Well, we hit a low-point in our travels yesterday, brought upon by sheer ‘wrong place at the wrong time’. It was probably inevitable to happen at some point. In any case, we have come out on the other side, intact and a bit wiser, so not a total loss.
Ever since we arrived in Thailand 2.5wks ago, we’ve had nothing but hot, humid, sweat-dripping-off-your-forehead-all-the-time kind of weather. At the end of our first week in Chiang Mai, it finally started to cool down a little and the forecast for the following week was for rain and even cooler temps in the high teens (celcius). We set off anyway as planned for Pai, located in a picturesque valley in the mountains north of Chiang Mai. Pai’s got a reputation as a real laid-back town, originally favoured by the ‘hippy Thais’ looking to play music by the river, now popular with the backpacker and even the urban Thai crowd. Set at an elevation of approximately 500m above sea level, we knew that it would be a bit cooler and were actually looking forward to a bit of respite from the heat. When we arrived, it was raining lightly and very damp, gray, and noticeably cooler but not uncomfortably so. We donned our light jackets, unfazed. It continued to rain through the night. By the next morning, it was still raining and getting much cooler. Problem was, we didn’t really have much in the way of warm clothing, except for a light jacket, pants, and wool socks each. In terms of wet weather clothing, Jim and I each had rain ponchos and the girls each had water resistant light jackets. After a stroll through town in the rain, we discovered to our dismay that these did not hold up to the constant rain as the girls were soaked through. Luckily they still had their umbrellas which we purchased in Bali.
By the 3r day, Jim and I were cold and miserable. The rain had not stopped since we arrived and the temperature had now dropped to a low of about 14 degrees. There’s not much to do in Pai when it’s like this and you are poorly equipped for the weather, as the main charm about it is its natural setting, so we just hung out in our one-room bungalow. (Incidentally, I once came across a saying that claimed ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, just a bad choice in clothing’—so true!) While the girls were quite undeterred and seemed to enjoy the time spent ‘at home’ just playing, Jim and I were chilled to the bone and we had cabin fever. It got the best of us and sadly, beat us. We quarrelled about minor issues. Although it had finally stopped raining the next day, I’d had enough of Pai and decided to make the arduous 3hr stomach-churning return ride by mini-van to Chiang Mai with Yasmine while Jim and Maddy stayed on for another day to explore the countryside by scooter as originally planned. (In fact, central and northern Thailand was hit with an unseasonal cold and wet weather front that lasted 4 days-- Thais were shivering even in Bangkok.)
|View From Our Bungalow|
Travelling long-term, as in life, is not always going to be about happy days. We knew this from previous experience. When you are together 24/7, sometimes everyone just needs a bit of space. We’re human too! While being physically apart for 24hrs is not ideal, we did get a good ‘reminder’ about our goals, priorities, strengths and weaknesses as individuals, partners, parents, and as a family. Once reunited in Chiang Mai, we were able to talk about this, put it behind us and move forward more appreciative of each other and the time ahead.
|The Girls' Catching Up|