I've been told that I now need to start updating this blog (I will use paragraphs) and also teach Kat how to take photos using my camera. I havent got the cable with me to upload the latest photos, but there are now some of me to put up! We are now back in Chiang Mai for another night in our decent guesthouse here which is 7 pounds a night, bug free and has cable tv.
We got back from Pai today, our three options of transport back were minivan, minibus and 40 year old clapped out old bus. We took the minivan to get to Pai in the first place and the driver thought he was in some sort of rally car, and when there are over 700 corners of mountain road, it would be nice to go in something a bit more comfortable and slower for the return journey. The old bus was no option as it looked like it would break down on route and had no A/C, which is a must in this heat. It is half the price though, 1.25gbp vs 3gbp. Anyway we decided on the minibus, it was clean inside and we could book the best seats for lots of legroom. It was a much smoother journey and they gave us a pack of custard creams and some fruit juice for free which instantly persuded Kat that it was the right option.
Pai itself felt like a holiday away from travelling, it made Chiang Mai feel like Bangkok once we got back. After staying at a couple of different hostels whilst we were there, we finally managed to book into Bueng Pai Farm (http://www.paifarm.com). We still had the motorbike and all our luggage, but the owners said they could come and pick up our bags and we follow them back on the bike which solved that issue. Our place wasn't ready by the time we got there so we had a bit of breakfast and sorted out our fishing stuff. It costs us 75p to rent a rod already rigged for the lake and 2 buckets full of bait. We had no idea what sort of fish they had in the lake until we had setup and read the small sign next to where we had decided to fish from. Lots of carp, cat fish and.... Sharks! By 12o clock I had managed to pull out 3 large fish which turned out to be striped cat fish, they took lots of playing to finally get them to come in which made things more exciting. We stopped for a bit of lunch before setting up to fish from our veranda. The food is all organic and very tasty, and cheap unlike organic stuff in England. When you eat over here they never seem to get the timing right, so about 10 minutes after we had finished our main food, they brought out some spring rolls which looked like they would have taken about half an hour to make which might explain the delay. After trying one, and finding out they didn't taste as good as they looked, we were hit with a dilemma of what to do with the 15 left on the plate. We ended up asking to take them back to our bamboo hut so we could buy more time to decide what to do with them. They didn't work as bait, so into the toilet bin they went. Later this turned out to be a bad idea when we came back to a bathroom crawling with 1.5cm long ants. After flushing them all down the shower plughole we went out to finish fishing for the day. Kat managed to pull in another large striped cat fish, complaining that her arms hurt after trying to get it in for 10 minutes and I managed to get in our first Carp. Pictures to follow! Our night in the hut was very peaceful listening to all the animal noises outside and watching all the lizards eat the bugs outside the door.
The previous night to this, I had been persuaded to get a Thai massage as they are so cheap. 4 pounds for an hour long Thai oil massage seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up. So went down the road to a comfortable looking place and paid for the massage, at this point they directed us into the curtained off part of the building at the back and asked us to undress. We had overlooked the fact that for them to do an oil massage, we would need to take off our clothes. Anyway.... the massage was really spot on after lugging our bags around for a couple of weeks and almost sent us to sleep.
Now we're back in Chiang Mai, we're trying to find our way to Udon Thani where we can then get a one hour bus to Nong Khai to cross the border into Laos. The hardest part about this is finding a bus company that doesn't employ drunk drivers, methamphetamine addicts or use knackered buses (although they do look like they would be fit for purpose). You get so many conflicting reports and feedback from other people and lots of varied standards, it's a bit of a minefield. Will keep you posted!