Sometimes, you just need to feel at home for a while. After several months spent almost constantly on the move between cities and countries, I had started feeling very drained and worn out. Despite spending lots of time in each country, I’d never spent more than 3 or 4 nights in one place (not since I stayed in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia). It’s been a mind-blowingly awesome time and I’ve enjoyed it so much, but towards the end of my time in Myanmar, I realized that Nathan needed a break.
Not wanting to go home – since I have many destinations yet to see – I decided to go to the place in SE Asia where I felt most relaxed: the sleepy town in the mountains of northern Thailand known as Pai. The fact that the town name sounds exactly the same as that of one of my favorite desserts had absolutely no bearing on my choice to seek solace there. None whatsoever!
So here I am. I flew from Mandalay to Bangkok on the 31st of January, spent a night in Bangkok to take care of some things, then caught the 16+ hour night train north to Chiang Mai. From there I barely managed to catch a 3 hour bus to Pai and I was finally safe. That last 20 straight hours of travel hit me like a sucker punch to the solar plexus. I have no desire to see a bus, cab, train, plane, ship, tuk-tuk, or flea-ridden donkey with a saddle on it. Nothing related to transportation for me, no sirree. I’m going to spend about 2 weeks here relaxing and I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it.
I’ve spent the past few days eating, reading, and sleeping. That type of thing. It took a day or two for my body to get adjusted to the change in routine. In Myanmar, I only slept 5 or 6 hours each night, sometimes I’d get lucky and get a few more. I also only ate two meals a day, in order to save money. When I got back to Thailand and gained access to ATMs again… well… I threw up once because I drank some Thai tea too fast (a Big Gulp-sized sweet drink on an empty stomach? Not good…) and almost threw up after finishing my fourth meal in one day. I’m working on it though. Don’t worry, I’ll be back to my gluttonous self in no time!
I’m staying at the fabulous Yawning Fields, owned by the amazing Jake and Mink. There are little bungalow-style bamboo and reed houses for each guest and a pretty freaking sweet jungle bathroom. (It sounded awful to me at first. I’ve been in the jungle and gone to the bathroom, there was nothing AT ALL glamorous or appealing about it. Turns out it’s very tastefully done. I haven’t seen a leech yet!) The best part about the whole place? Mink is a fantastic cook and Jake cranks out some seriously mouth-watering baked goods that are sure to fatten me up quicker than you can say, “Hey, could I have one of those cookies?”
There are other things I love about the place as well. It’s a bit of a hike into town, so instead of being lulled to sleep by the sound of people partying, revving engines in sore need of a tune-up, taxis honking, and people being generally obnoxious; I’m serenaded to sleep each night by cicadas and crickets vying for volume supremacy, frogs feeling a little frisky, and the occasional dog barking viciously at the rogue leaf that skitters past. All this under a cloudless sky mercifully clear of any smog or haze, the stars twinkling brilliantly as the glow of the moon dominates them all.
I’m staying in a bungalow just like this one.