30.  Josh was looking like a fine pork chop by the time we hustled him out.  

Tubing down their river was an adventure, not necessarily like rafting down the Ottawa River in spring though.  For only 150 baht, ($5 or 5 cents- not sure) they drive for awhile to the end and you tube back.  Easy enough.  It was low water so the elder of the group had a real hardship with the rock encores.  Every single fricken rock in the narrow river, ripped me a new one.  I learned that if I arched my back for 2 hours, a great workout, by the way, I could avoid all but the pointiest and highest of Kilimanjaros.    

I brought lots of new to me summer clothes from Canada to a poor traveler so dressed in HER MOTHER's clothes from the bathing suit, shirt  etc, she was still a lad magnet.  Compared to their one month vacations, she was becoming legendary because not only had she wandered for 5 months, she was going to continue for at least another year.  Personally, I expect her back in Canada next month after she has been gone for 6 months plus one day, just to beat my personal wandering record.  We shall see.

Back bruised from tubing, she had the opportunity to take a motor bike up with a dude to see the Big White Buddha on the hill far away.  She finally got to drive, and she got to go down the water slides that I KNOW I would have blown off and regretted for doing so.  She, however, was able to knock quite a few things off her bucket list by the time I went home.  Mommy was pleased.  

It was an oven downtown and after frittering away the rest of the day, we ended up at the Purple Monkey to have Ceasars and Poutine.  Alas, the cook left at 5, when most decent cooks clock out so we only drank.  Another place daughter may volunteer at.  She's quite the chamelion.  She was all over the Night Market which I was too tired to properly appreciate for the third night in a row (darned crazy foodies) so I went home but not until a nice guy who was trying 3 kinds of deep fried bugs, offered some to Daughter.  She actually ate crickets and silk worms.  This girl is fearless. Me on the other hand, I would have no part of it and no regrets.  I do regret not doing the waterslides and stopping in an isolated outdoor guitar bar that was calling me.  Oh well, next lifetime.  Did get to try a new salad called Khaosoi- like a shredded zucchini cabbage mixed bowl.  Another food to learn. 

My walk was the best walk ever full of surreal moments.  On the walk home, I saw something musical called maybe Handpan which was beautiful.  I remind myself that I am walking home alone in the dark in a third world country and I feel so safe.  It was quite magical. Crossing the bridge to nowhere, they were setting off the beautiful lanterns.  I need to find a thesaurus for a new word for magical.  

Blogged and Airbnb'd and tried desperately to find a couch surfing place in Chang Mai.  Narrowed down all the best to about 4, and it took forever until a tiny voice reminded me that I had not put in the dates.  OMG, rookie mistake.  Hours down the tube and now we would have to take anything because we were going to a huge festival looking for accommodations one day before it started.  If daughter wasn't looking forward to the rest of the things on our list, she would have killed me, I fear.  

Since I didn't blog on the computer for the entire trip, I have travel ravaged pages, all out of order and the dates simply don't match up. I know you don't give a rats ass because  you weren't invited on the trip but it's driving me crazy!  
Downtown Pai at the night market.
Downtown Pai in the daytime - hot! So damn hot!
Our Fish spa.  She was so dirty, the fish wouldn't even eat her feet.

One of many temples.

The view from Pai Circus was beautiful and there was a glorious pool.
The honeymoon cabin.
Our honeymoon suite.
Daughter at Pai.

The circus relaxation hammock and meeting place. 

One of many daily Thai massages.  She was way more flexible than I was.

Daughter doing Poi.  She's amazing.  

Mother, not so much.

My favourite picture of daughter at the Grand Canyon.

You couldn't pay me enough to sit where she sat.  

Some of my better photography
One of the local waterfalls.

The cave full of bat guano above the falls.

The Split
The natural hot springs

Hippies with robes, tattoos and piercings.   

Can you believe the electrical system is like this?  To fix them, they stand on the wires.  
No idea what this sign says.

Tubing down the river

The White Buddha

Choice of three edible bugs: crickets, silk worms, and something else
The quieter of the Pai cabins surrounded by birds.
The dreaded mosquito netting.  Every time a piece brushes your face, you think it's spikers

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