Day 186: Pai-ning For My Queen

It was a sad day for us all, Anna had to leave us. Her parents wanted her to fly home to Denmark for a family affair, so she left early morning to go back to Bangkok. She woke us up at 6am before she left so we could officially say our goodbyes. After that, we fell back asleep, then spent the morning with Anna’s friend Emma. We shared breakfast before catching a bus to Pai. We found our accommodation and stayed there for the rest of the afternoon. In the evening we popped out for food, then came back to talk with family, watch tv, and go to bed. That’s the long and short of the days activities, but if you wish to read the smaller details in between, then by all means, carry on.

• Oh, actually, I should start with a very amusing story of what happened during the night. By the time I’d finished writing my blog the time was 2am. In a way I guess you could say it was perfect timing, as Anna and Emma came back to the room just after. We all quietly chatted amongst ourselves, all the while, the drunken British guy was on the top bunk above me, passed out. He began sleep talking when he heard us, then started to stir. We a fell silent as he fumbled about with a coin in his hand. The next thing we heard was the coin hitting the floor, followed by a load thud. The drunkard had fallen from his bed (a height of which was a good 6 foot) and landed on the stone flooring below, hard! There was a moment of silence as we tried to assess if he was ok, or at the very least, conscious. “Urghhhhhh”, was the sounds he made. He’s alive. Sarah immediately turned on the lights, then came the hysterics. Somehow during this guys fall he had managed to pull his shorts down. As he led there, making groaning sounds, his arse was fully exposed to the room. He soon stood back up, with the aid of Anna, and climbed back to his bed. “Where am I? What happened?” Were his words. This wasn’t because of the fall, he was asking those questions before hand. He was just really lucky he didn’t break anything, it was probably all the alcohol in his system that caused him to be so floppy. Had he been stiff, I’m certain he would have sustained a lot more damage.

• Sarah was worried about staying in the next bed over from him (a bed of which she stole from me). So she decided to come down to my level and join me. About 10 minutes later, 2 American girls burst in through the door, turning on the lights, and shouting and laughing around the room. It’s safe to presume it took a while to nod off. Surprisingly though, to say there were two of us on a single bed, we managed to sleep. I even found it quite comfy.

• It was 10:30am by the time we woke up, and miraculously, the drunk man had managed to catch his 10am bus to Pai. When we had packed our bags we invited Emma to join us for breakfast. We checked out ahead of time, then visited a small bar beside our hostel. We each enjoyed a small ciabatta, and I used Facebook to find out if the dog that bit me was still alive. It was. I was officially done with the jabs. We only had 10 minutes to spare by the end of breakfast, so quickly we returned to grab our things.

• We couldn’t have been at the hostel for any longer than 10 minutes, before a driver showed up to collect us. We said our goodbyes to Emma, and she told us she’d get our contact info from Anna. We then climbed into the back of a silver truck along with a European couple. I don’t know which country it was they were from, but I will say the guy was definitely punching above his weight with the woman sat opposite him. She was a tall slim blonde woman with a really good tan, and an even better pair of…..”eyes”. We drove around the corner before making another stop. This was the last collection of the day, it was to pick up an American traveller called David. He introduced himself as he hopped in the back with us, and later told me he was from New York. This was looking promising, I could have a new guy friend to hang out with.

• The truck took us to the AYA service building, there we switched vehicles to a minibus. We threw our bags in the back and had a pick of any seat we wanted. We had to wait for another truck load of people to show up before we could set off, so I used that time to chat more with my new pal. David explained how he’d met a few celebrities through living in New York, Chris Rock being one of them. He also told me he’d been visiting a few Muay Thai training camps, as back home he studied various martial arts. I thought to myself, David might be one of those guys I could get on with, then the rest of the people showed up, cutting our conversation short.

• I ended up next to a rather hippyish looking gentleman. Which is great don’t get me wrong, I don’t judge people. If you want to grow your hair long and dread it, that’s fine, if you want to wear hemp clothing, that too is fine, but for the love of god, just because you think you may be one with the earth, a free spirit or whatever, it doesn’t excuse you from washing. Basic hygiene should be something everyone does right? Unless of course you don’t have the means, like if you lived in a third world country, which I’m certain this guy wasn’t. It wasn’t until the a/c stopped that I noticed it, the scent was a combination of body odour and damp clothing. It was offensive to say the least. The smell soon disappeared when the driver saw me attempting to turn the a/c back on though. It roared to life when he hit a switch, and everyone on the bus was elated with the cold air.

• We made the same stop as last time, just shy of the halfway point, to a roadside cafe to use the toilets and grab snacks. We spoke with David a little while more, then it was back on the bus for another hour or so.

• When we arrived, Pai looked very busy. We were dropped at the AYA service, and unlike last time, we actually had a reservation. The only problem was, our resort was 3km away, which doesn’t sound far, but when you’ve got baggage, it is. Sarah enquired about getting a bike at the counter while I grabbed our bags. It was a bit strange, as the lady said “sorry, motorbike finished”, yet 10 minutes later 2 guys managed to hire some. We enquired about getting a taxi, but when we found the taxi booth there was nobody in sight. In the end, AYA services called for one for us.

• It cost 150 baht for the short journey, but we were just happy to have reached our pre booked resort. Our troubles weren’t over yet it appeared. When we spoke with the man behind reception, the same thing happened as it did in Chiang Mai, they had no spaces until the next day (which we had reserved). Apparently what had happened was they’d sold all the rooms during our booking, but the Internet hadn’t updated the availability in time, leading to a double booking of one room. The owner then did the same thing as the guys in Chiang Mai, and helped us find somewhere else to stay.

• He drove us all of 10 metres in his truck to the resort next door. They had availability, so we decided to stay for one night. The owner of the other place apologised for the trouble, and said if we wanted to use the pool at his resort we could, and if we needed a lift to town later on that day, he’d happily take us free of charge. You can’t argue with their hospitality. Our private room was quaint. It overlooked a murky river, but to the side of the building were large green fields, with cows grazing away.

• We paid the lady ahead of time, losing the small deposit we’d made online, then for the rest of the afternoon, until sunset, we remained in our room. Like usual we watched a tv show or two, and at one point we spoke with Sarah’s dad. He informed us my Nintendo 3DS had arrived, and I was now even more excited for their arrival. Around 7pm we decided to take the guy up on his offer of a free lift to town.

• To get the free lift it meant we had to walk those 10 metres from earlier. This sounds easy, but it became slightly tricky because of a pack of stray dogs imitating wolves. There were at least 8 of them bunched together on the roadside, howling and barking. Two of them even strayed from the pack to follow us. I was expecting another attack, in which case I would have shoved Sarah up on the wall out the way, and stomped my feet on the ground. It wouldn’t have done anything, but at least I’d have looked like a hero. The man had no qualms with taking us, and 5 minutes later we were in town.

• It had been months since we left Pai, and all I could think about whenever the place was mentioned was one particular eatery. It went by the name “Ping’s Burger Queen”, I may have raved about it before. So obviously that’s where I wanted to go. We walked all the way down the strip where it was before, but this time around I couldn’t find it. “Oh no, say it ain’t so. Could they really have closed down since last time?” Was all I could think. We stopped in the 7Eleven for a slurpee, but even that didn’t happen, there was no slurpee machine. I was having doubts about returning to Pai anyway, as last time we made a great group of friends, and it wouldn’t be the same without them. And now burger queen had gone, and there were no slurpees, what was I to do!!?

• We did a return walk along the same strip, only this time we found it. “Phew!” It was still there, just closed. Because it wasn’t lit up, that’s how we so easily missed it. There was a sign on the door which said they wouldn’t be open until the flowing Monday, 3 days time! “Son of a….”. We remembered there was a good Thai restaurant we visited last time, so began walking there. That too was closed, so in the end we stopped in a neighbouring restaurant. They sold good food, and I managed to enjoy a burger all the same. It was actually very nice. After paying and stopping in the shop for water, we walked all the way back to our resort.

• It wasn’t that bad a walk really, and definitely wasn’t as far as 3km. It took us 20 minutes in total. Back in our room we took it in turns to talk with our families, Sarah spoke with her sister and niece first. For the frost time since Isla’s birth I heard her say my name. The little gem is getting more and more intelligent each time we speak to her, adding new words to her ever increasing vocabulary on a daily basis. She’s already ten times smarter than the drunkard we shared a room with the night before. After that call, I spoke with my mum. She had great news for us, the package I’d sent home in February had finally arrived. I talked her through which presents were hers, and she joked it was just like Christmas. Irony was, they were intended to be Christmas/birthday gifts, especially the baby mobile Sarah bought her niece. I cut the conversation shorter than usual, as time was getting on and I was tired. I promised to phone the next day, then Sarah and I got into bed to watch tv shows once again. I began the days blog and finished around 2am. I’m now exhausted and in need of sleep. At least this time I won’t have to worry about a drunken idiot attempting to swan dive from above me.

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