Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thailand: Around Pai

After catching our breath for a few days at Suansawan, we were ready to head north. Our first stop was Pai, where we were excited to spend time with good friends. Of course, we had to get there first, so we took a taxi to the bus station in Chiang Mai, and from there got on a mini bus for the three hour ride north to the little mountain town of Pai. The road is only 135 kilometers, but there are over 700 curves and hairpin turns along the way! Erik picked up some motion sickness pills at a ubiquitous 7-11 before the journey, and thankfully everyone did fine. (On the ride back the man behind us was throwing up in a plastic bag. I will spare you any more details.) We arrived in Pai and waited for the shuttle that was supposed to come pick us up to take us to the hotel. They knew we had six people plus luggage, so when the motorcycle with sidecar appeared, it didn't occur to me that it was for us! We continued to wait and finally Erik called them again, only to learn we had missed them already! They sent out the driver again, and he ferried us and our bags back to the hotel. Getting there is always an adventure! The kids have deemed this the Best Transportation Ever and have decided that when we get home we should sell the Suburban and buy one of these. That would certainly be an adventure!  

There is a small river that runs through Pai, and a number of pedestrian only bridges made of bamboo. Pearl was a little hesitant at first to step foot on it, but she quickly realized it was sturdy.

These lovely people are the reason we came to Pai. Fifteen years ago, I first traveled to Asia with a group of friends including Rachel and Chinua. We shared life and traveled together for the better part of a year. They married shortly after that trip, and Erik and I were married a few months later. In the following years, we all had lots of children, and have only seen each other every few years. They now live in Pai, and it was so fun to get to visit them. They warmly welcomed us into their home and it was wonderful to share food and memories while our children deepened friendships with one another. 

Dragonfruit! It's pink!

My favorite sign so far. Don't squat on the western toilets! 

Peregrine's passion right now is filmmaking, and he's had big dreams of the movie he would make during our time in Thailand. Chinua graciously brought out his camera and spent hours filming the kids' post-alien war movie! I will be sure to post it when the editing is done.

It makes me so happy to see these two playing together. Rachel happened to be visiting the day I went into labor with Raphi, and she (and Solo, who was in utero) were some of his first visitors!

The kids were fascinated with this huge, woven palm leaf that was on a trash pile outside of a temple we walked by.

The tip-top of the wat.

I'm always intrigued by marketplaces in different countries. Bicycles and cookware all on the same aisle! Yay!

Rachel is an artist and author, expressing beauty with pen, paintbrush, and words. I own a few of her prints already, and was happy to buy a couple more. (No shipping!) You can check out her etsy shop here. She's running a 25% off sale now through the end of the month, making her beautiful artwork a great deal. I love the detail she puts into her paintings. She is also about to publish her second novel, and you can read more about it on her blog, Journey Mama. (I wrote a review of her first novel here.) She's also published compilations of her reflective blog posts. I'm excited to read her new book, a story about a traveler in India.

Street food is another reason I love to travel. It seems that every culture has its smoking grill of interesting meats!
Stay tuned for more Pai pictures, including a day with the elephants! 

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