Bye Pai

Just came back from a day riding around the countryside on a motorbike for most of the day. Beautiful, but hot and exhausting. For lunch we went to Sipsongpanna, a place in the village of Wiang Nur that Chris, Howie’s friend, recommended. Deelicious Thai vegetarian food, if you ever get up this way (and if you can find it!).

Yesterday Marjan and I took a Thai cooking class at Pai Cookery School. The proprietor, Gaew, was extremely gracious, knowledgeable, and patient (especially when we decided we wanted to customize the menu a bit). The class included a trip to the local market, where she told us about Thai ingredients and dishes other than what we were making. The market sells everything from papaya to roasted cicadas and various other bugs. Which reminds me – I neglected to mention that I *tried* a roasted cicada during my trek last week. (I removed the head before eating – I couldn’t bear the eyeballs.) It was…salty and crunchy and I got little legs caught in my teeth. I shan’t eat them, unless I’m under great duress.

In the evening after class we met up with Chris. We tried to meet at a bar, but they were all closed last night – no place was allowed to sell alcohol (though the markets still sold bottles) because today is election day, and the government figures if people drank they wouldn’t get up to go to the polls. That’s a new one for me.

Anyway, instead we went to a local bakery and Chris told us about his 4 years living in Pai, and how much it’s changed. Definitely interesting to hear about the place from an adopted local!

So tomorrow morning I’m on a 7am mini bus back to Chiang Mai, then on a plane down to Phuket, where the nice people at Similan Diving Safaris are sending a taxi to pick me up and bring me to them in the town of Khao Lak, on the Andaman coast. They’re even going to help me find a guesthouse nearby for Monday & Tuesday nights. Then on Wednesday I’m off on a 4-day, 4-night dive trip on the M/V Dolphin Queen to the Similan Islands, Surin Islands, Koh Bon, and Richelieu Rock. YEAH.

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