We take the minibus from Chiang Mai to Pai. Pai used to be a kind of hippie place but it has been completely overrun by normal tourists — young Chinese, Europeans, Koreans, Thais — a few older people like us (but there are very few who do as much overland travel as we do). We plan to hunker down here for a while.
We stay at this place for four days. Welcome to the Hotel Pailifornia.
We walk along the river. The air is hot — about 100 degrees F.
We visit a Thai boxing gym. People train.
“Are you going to fight?” Karen asks a girl.
“No, we don’t fight,” the girl says. “We just train.”
The streets are filled with motor scooters and motor bikes — even the so-called “walking street.” There are things to look at…shops, restaurants, agents selling tours. Walking is sometimes unpleasant, even dangerous. Most tourists rent motor bikes and spend their time riding around — there are plenty of tourist attractions, each charging a fee…elephant rides, tours to see the tribal people, hot springs, Pai Canyon, water falls, Chinese village, mud spa, massage, fish cave.
Karen does not want to see elephants who have been trained by being jabbed — that is unethical animal abuse. She does not want to see tribal people who have become tourist attractions. The female “long neck Karen” have rings around their necks, causing extended necks — it is unethical to pay to see this, Karen says.
We look around. We see people who’ve been injured in motor bike accidents — bandages on elbows, knees, legs, ankles.
We walk up the stairs towards the Wat Pra Tat Moe Yen (Temple on the Hill)… Sometimes called the Mae Yen Pagoda…home of the “White Buddha” — visible from far away.
I look at the Buddha and the sunset
We end up going every day at sunset.
Buddha and sunset
Tourism attracts the wanting mind — wanting the special experience. We are on another wave length. I listen to a monk chanting before the altar inside.
Keep your paws on the ball.
A woman visits the altar in the temple.
Karen watches the sun set.
A woman looks at the Buddha
Focus on your breath — the breathing in and the breathing out. When a thought or sensation comes, take note of it and return your awareness to the breath.
It rains in the afternoon.
We get a place across the river and out of town.
We don’t go out much — except to buy supplies in the market and to visit the Buddha at sunset.