Sunday, October 16, 2005

October 24: Pai

(1) If Pai had a mob boss, it would be the fast talking Chinese guy who runs Aya Service, a centrally located business that rents motorbikes, secures travel visas, and operates shuttle service to and from Chiang Mai. Basically, he's the man with the plan... even if he is a jerk. I decided to rent one of his motorbikes for the day, and rode out to Wat Mae Yen. The temple is situated up on a hill on the other side of the river, and offers some of the best views of the area. Above the entrance to one of the shrines within the temple, I found this mural - a rather strange bit or artistry for such a peaceful and holy place.

(2) My next stop on this grand tour of Pai was Tha Pai Hot Springs, six kilometers away from the temple. Nestled within a peaceful and well maintained park, the pools of water bubble up from the ground at 80 degrees celsius... that's 176 degrees fahrenheit. Needless to say, unless you're keen on cooking your internal organs, you can't just dive into the springs. However, the water does flow in streams to smaller pools that are slightly cooler. I didn't bother getting wet, choosing, instead, to stare at the rising steam.

(3) Traveling from the eastern end of Pai to the further western stretches of town, I enjoyed smooth riding along the well-paved, scenic roads. Passing through several Lisu villages, where, coming and going, I was twice offered opium by the same toothless woman, I stopped at the Mor Paeng Waterfall for a little relaxation. Half an hour later, I was back on the road toward Pai's center, stopping, briefly, to have a peak at a nearby Chinese Refuge. There were other popular destinations in and around Pai, but at this point in the trip I wasn't overly interested in organized tours and activities.

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At 3:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peyote is a cactus idigenous to northern Mexico and the southwestern US. It does not exist in SE asia. She must have been offering you betel nut or perhaps some sort of mushroom.

At 7:42 AM, Blogger Jarrett Bellini said...

Thanks for the heads up... I think I meant to say "opium." Not sure why that didn't jump out at me before. I've made the change.


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