|Following on from our last entry, the plan was to head to Chang Rai for a night then cross the border into Laos. This all seemed well and good until we went out for a quiet night on the Tuesday and ended up getting back to our hostel at 3am. As you have probably guessed, Beer Chang featured heavily in the nights preceedings(again) and yes, you already know..... we woke Wednesday with monumental hangovers. It was at this point we decided to freestyle a little and radically change our plans. We had spoken to someone the night before who told of this lovely little village only 130Km's away from Chang Mai. Feeling adventurous, we checked out and just about made it to the bus station. In typical Perry fashion no sooner had we been told to buy tickets on the bus, did the bus turn up and we found ourselves sitting comfortably amongst all sorts of cargo for a 2 hour bus journey. It was only after we set off that we realised the bus journey was going to take considerably longer(4 Hours). Hung over and squashed onto a tiny bus we soon realised the error of our ways and the adventurous spirit we had embraced left us quickly. Combined with several stops, at what could be loosely described as toilets, we eventually made it with our stomach contents still intact. It was, without a doubt, the slowest "twisty turny" journey ever, but the views were remarkable.
Having made it to Pai we quickly slowed our pace to fit in with the locals. It took approximately 5 minutes to walk around the entire town. This is the kind of place people go for 2 nights and stay 2 years. We decided to hire a motorbike, well a Honda Dream 125cc actually. Having ascertained whether Mr. P. could ride a motorbike(he hadn't), it was time for a lesson. This took all of a minute. That is the "kick stand" don't ride with that down, that is the brake, this is how you change gear. After swopping our passports for the keys, finding the most cheesest helmuts possible and a few deep breaths we were off. Our first journey was back to the guest house, 100 yards from the bike rental shop. After 20 minutes of nervous silence between the two of us we decided to head off to the hot springs. On route we needed to fill up with Petrol, it only took us 10 minutes to work out where the petrol cap was!! After a very quiet journey we made it to the hot springs, where Mr P asked if there was any more room at the back of the bike. Mrs P had been a little over cautious in holding on and both driver and passneger were uncomfortably perched on the front of the seat with about 40 cm to spare at the back. No wonder locals were looking at us strangely, they must have thought we had lost 3 more passengers off the back and we hadn't realised.
All set for a cooling dip in the hot springs we embarked on a 30 minute trek. after working up a sweat and feeling extremely hot, we dipped our toes in the hot spring. The water temperature was approximately 80 C, not really bathing temperature, but at least it explained why we had been so hot trekking up to the springs. Following on from this, with a little more room on the bike, we decided to head up to a local wat for more views over Pai. This is were we experienced our first monk chat. This is not a fury animal local to nothern Thailand, but a perfect opportunity to sit and discuss budhism with a monk studying at the temple. Upon realising we were English, the Monk spent the next 20 minutes talking about the English football premier league, Wayne Rooneys extraordinary effect on the England football team and showing us his holiday snaps of when a friend came to stay. We left none the wiser about budhism.
With growing confidence we decided to do a bit of off roading and headed to the local waterfall. After 15 minutes on the dirt track (bone jarring excitement) we eventually made it. Soaked up the views and headed out to the airport to re-live that famous scene from Top Gun were Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis race the planes taking off on their Motorbike. With the wind rushing through our hair(well cheesy helmuts) and the thrill and excitement of racing planes we were living the dream(the Honda Dream).
We ended up staying for four days in Pai and only managed to escape it's magnetism by getting drunk again and travelling back early.