Backpackers of Anarchy
Pai, Thailand – October 8, 2017
Our biker gang climbed up into the tropical mountains through little farm roads and rice paddies. It’s such a dream driving on a scooter through places you know you’ve seen before in pictures or movies. My life is a movie! On the farms, families crouched on their garage floors, peeling through massive piles of purple and white garlic. Tiny chickens and farm dogs criss-crossed back and forth on the backroads. Stilted houses arose out of the tall green grasses that were freshly ripened with the rains of monsoon season. The colors are so vibrant as flowering plants spring up all along the roadside. Heavy white clouds were hanging out over the tip of the jungle that protruded out into the cultivated fields, and rain would pelt us out of nowhere several times during our drive. Local kids and animals huddled under farm trucks and thatched roofs waiting for the storms to pass.
We monkeyed up some slippery black boulders to make our way to the top of some waterfalls, slipping and sliding the entire way. I swear I’m an expert slippery rock climber after growing up on the piers of Rockport, MA and the Boiling Pots and Steam Vents of Hilo, HI. Along the way up, I sat on a small nest of red ants that climbed up my dress and into my underwear, I now know where the saying “ants in the pants” stems from, YOWZA! I rallied the crew to dunk in the cold spring water, and after we slid down a 20’ natural rock water slide into a pool below. We were all very cautious climbing on the slick rocks, but eight crazy little local boys showed up to show us how it’s done. They had no fear as they ran and slipped over the rocks, pushing each other down the waterfalls, and diving into the pools one after another. They soaped up their bodies for a natural bath in the falls.
After the waterfalls, we chased each other to a hot springs inside the National Park. The road down to the hot springs was incredibly steep so we picked up a lot of speed, not to mention, none of our back breaks were really in working condition. We hopped into the springs only to realize that they were more like lukewarm springs, not hot springs. A buddy of mine grabbed a ukulele and started a jam circle in the middle of the shallow water. We all crowded around in a circle singing “I’m Yours” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” It was really neat to see a small crowd swarm around us and start singing the same songs, though they were all people that spoke different languages natively. It was so cool to see music bringing people together.
Rain absolutely poured on us on the way back to the hostel. We all had our rain jackets, but it was so heavy that they all soaked completely through. The crazy little boys from the waterfalls passed me, 3-to-a-bike flailing their arms, kicking their feet and squealing at me as they passed. Two bikes almost hit me as they passed at high speeds and then they almost bounced off each other. They pulled over and I shook my finger angrily and yelled, “Be careful!” We made it up to the White Buddha to watch the sun set through the beautiful cloudy sky over Pai, and then took the bikes back to the shop. I was scared as they checked for marks on my bike because I forgot to film the damage at the start and the bike was literally falling apart. Luckily they didn’t find any “new” scratches to blame on me, but they were a little mad we were 2-hours late. We made the excuse that they said “closing time is 7:00,” and they just let us go no questions asked.
On arrival back at the hostel, we all sat around for a “family dinner” as alcohol was banned through Thailand for the day being the start of “Buddha Day.” We fed over 40 people from our hostel pad Thai, chicken curry, white rice, and stir fried veggies for only $110.00 (INSANE!!!). People taught us card games from all over the world and we all sat around playing for several hours. After our meal, we hastily booked flights to the south because we realized that we’ve already been in Thailand for ½ our allotted time (30 days) and we hadn’t even set foot on a beach yet! Apparently Pai always does that to people—you plan on staying two days and end up staying a week. But really, there is so much natural beauty here, so much amazing food from all areas of the world (not just Thai), so many funky bars, so many eclectic stores, and our hostel, Common Grounds, really had the best vibes ever…. so why leave?
Alena Horowitz | Miss Potato