"Thanks and thanks again to Him who offers to the man whom the sorrows of life have assaulted and left naked–offers to him the fig leaf of the Word with which he can cover his wretchedness." -Søren Kierkegaard

Pai

Posted in Travel by matt on Saturday, March 7, 2009

After a 14 hour overnight train ride and getting carsick on a 4 hour bus ride through the mountains, Cayla and I finally arrived in Pai. Oh and Mom if you’re reading this please know this: I solemnly promise never to tease you about car sickness again. I’ll also never intentionally drive around curves at an irresponsible speed again either. Ugh…that was so miserable. I’ve finally felt your pain.

Oh man, and this little town is the ultimate hippy retreat. Surrounded by mountains and being relatively unknown to many tourists, Pai is the ideal place in Thailand to get away and relax a little. We dubbed this trip our “relaxing honeymoon” since the impending trip to Europe will be pretty hectic.

Anyway, we spent our time there eating as much good food as we could (I had the best french toast of my life there), exploring, and walking around the market areas.

On our first night we went to a restaurant called Mama Falafal. This place was incredible. We ordered thinking they’d be Thai portions, but we ended up eating enough for 3 or 4 people – it was the best Jewish food I’ve ever had! Mama Falafal and her husband were so friendly and willing to help me practice my Thai. We were actually getting so chummy that I decided to ask them about what they believe and found out they’re both Christians. Mama Falafal smiled real big and told me, “I’m a Christian, but I cook Jewish food. Heehee!”

I’m not 100% sure what that means, but God bless her. I think that was the most amazing restaurant meal I’ve had in a loooong time.

After that we went for smoothies at some strange hippy cafe. There were weird crystals and you ate on the floor with pillows. There were two menus; one was for the actual drinks and food and the other was titled the “Divine Healing Menu” and it’s contents were all kinds of weird. Evil spirit removal, group meditation, reiki spirit crystals, card readings, or just all of that thrown together at a discount price. It was wack.

Cayla pointed out the ironic clash of culture. First a sweet little old Thai lady who was a Christian (less than 1% of Thais are) and cooked Isreali food, the second a bunch of foriegners running a New Age healing cafe. Strange, strange world.

The next day we decided to rent two bikes and ride them up a mountain to a waterfall. A Thai shopkeeper in town told us the trip would be about 3 kilometers, but I should have known better than to ask a Thai. Concrete concepts like time, directions, distances, etc. are really not that important to Thais. They rarely seem to know/care exactly what time it is, and every time we ask for directions or distances we get different figures. Even their road signs are inconsistent!

It ended up being about 10…uphill. Not to mention the waterfall was not that great. But I don’t mind since I’m not so good with distances or directions either, and it was a good experience with some much-needed exercise considering we spent the rest of the trip being total slugs and eating too much.

I’ve posted a few pictures of our little excursion. There are some of each of the things I mentioned above and of the Gilligan’s Island style hut that we stayed in. Good times.

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