Thailand Jeep Trip – Part 2: Chang Mai to Pai
Pai is a very cool town near the Myanmar border in the extreme northeast area of Thailand. Foreign travelers meet in Pai, and hip Thai nationals move there. Prices were very inexpensive, and the atmosphere was relaxed. Pai might be my favorite town in all of Thailand. I also experienced my first chilly night since arriving in Thailand—perfect for getting good night’s sleep. I would say that my time in Pai was the apex of my travels in Thailand. I met local Thais who had a strong command of English and I was able to understand their points of view. While there are many Westerners there, they are much cooler than the typical European traveler on holiday whose goal is to drink his lights out. The days in Pai were sweltering, so people weren’t out and about doing very much at all. I used this as a good time to do work, taking advantage of the beautiful mountainous setting.
At night, we sampled the local venues like The Rock and Roll Disco Bar and BeBop. These were two of my favorite bars in the world.
After dinner, Fabien and I were walking through the night market when a 6'1" blonde accosted me, asked for the time. She nervously introduced herself and then waited awkwardly until I finally asked her if she wanted to hang out with us. It ended up being one of my bigger mistakes. Sylvia was one of the most annoying hangers-on I have ever met. Within 20 minutes of meeting her, I learned that she was traveling because her boyfriend of eight years had broken up with and given her no reason. She had a major problem with being alone. Fabien hated her immediately; I think he sensed more about her personality, because they were both Dutch. I, on the other hand, had no idea just how much of a problem she would become. The Rock and Roll Disco Bar was on the outskirts of town and had the most inviting locals. BeBop was just ridiculous. Fabien, Sylvia, and I walked into the most awesome scene—a Thai rock cover band playing "Saturday Night Special." I literally hunched over with laughter. It was so bad and so good at the same time. We hung out there for a few hours dancing to everything from "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Mr. Brownstone" to Rush’s "Tom Sawyer.” I have not laughed so hard in years, but it was a blast.