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Days 7, 8, and 9: Step-by-Step Experience in Pai, CHeeSe DoUgHNuts

Pai, Thailand

Day 7

We arrived in Pai two days ago, taking the advertised "three-hour" bus ride, which really was about 4.5 hours, up the winding mountain roads. Sharing Roxanne's headphones to hear her travel playlist and staring at the misty mountain view, it was a nice moment between two friends. Keeva was alongside us as well, and we would continue the next leg of the trip as a trio.

Without becoming car sick, as many people before us had, we arrived in the small mountain town a little after 8 p.m. It was only a short walk to our hostel. The three of us arrived to Purple Monkey, checking in at the "front desk," AKA the bar. I've learned to take everything here in Thailand -- to use a major but accurate cliche -- with a grain of salt.

Truthfully, on my first night here, I wasn't the biggest fan Pai. To me, everything looked super touristy when we wandered through the

small streets. There were elephant pants being sold on every block, and I saw more backpackers than locals. Even our hostel seemed kind of gross. Being the major wimp I am, I hate bugs, and without doors to our dormitory, it seemed like an all-access kind of a place for creepy critters. And we're in the tropics. Meaning there are cockroaches, the worst of them all. The sheets also felt a little greasy and the bathroom was too dirty for my liking. I was trying to conceal my slight disgust, but I'm pretty sure you could see it on my wimpy face.

Roxanne later compared it to camping, and that made it much better in my view.

I went to bed that night, however, with my sleeping bag rolled on top of the sheets and mosquito net strung over my upper loft. If you ever go hostel-jumping as we are, I definitely recommend bringing a silk sleeping bag. They're light, tiny, and sold at many backpacking/camping stores. Some hostels don't have sheets and some don't necessarily wash them: a tiny layer of silk can be the key to sanity in cases like these. They're kind of expensive but definitely worth their value. I slept soundly that night.

Day 8

When I awoke, everything seemed much better than Day 7's preconception. The mosquito net was a comfortable, small canopy, and I felt like I was in a tropical hut more than a bug cesspool -- a slighttt improvement. With the daylight shining, I could actually see the hostel's multi-hut structure, with scattered grass roofs, hammocks and a treehouse. Our day's schedule went like this:

1. Rented motorbikes and spent an hour learning to ride them

2. Motorbiked through the mountains

3. Stopped at The Land Split, got the greatest fresh fruit on the planet from local farmers

4. Swam in a waterfall

5. Drank smoothies at Pai Canyon

6. Ate food, shopped around

7. Hung out at the hostel reception desk/bar and went out

Day 8 turned my view of Pai around. We left the touristy town for the beautiful mountain countryside, driving motorbikes(!) through the surrounding rural villages. It was much more authentic than the shops we left behind. The three of us hiked through an active fault line called the Land Split, which was smack dab in the middle of a farmer's field. To make an added profit around the damaged ground, the farmer gave the greatest selection of seasonal fruit to us and other tourists, only asking for donations in return.

From there, the isolated waterfall provided non-touristy fun for locals and backpackers alike. We swam and cliff jumped, being enclosed by several stories of large rock and the sound of rushing water.

When we left this for Pai Canyon, we ended up missing the sunset because we were ordering smoothies (classic) but still hiked around the steep ledges with remains of the multicolored sky hanging above. Keeva, Roxanne, and I laughed until we cried at the sound of our annoying slurping at such a majestic location, and it was a fun moment in nature.

Although we had snacked all day -- we had stopped at the infamous 7/11 to buy odd chips and sweets such as tamirands in sugar and seaweed-flavored chips for the day -- we were hungry. It was time to go back to the touristy area, and by now I was able to appreciate the scene. It was fun to wander.

By the end of the night, we decided to go out with the other backpackers, following the same route that apparently everyone follows. It was... interesting so to say.

The best explanation of the night could be explained in one story: a guy tried to hit on me by toasting my head with his drink and spilled it on me. Smooth. He literally ran away after that moment and we will never talk again hahaha. (Another pro tip: don't hit on short girls by trying to cheers their head or use it as an arm rest. I can't speak for everyone, but it is truly an instant turnoffAlso don't spill the drink on their head after. That should be a given.)

Hanging out with Keeva was fun, though, and we did talk to some other down-to-earth people. Roxanne ate a "cheese doughnut" (deep-fried cheese), so our night definitely wasn't defined solely by the drink-spilling Danish dude. From the bar, we left and spent a lot of time sitting on a stoop on a bridge and then outside our hostel at 3 a.m., talking and bonding.

This is something important: friends bonding. I really love it when girls support girls, as I fully believe that the often-appearing competition between us only hurts us as a whole. Movies/books/other forms of media often center around boy-girl relationships, but friendships are just as important. Being on a trip with one of your closest friends can make this evident.

Day 9

We didn't do too much today, but it is only 5 p.m. Roxanne, Keeva, and I biked around again, working our way up the mountains to get another gorgeous view of the mountains and town. We ate good food and shopped around, and then worked our way back to the hostel to catch up on the long-awaited journaling/blogging. That's where I am now, just sitting with reggae music in the background. Our Canadian friends from Chiang Mai arrived to Pai a few hours ago, so we might meet up soon. Let's just hope this night turns out to be a little better than our last.

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