23.07.2011 - 01.08.2011 35 °C
What we've learned: A variety of things.
Sorry for the delay but we have been having too much fun to even think about anyone other than ourselves.
We arrived in Pai after a 4 hour ordeal on a bus from Chiang Mai, this particular bus route consisted of 784 hair-pin bends (fact -look it up) up and down a mountain. The bus driver did not slow down for a single one, and thought them to be the suitable places to overtake other traffic. After arriving in Pai, finally, we had a beer to celebrate our lives and look at a map of this amazing place. We had previously booked a hut at a guest house with breathtaking views and decided to walk there...Bad move! It was very, very hot indeed and although on the map it looked very simple, the map did not tell us that the end of the walk included an extremely steep hill with 1001 barking dogs all the way up. Needless to say, we arrived at our new home making a very embarrassing first impression (very red and horribly sweaty). But, it was perfect.
After a few drinks to “calm us down” we set off to beddington, which did not go as planned. Unfortunately, Mads woke up in the middle of the night extremely ill, sore throat etc.. After some medicine and a bit of love from Ben, they were wide awake. There is a considerable amount of wildlife in the mountains in Pai, and this kept us awake. Suddenly, there is a noise that made us both cling to each other for dear life. The noise we heard sounded like a clock tower. However, the chimes got louder and faster, and Ben was sure that it was coming closer and lay in bed paralysed with fear. 'Ben, I'm scared', 'BE QUIET!!!' That was it, we were sure they were coming, we'd entered some kind of cult and everyone we'd met were in on it, including the townsmen. Previously we'd met a boy called Felix, for approx. 2 mins, we trusted him and concluded that he wasn't part of this murderous cult. This fear brought us an exceptional amount of escape routes.
Footsteps and more gongs near our isolated hut. Ben beats them with the fan and Mads jumps out of the window and runs in underwear into the darkness with Ben sacrificing himself. Soon to realise, it's the nice owner of our camp witnessing Mads sprinting in the dark, asking if we're ok, but Mads has gone..
These ideas went on all night, until it got to morning, when we decided we were allowed to sleep. What an adventure.
The Next day it was discovered, by us, that we had both entered “the realm of the unwell”. We had both acquired colds previously thought by Ben to be the first signs of malaria. (I've just been asked/ordered/forced to inform you that Madeline was considerably sicker than Ben) .....(because of her chest) – she has a bad chest.
After we pulled each other out our mosquito net, we set off down to town where we, like all good tourists, rented out a moped risking the lives of the locals and other tourists. However, everyone was doing it, so it's safe right? Anyway, so like the geeks we are, we were the only couple who wore helmets and travelled at 20KM/hour. But it was so much fun. Pai is so beautiful and we spent the days travelling on our new bike in and out of this mountainous valley, through villages, past elephants and across mountains. It was amazing. We couldn't leave. We stumbled across some hotspings, £4 in. It was shit. We weren't allowed to swim, rainy season and all that. But we did see a rather effective boiling of an egg. We were in the hotsprings national park for approx. 7 minutes (completing the so-called trail) before speeding off (20km/h) on our sweet ride. That night, Mads felt ill and Ben went and practiced turning right, and turns out left turns were hard too with all that power behind him.
In our nine days in Pai, we had to get over our horrible disease and relax, but it didn't stop us doing what we like to call 'adventurous activities'. One of which was elephant riding (this is not for the faint hearted) This particular ride consisted of bare-back riding for 10 minutes and frolicks in the river for as long as you can.
We were made to sit on the elephants neck and were tipped off into the raging river (this wasn't fun the first time and didn't increase in pleasure the next 10 times we were asked to do it). Madeline was also scared she was going to swept underneath the adjacent elephant. As the time went by, the activity became more scary, more tiring and just as weird with this local laughing HYSTERICALLY at the foreigners who are on the brink of tears.
On a serious note the elephants were border line beaten and hooked in the ears to make them roll and bend for 'our fun'.
Along our Pailand journey, we met many people, including our Canadian counterparts.. our new best friends forever Keira and Nat. We ventured to some waterfalls on our bikes (they had a monstrosity and we a moped) and sat and watching the crazy people sliding off. We climbed down a steep and slippery rockface to an empty pool at the bottom. Ha, we thought we can have a good swim with no one around. But, no! More and more faces peered over this verge, pointing and taking pictures. What is going on? Are lions and bears going to be released on us for their pleasure? Are flash floods common in this particular pool? Anacondas were our conclusion. We then proceeded to leave the pool and climb up the extremely steep rock face, which we subsequently slipped back down – sort of. ( Mads just lay flat on the rock and wept). Ah yes, we see now, this is why no-one's here. It's impossible to get up!!!
After nine days in Pai, we thought we should move on. It was perfect there, and we didn't want to leave. However, we booked our 24 hour bus journey to Vang Vieng, Laos, and said goodbye to our friends and our new home.
Mads and Ben.