What is Pai? Where did it come from?

A wealth of activity to catch up on since my last post. The journey from Chiang Mai to Pai was a bit of a horror show. In all seriousness it was the shortest of my intercity travels so far but I was sat over the rear axle of a decrepit minibus on
terrible roads with Chinese tourists that insisted on filming the journey out of the open window which meant the mosquitoes quickly found their way in. Ausgezeichnet!
But I made it here in one peice reaching the khao san of the north. In all honesty its not all bad as its the dry season so minimal tubing clientele.
I booked a 2 day trek for the following morning and booked into the most luxurious accommodation I’ve stayed in so far. Simply to avoid hiking about enquiring about rooms with back pack in tow.
Woke up at the crack of dawn and had a hearty breakfast to fuel me. We had a French speaking crew of 6 and a lahoo tribe guide named Mr Mike. But lost a parisian on day 2 due to food poisoning. We carried delicious home cooked rice and vegetables wrapped in banana leaves. And to think I considered not packing my camelback! We had a steep incline to the village we were staying in 5 hours from Pai. It was a stunning landscape with busy preparations for new year being carried out. We ate an incredible dinner a full spread of 6 dishes and became instantly wiped out. Carbocide!
We were awoken the following morning at sunrise to the noise between the constant battle between the cockerels, dogs and pigs. It was deafening. Then the call to prayer was blasted through giant speakers 2 huts away. No happy bunnies in sight.
After a mammoth breakfast we set off for another 4 hour hike before the heat took hold. It was now valentines day and en route I spotted this cheeky number scored into the concrete of a water pump in the hillside. How very apt:
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Despite being assured that day 2 would be an easier hike it was anything but. All really steep inclines and declines following the river. We were rewarded however with the most spectacular caves at Tham Lod. Got back to town and checked into a riverfront bungalow and booked the slow boat to Laos. Unfortunately Friday was fully booked so an extra day in Pai. But this meant that I could enjoy caprinhas with my valentines day steak dinner so every cloud! A wee bit of Thai romance for my followers.
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