So today was the day we finally left Pai. It saw us riding those beautiful curvaceous roads back to Chiang Mai. All 700 of them. If they belonged to a woman, she’d be the most desirable creature in the planet… Not to mention oddly shaped. Much like our last visit to the place where time stands still, we stayed for over a week. We had enjoyed our time once again, even if we didn’t do anything, or meet as many people, and each day was pretty much the same as the last. The most part of today was spent travelling, which means there’s not really much else for me to say, so I’ll just get to it.
• Like usual I woke up before Sarah. I watched an episode of Boardwalk Empire while I waited for her to stir. Halfway through she joined the world of the living. She then got up and began sewing her broken clothes and neck pillow back together, leaving me to finish watching the show. Around 10:30am I also got. I jumped in the shower, then began packing my bag. Once again I managed to lighten my load. By now certain T-shirts I brought out with me hung from my body like sheets, due to my severe weight loss. I used that as an excuse to get rid of them, and seeing as I’d finished my book, that went as well.
• When we’d both finished packing we left our bags at reception and asked for a shuttle into town for an hours time. We then sat around the pool using the phone to go online. At 1pm the owner of the resort drove us to the AYA service building. On the way we thanked him for our stay, and told him how beautiful it was. He then surprised us by saying he owned the resort for the past 9 years, and when he first got it, it was nothing but rice fields. He also told us he had plans to expand upon on it by making the huts bigger, and for each one to contain a hammock. That explained why he was working so hard to make them during our stay. He wanted to keep just the few huts he had, as if he built anymore it would cause the resort to lose its chilled out vibe due to too many tourists staying there. When we reached AYA, we thanked him once again, then grabbed our bags and dropped them off inside. It was then time for breakfast.
• We had an hour and a half to spare before we had to be back for our minibus, and there was only one place Sarah wanted to go. The Witching Well. I thought yesterday was going to be our last visit, but it turned out destiny had another plan in store. We both had amazing meals, and we even got to see the cute puppy from Good Life next door before we left. We settled the bill and left a tip, then stopped in the 7Eleven for snacks, ready for our long haul journey. There wasn’t long to wait when we got back to the AYA building, I don’t think we sat down for all of 10 minutes before our minibus arrived.
• Like usual everyone darted to the open sliding door to ensure they got a good seat. I sent Sarah on ahead while I sorted the bags. When I got back to her it looked to me like she’d just missed out on the good ones, so I suggested we sat in the seats upfront with the driver. She wasn’t happy about this, as she told me she had in fact procured two seats, but lost them when I told her to move. Sarah then had to sit on a hard, uncomfortable seat for the three hour journey to Chiang Mai. It was quite nice to be sat upfront though. We were tempted to take a scooter and ride the 700 and something odd curves, but figured we’d probably get lost or have an accident. So the optimum viewing seats would have to suffice as a substitute. I think it’s safe to say Sarah was extremely grateful for the stop halfway back. By the time we reached the roadside restaurant, from sitting twisted the whole way, her poor back was in pieces. I offered to swap, but after our break Sarah said it would be worse for me, and she endured the final hour and a half.
• The minibus parked right outside the AYA service of Chiang Mai. We were told we’d have an hour before our next mode of transport would arrive, so we used that time to order some food. We both chose the quick dish – Pad Thai. I managed to wolf my down on accounts of being peckish, but Sarah was still eating hers when our next driver arrived. In her defence they were half an hour early. He said to Sarah he was happy to wait, but fearing she’d be keeping people waiting, she left it. We then handed the driver our ticket and climbed in the back of his silver truck, along with 8 other travellers.
• Sarah had been talking with a girl from Canada on and off during the trip from Pai, but it was during this ride we got better acquainted. By the end of the trip we still didn’t get her name though. We spoke mostly about diving, as well as giving advice on places to go based on our experiences. It wasn’t long before we were stopping to get off. I don’t think we travelled any farther than 2 miles before they said “ok, Bangkok you get off now and change vehicle”. You’ve got to love the organisational abilities of the Thai people, it’s completely scrambled yet somehow it works. We did as instructed and got off the truck, only to climb aboard an identical silver truck parked a few feet away. Everyone took a seat, then about 3 or 4 miles later we arrived at a fuel station, where a large comfortable looking coach was waiting for us.
• A Thai lady came around with a clipboard asking everyone to write down their names. I left Sarah to fill both ours out while I sorted the bags. Once again I moved the bags from one vehicle to another, then I climbed aboard to find us a couple good seats. In my opinion I had the optimum seats selected, I had the first two in front of the stars. This meant if we wanted to recline the seats we could, as there was nobody behind for it to annoy. Sarah didn’t like it because they didn’t recline as far as the others. Fortunately there was enough leg room between the seats for people to fully recline without affecting anyone else. Reluctantly I gave in and moved over to join her. Then a single Asian woman chose the seats I picked, and managed to have them all to herself the whole way. We had to wait half an hour before we left the station, so we used that time to continue talking with our Canadian friend about our travels. When the conversation ended, Sarah and I put on a movie to help relax. This was something that was quite difficult to do, as no sooner than the film ended, the drivers put on a film at full volume. Seeing as I didn’t feel like sleeping just yet, I stayed up to do my blog. As I neared the end, one of the drivers came around to tell everyone we were making a 20 minute stop.
• When we got off there was a confusing period as to which toilets were which. In the end I just used the women’s, I don’t think it made a difference as all there was inside were squat pots. It wasn’t until I came back out that I noticed the extremely large sign in bold red writing which said “MEN’S TOILET”. Seeing as we couldn’t find a sink in the ladies, we both used one in the men’s. it was there Sarah learned of the stench of stagnant urine, not something I’d wish upon anyone, thank god she was high on Xanex. We grabbed a couple drinks for the road, then did our best to get comfy on the bus to Bangkok. If all went to plan our e.t.a should be 6am, that was 7 hours from the time I finished this post.