To view photos from Pai, click here.
I rolled into Pai from Chiang Mai on March 10th, after a 3 hour voyage by mini-bus involving hair pin turns, squealing tires and dazzling, precipitous scenery. I stayed about 3 km from town at the Sun Huts, highly recommended by my previous guesthouse in Chiang Mai. I was extremely excited that there was not only toilet paper in the bathroom but a bed with a REAL mattress even! That’s what you get when you pay the big bucks in northern Thailand (350 Baht or $11/night). A little too rich for my blood, so I later moved to Pravee’s House with Ada and Cait for a more economical 200 Baht a night. It was a safe and clean little place (this is all I ask for in Asia!) where I learned to co-habitate with several fly/mosquito hybrids living in my bathroom!
Pai is a small town of only 3000 consisting of mainly Internet cafes, sleepy restaurants and many, many choices for a Thai massage! It was nice to keep bumping into the same people over and over again. Every night the Thai ‘house band’, stationed in a bar in the nucleus of the town, played covers by The Eagles and Cat Stevens. With their straggly, long hair, faded bell bottoms and rock and roll t-shirts, they looked like they walked right out of the 70’s. Of course the image would not be complete without lit cigarettes and cocktails within easy reach.
Cait decided she wanted to take a 3 day Reiki course which left Ada and I wondering what we should do to keep ourselves busy. We decided to partake in a yoga class at a swimming pool called Fluid. The class took place in an open air beach hut, so every time I came up from a down dog, I caught a glimpse of the mountain peaks poking up at the sky or someone swimming laps in the pool nearby. It was there that we just happened to meet an instructor from Seattle, Tammy, who was free to lead us in some private yoga classes!
Our last night in Bangkok, on the way to a movie in Siam Square, I was disgusted to see 2 restaurants that exclusively served shark fin soup. They had prominently displayed the dried shark fins in the windows of the restaurants to draw people in and by the looks of the interior, it was actually working.
People just don’t have the same sympathy for sharks as they do other fish that are not perceived as threatening. Steven Spielberg has not helped their case by churning out the blockbusting Jaws Quadrilogy - bloodthirsty shark with a taste for human beings. I don’t know about you, but I can’t so much as dip a toe in the ocean without thinking a fierce shark awaits close by to have a nibble. The whales definitely have a leg up, or shall I say ‘fin’, on sharks. ‘Free Jaws’ just does not have the same ring to it as ‘Free Willy’.
Canadian photojournalist, Rob Stewart, released a documentary about this very topic called Sharkwater. Check out the trailer for it here: http://www.sharkwater.com/. You can also watch Rob Stewart talking about the movie on The Hour here: http://www.cbc.ca/thehour/video.php?id=1464.
I believe this is a very important and worthy topic that we should all be educated on but I didn’t plan on this blog turning into a ‘Save the Sharks’ campaign, so I promise the next instalment will entertain with corruption, drama and intrigue, namely ‘Cambodia’!
If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.
- St. Francis of Assisi
From beasts we scorn as soulless, in forest, field and den, the cry goes up to witness, the soullessness of men.
- M. Frida Hartley
Ever occur to you why some of us can be this much concerned with animals suffering? Because government is not. Why not? Animals don't vote.
- Paul Harvey