Let’s get back to blogging.
So where were we on the teaching front. Brenna is struggling with her kindergarteners who do not seem to grasp that I don’t understand Thai and continue to try to speak to me. As well as spank me on the butt pretty aggressively and try to pull my skirt down.
I gave out my first two quizzes because I have got to start putting some grades in the grade book.
The group in Phrae met up on Wednesday for the first ever Phrae-collective volleyball game/scrimmage on an open field/basically we just ended up playing Kindergarten games.
I shot some footage because I am entering a contest to win my roommate Ashley a trip to visit Thailand. Prepare for more info because I will be needing your support.
Let’s get back to the real reason anyone is reading this blog.
So. It was the very first 3 day weekend of my time teaching in Thailand and I had saved up a very special trip for this very special time.
Like a slice of pie.
And I had been wanting to go to Pai ever since I left Thailand 2 years ago without getting a chance to go there. It’s supposedly a backpacker’s paradise.
So, there’s this curious thing that happens with the teachers from OEG (the orientation group I was in, if you don’t remember) and that is that once word gets out that someone is thinking of going somewhere for a weekend, suddenly everybody is on board.
But I was more or less okay with that.
So, of the Phrae people: Me, Bri, Alex, Kim and Charlotte are all set to go. Andrew signed up for the trip to when we talked about it in Lampang. I also told my OEG roommate AJ and Jeff (both who live in Nan) about the trip hoping to get them on board.
Kim gets roped into this group of girls who are all shelling out to spend some night in Pai in a treehouse, but that all sounds too much for me, so I end up just booking for myself, Charlotte, Alex, Jeff and Andrew. Cause we all know boys can’t do anything for themselves.
And this is the story of how absolutely everything turned out perfectly.
Here we go!
It’s Friday afternoon and Bri and I had just finished our crazy Kindergarten classes. Having recently been told to do some weird thumb-print sign-out thing every day, we awkwardly rush to the thumb-print thing, very inappropriately interrupt the afternoon announcements/prayer time, stand in front of the school awkwardly, and then make a mad break for our apartment.
After a crazy rush to pack our things, we are out and walking to the bus station. Having figured out we could catch the bus in town has made a world of difference. Jeff is supposedly on the same bus, he’s giving us play-by-play updates. Though, when we actually catch our bus we figure out he’s on a different bus, but one that is going at exactly the same time. Who knew?
Bri and I had decided to shell out for the VIP bus tickets. (high rolling, I know). Because also I had forgotten to mention that I got paid on Wednesday!
And basically 25,000 baht making me feel like a freaking millionaire. I promptly sectioned it off into week-by-week allowances, which I then immediately did not adhere to and am already over budget.
Oh. My. Goodness. Woman. Get back to the story.
So Bri and I are in the lap of luxury in the VIP greenbus, which basically means we get the awesome perks of a cold bottle of water and a snack of a piece of bread. And a bit more elbow room.
Living the dream.
This bus was taking us to Chiang Mai, because this is a two-part trip. We get off the bus and immediately run into Jeff who I hadn’t seen in weeks and I was psyched to see. Andrew had been there about 30 minutes and was waiting for us at “Beer Terminals”. Typical.
Then the four of us went to check into our hostel. Which was my classic, old favorite Bunchun! This was the hostel I stayed in during my very first trip to Chiang Mai over 2 years ago.
And let me tell you something…memory makes everything shiny.
Because I have absolutely beautiful memories of my time in Bunchun, but when I arrived 2 years later…it had grown a bit dumpy. And then of course nothing can really live up to your memory. The upside was that it was now like 70 baht to stay, which is insanely cheap, so I didn’t feel s guilty. Plus we were only there a night.
Our night in Chiang Mai consisted of getting food at an Irish Pub, Drinks at a bar full of prostitutes, and then buying some Leos out of the back of some random lady’s van.
Wow. This is a long story.
It’s 7am and we’re waking up, getting fried rice from 7-11, and booking it to the bus station to catch the 8:30 van from Chaing Mai to Pai. And guess who we run into on the van? AJ!
Chiang Mai memories.
A.J. bless her fucking heart. She is most positive, chill, easy to talk to person I have ever met in my entire life. She was exactly the person I needed to spend the weekend with. I’m contributing the majority of my constant good mood this weekend to the fact that she was around me the whole time.
We didn’t get a ton of time to catch up on the bus because I had downed some dopamine because the van from Chiang Mai to Pai has 700 turns. I just listened to calming a cappella music and tried to keep my eyes open to look at the road. However, the drugs basically zombie-fied me, but luckily I didn’t throw up.
Then we got to Pai!
That’s right folks. Welcome to hippie paradise. We were immediately overwhelmed by the amount of tattooed, dread-head, elephant-pant-wearing, men-in-flip-flop people that just filled the streets. So many more farangs than locals. The Venice Beach of Thailand (if you will)
Our first hostel was about a stones throw from where the bus dropped us off. We were fucking pleased considering all the other (totally not as fortuitous) people had booked a hostel a bit outside of town and had to do the trek of getting to and from. We just bounced into our hostel and then bounced out quick for some food.
And the fortuity just continued to get better. At breakfast, which…I should add, I got freaking eggs benedict, which thoroughly satisfied Hungry Janet.
And who had we run into at this point? It was me, Charlotte, Andrew, AJ, Alex, Jeff and then we met up with Margaret (from Lampang) and Jackie (also on the Lampang weekend, but she’s in Chiang Mai teaching).
News comes to us in the form of either a text from Kim or an announcement from Jackie (don’t remember) that the other OEG people (there were numerous) we planning on hitting up a waterfall for the day. I was drowsy, stuffed full of eggs benedict, and just thinking…ehhhh, really? And as I was thinking that Charlotte looks at me and suddenly we’re on the same page like…”uh, y’all can go, but I think we’d rather spend the day in the city hanging out and seeing what Pai is like”
Best decision ever.
Because as everyone else goes to rent motorbikes and head to the waterfall, me, Charlotte, Andrew, and Alex decide to just wander. We kill some time and then Andrew is like talking about getting a tattoo and I’m like “yeah I want one too”.
We look up a place and end up at Magic Monkey. And we walk in and I’m like “hey can you do this?” And they’re like “yah, come back in an hour. And i’m like…alright I guess I’m doing this.
Andrew isn’t really seeing anything he wants so we keep wandering, killing time, and come up on this truly awesome “Chai cafe”
We’re drinking our Chais and Andrew is going on and on about his tattoo. (Did I mention that that boy likes to talk?) Well, as he’s going on some random German chick leans over to our table like “oh sorry, couldn’t help but hear are you talking about tattoos? Because I actually work at a tattoo shop here”
And she plops her book of tattoo designs down in front of us and Andrew is like “yeah this is exactly what I want” And she spends like 7 minutes max talking to him about what kind of things he wants. And then she’s like “okay come to our shop at like 7pm”. And then she’s gone like some magical angel and we’re all like “is this real life”
At this point it’s time for me to return to Magic Monkey. And…
I bought a crochet top specifically to show off my tat, went back to the hostel, killed some time playing my ukulele, and to top it off the waterfall group returns and informs us that it was less than mediocre. Bless.
Pai is getting ready for a big night market. And word is going around through texts and line messages that we are trying to get a big group together for dinner. We end up with about 2 dozen people meeting up at our hostel (had I mentioned that I picked the best, super central hostel totally by fate/crazy random happenstance?). And that wasn’t even all the OEG people in the city this weekend.
We got some Thai food (typical) and then split up again. It really is next to impossible to keep a group that big together, especially when markets are involved. We go to meet up with the chick who was designing Andrew’s tattoo, he takes one look and says “it’s perfect”. What are the freaking chances?!
So, Charlotte and I leave him and Alex and go to find this place I had found on the internet called “Edible Jazz” that I was interested in. Well, would you believe it was fucking perfect?
When Char Char and I arrived there weren’t a ton of people there, but there were two hammocks available, plenty BeerLao, and live music. I was in heaven. We spent about 2 hours there. And I was texting people trying to let them know we had found the perfect spot in Pai. The place slowly started to fill up, but we had our prime spots.
Could life get better?
Well, then the rest of the crew showed up, and Edible Jazz was getting pretty crowded so we decided to bail for some other bar to really turn the night up.
It was an amazing night because there were just so many people I loved. And I was taking a ton of photos. And we went to this place where I got my face painted in blacklight and I’ve never had that happen in a bar before.
Yeah, that’s me in the dark.
We finished the night with the basically required ham and cheese toasties from 7-11 and then passed out!
I woke up feeling great. I got myself some more eggs benedict. Then we packed up our stuff because Brenna had made the (crazy random happenstance) amazing decision to spend the second night outside the city a bit in SpicyPai.
While the other girls were going to their “treehouse” we were renting motorbikes and checking into Spicy.
Can you imagine a more perfect hostel?
And after the crazy night, I was more than happy to have a beautiful day outside the city. Was I like psychic when planning this trip? Char Char left us at that point to go the treehouse, unfortunately. But Jeff, Andrew, Alex, AJ, and I checked into spicy.
Then we met the girls at their “treehouse”.
Now, it’s in quotes because when they were booking they were so psyched to get little bungalows up in an actual tree. And the paid out the ass for it too…but in typical Thai fashion, the treehouses were actually on the ground.
And then it was also super far outside of town and so they are trying to figure out how to go to the bar and then get home and AJ and I are kind of just looking at each other like…well, everything worked out for us. And the best part was that of all the people we were arguably the two of the least concerned with plans and probably two of the least anxiety-ridden of the group.
Doesn’t that just show you?!
So, at this point I am in a great mood, because I had just totally by accident made the absolute best decisions on the trip.
AJ and I decide we want to go to the canyon, and because we are just trend setters, we end up with a pretty big entourage going to the canyon. Which (could you guess) turned out to be amazing!
It was just the right about of climbing/hiking.
I was literally on top of the world. And figuratively on top of the world. I just kept telling AJ, “I am so blissed out, right now”. Which is my creative way to describe that feeling when just everything seems to be going right.
What a beautiful group of farangs!
We head to sunset bar at this point. And then I spend what could possibly be one of the best afternoons of my life sitting in a hammock watching the sunset with some people that I really, really love.
This pic could only cover a little bit of what this beautiful sunset was. It was Andrew, Alex, Jeff, AJ and me hanging out at Spicy. And at one point Alex is telling us about winning a competition for playing the recorder when he was a kid and I was laughing so hard I thought I was going to pass out. I had to leave the little hut.
I just played my ukulele, laughed until I cried, and felt like life could not get any better.
I followed that beautiful moment up with some bomb Mexican food back in town, another 2 hours at Edible Jazz, and then a late night staring out at some of the most amazing stars I’ve ever witnessed.
And as I’m lying outside I saw a shooting star!
And I won’t tell you what I wished for, but I kind of felt like I had already gotten it.
Disclaimer: I would like to mention that there were a ton of OEG people that were also in Pai that I really, really love. And that I just couldn’t include every beautiful moment with everyone in this blog post because that is way too many names and stories and my mom and my grandma would definitely get confused. 🙂