It is no secret that I love pie. Mary Ann Coskery (my dear friend Brittany’s mother) will attest to this in earnest as she makes the BEST strawberry pie in all the land. I am defenseless against it; it is my kryptonite. And as any true pie lover knows, if you don’t have “a slice” of pie, but instead attack it at random with a fork, the calories don’t count. “No I didn’t have four slices… I had a section. Different.” Ultimately, my love of pie has little to do with this post, except that I recently visited Pai, Thailand and loved it, too. So now I’m a fan of pie and Pai but I remain ambivalent about pi. Not much of a math buff.
I had been told that the road from Chiang Mai to Pai was “pretty windy,” which turned out to be the understatement of the century. There are 762 turns in 87 miles which you cover in just over three hours. As someone who gets car sick, it could have been disastrous. However, with the help of some controlled breathing exercises (yes Mom, I’ve been listening all these years), I escaped without making a major scene in front of ten total strangers. Upon exiting the minivan, Matt and I were greeted by a chilled-out, hippy oasis set deep in the mountains. Exhale.
Besides petting every street dog in town (you know I’m not kidding), we had a few extra special adventures during our three days in Pai: we hiked to[wards] the Mae Yen waterfall, I got a haircut, and Matt took a Muay Thai boxing class. Expanded highlights are as follows:
Waterfall excursion – According to the map, the Mae Yen waterfall is just 7km from town—a distance that Matt and I figured we could cover (round trip) in about three hours. We set out on the picturesque trail through thick forest and followed the stream as it wound its way further and further away from town. The path seemed to either disappear or literally drop-off at several points, leaving us literally clamoring along the hillside. During one particularly sharp drop-off we realized that there were spiders everywhere. Absolutely everywhere… everywhere. There was no open spot to grab a hold of and if you froze, you could hear them scurrying around. While the long-leggers don’t typically faze me, there is something seriously unsettling about being outnumbered a million+ to two. Fight or flight kicked in and I, well, ran like hell. We walked for about two hours before running into our first fellow-hikers who said that they had gone another hour or so further and had not seen the falls. As the sun began to set and hit the hill line, we decided to turn around and cut our losses. At least it had been a beautiful walk. On our way back to town we noticed a sign that said “7km to waterfall, 3 hours out, 3 hours back.” Whoops.
Hair cut – After a few months in the sun I was in bad need of a trim and hoped that just about anyone could cut a straightish line and get the job done. I eventually found a small storefront with a single parlor chair and headed inside. I’m fairly certain that the “salon” owner was asleep upon entry, but was quickly up-and-at-em to negotiate a shampoo, haircut, and blow dry for 350 THB (~$12). It seemed a bit steep, but my options were limited. In the end I received a solid cut, blow-dry, and adorable braided style (she just went ahead and did that on her own). I also received a serenade during my shampoo (I didn’t clap at the end, perhaps I should have) and looked on as she held my hair up to her face like a wig while giggling and saying “so beautiful, so beautiful.” She was very sweet and I think that the story and memory are worth a solid $13. Total deal.
Muay Thai class – I thought about joining Matt at the Muay Thai training center for approximately half a second. Thankfully the thought was fleeting; instead I decided to head over post-cut to snap a few pictures before the end of class. Upon entering the 50’ perimeter of the boxing ring I was greeted with a waft of sweat and manliness. Or perhaps it was sweat and ringworm. Either way… I then sat idly by as the group of 15 completed 45 minutes of ab exercises and pushups. While I typically maintain a solid workout regimen at home, I’ve been on a serious body vacation for 2 months. I’m fairly certain I would have died. And I didn’t even see the first 1.5 hours of battle. Matt did great and enjoyed it while I found a puppy to cuddle with under a table near the ring. Both walked away happy.
Pai— go on and get yourself a piece!