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Written on: Monday June 12th, 2006

A journal entry from: SOUTHEAST ASIA

Zquence Online

Greetings from Pai - a mountain paradise of easy living!! We left Chiang Mai yesterday morning after several days of trekking in the Doi Angkhang mountains.

Day I: We visited the hill-tribe village of the Akha people and enjoyed a simple lunch (the Akha are among Thailand's poorest ethnic minorities and are of Tibetan origin). It was fascinating to see their way of living and the colorful headdresses adorned with all the silver ornaments. The trek uphill was a challenge considering all the banana roti I've managed to stuff my face with the past couple weeks. I was revitalized once we made a stop at some random mountain waterfall. We set up base high a top the mountains (~1900m) where we discovered our amazing guide had another hidden talent - gourmet chef du jour ;P

Day II: We continued our trek among the mountain ridges and had lunch at an elephant camp. From there we rode the elephants through tiny villages and stopped at the Dah-raang village where we spent the night. We were warmly welcomed by everyone and even the children did a small traditional dance for us. The rest of the evening was spent drinking 'thai-quila' and jamming with the village locals. I absolutely adored my time with the children - they were all so content with such simple past-times. It was hard to leave the village as the children followed us on our way out, but I must say that seeing them grinning from ear to ear as they ran after us shouting good-bye was a precious highlight!!!

Day III: As we made our descent back down, we visited several more hill-tribe villages along the way. The journey was made complete by cruising down the river on a bamboo raft. Sorry - correction we floated down the river. Yes, it was absolute comedy watching the other raft fall apart until the others climbed onto ours and managed to sink what was left. Regardless of the fiasco it was quite the laugh and indeed all 'part of the experience'. Thankfully we had a phenomenal gang (there was seven all together) and once we were back in Chiang Mai we indulged in some comfort food (oh pizza! how glorious art thou) and drank the evening away. Jenna and I continued into the wee hours of the morning somehow even managed to squeeze a bit more shopping in at the night bazaar.

We hopped on the local bus with two British girls from our trek and have now found our way to Pai. They say that no one ever leaves Pai and I can already see and feel why. Luckily, we were snagged by a Dutch lady renting out rooms in a guesthouse which ended up being a fabulous place. We have the entire house (kitchen/TV/DVD/ hot shower etc.) to ourselves (plus another British housemate) for 150 Baht a night (~$5 CAD/room between two people) dirt cheap!!!! Today we have rented motorbikes to explore the town and visited some waterfalls. The views are breathtaking and ripping around on the bikes is the perfect way to see it all.

My wonderful journey with Brea has unfortunately come to end and I will continue on my Southeast Asian adventure for another month still. Fortunately, Brea's sister Jennica has made her way into Thailand from Australia and has been a fantastic traveling companion thus far. We are planning on making the journey into Laos the day after tomorrow, that is if and when we leave Pai ;) I hope that everyone is taking care and of course I am missing your smiles always.