2006 Thailand: Pai and Misc Photos

Misc shots from Bankok to Pai in Thailand.

Click above to see the photo set.

Click above to see the photo set.

Blog Post from Pai:
So, as I mentioned earlier, I was in Chiang Mai with traveller’s ennui and not really loving it, so I rented a motobike (125 cc, not a beast but big enough) and scootered my way to Pai, a little northern Thai hamlet about 130 km from CM. This is one of the best, if not the best place, in northern Thailand to just sit and veg with a good book (maybe two) and hearty appetite. The food is great, both East and West, and cheap, the people are friendly, the packers are all generally happy and showered, and the locals take pride in the craft of setting up a bar. I commented on this in my last trip to Thailand and it remains true two years later. You don’t find any dive bars in Pai, people are too proud of their places to let them crumble. Plus bamboo is easier to mend with more bamboo.

I loved Murakami’s Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and have started The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason, a novel set in the late 1800s about a piano tuner called to Burma to tune an Erard piano for an eccentric military surgeon-major in Her Majesty’s Service. I like that the setting for the novel is right where I am lounging. In fact the author was moved to write the story as he worked on malaria in the area of the Thai/Burmese border. I believe he may have seen a grand piano near a river in this region and had come up with this tale. Cool.

Beyond all that, I’ve spent a fair amount of time at a new and casual bar/living room called Cocktail Rider. Yes, you could say it’s a combination of Schwank and Nephology and if neither of those words mean anything to you, don’t dwell on them.

The kids who run CR came up from Pattaya to open a then lifeless bar called Gypsy, they put in all the time to get the place looking spiff and polished and had a grand opening party only to have the landlord come back and say, “cool, thanks, I’ll take that back now.” In a bit of shock and having moved here from the far south they scrambled to find another place and so a few weeks later Cocktail Rider was open though not without a slight identity crisis. It’s got Jamacian colors all around, no real reference to Easy Rider (no Harley pictures, etc) and not a real concise theme, but again, they have only been open for one week. They’ll get it all stitched together.

And I like them.

We hang out in what would be there living room, with only pillows and short tables, playing cards and trying to cajole passers-by to come in. I motivated them to make a sign by sponsoring the materials and going to the hardware store. The sign is key so people wouldn’t make the mistake I did the first day and think it really was just a group of kids hanging out in their (cool) living room. The sign effectively says “We’re here, we’re confused, but we have beer!” I did some copy work for a few signs they put up around town: “Good cocktails. Good music. Good times!” a little nod to the Liz Tilley in all of us.

I tend to be loyal, so of course I find myself back at CR every day, but they let me plug in my iPod and I play dub music (thanks again to Steve Fruhwirth!) and read. Occasionally we watch movies, but this reinforces the living room feel which isn’t bad once you break the threshold, however packers tend to just look and move along slowly unsure of the exact intent of CR. I’m learning some fun words you don’t get to learn normally, like masterbate, asshole, shithead (a card game), smelly. Phim has a really cute way of saying “cool” every time I say “cool”, which is more than I realized and that makes me smile as well as say “excellent” more. A boyfriend of hers showed up and they are actually affectionate (scandal!), without any parents around (and these guys are maybe 23-25).

Good times. That is all. The kids are alright.