Saturday, February 11, 2006

Hippies are alive and well and living in Pai Thailand

Pai - according to the travel books, is a small peaceful town high in the hills of Northern Thailand. What better place to visit to escape the bussle of Chaing Mai.

I went by mini-bus, up bumpy and winding roads, high into the mountains. Almost four hours later I arrived and looked for a small hotel in a quite location. I found what seemed to be ideal, on a side road, with an inside courtyard, the quaint rooms had rustic balconies surrounded by trees and tea and coffee were delivered each morning. I checked in and went for a walk.

Pai has four north/south roads and four east/west roads and is bounded by a small river, The streets mostly contain small shops, bars and restaurants, AND everywhere, MOTORBIKES, driven by topless foreign men with scruffy hair or dreadlocks (thought they went out with the ark) and on the curb dozens of hill tribe women all selling the same goods. Music blared out from bars and cafes, mostly ancient rock. The only mode of public transporation is on the back of "taxi motorbikes" no tuk-tuk or car taxis.

Seeking refuge from the noise I went back to my hotel to be entertained by the sound of Elvis blaring from a record player in the maids bedroom. I went to her door, she was fast asleep and not at all accomodating when I asked her to turn down the music.

After an expensive and not very satisfactory meal, I went to bed early, to be awakened constantly by the sounds of dogs barking, people arguing and for some reason, pots and pans being thrown around.

I thought that it could not get much worse but at five in the morning I was awakened by cocks crowing, dogs barking and the high pitch of the faithful being called to prayer by the small local Muslim community.

I left on the first mini-bus out that morning.

I think that the moral to this story is not to believe everything the lonely planet writes.

 

2002-2012 Barbara Elias   

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