My brother Stu and I planned to ride our scooters 135 kilometres over the mountains from Chang Mai to Pai, twisting around over 890 hairpin bends, up and down through the most stunning scenery. Over breakfast the day before we were approached by a Welsh lad called Rhydian (very tricky to pronounce with the rolling Welsh phonetic) – he’d overheard our conversation and asked to join us. Soon we were also joined by Alex from Quebec too. It seemed that quite a few folk were making the journey to Pai either on a scooter or a bus, including a lovely American couple from Wyoming and two Dutch girls called Mirte and Ingrid.
Stu, Rhydian, Alex and I headed out of the city of Chang Mai with Stu in the lead as the most experienced rider (he spent 4 months as a ringer on a two million acre cattle station in the outback in Australia last year). We pulled into a tiny village near Pa Pae for our half way stop and had some noodle soup. As the lads tucked in I went to watch the locals as they built a decorative tree and put money notes in it for a festival. They couldn’t speak any english but with my few words of Thai, lots of smiling and nodding and reading each other’s body language, I communicated with them.
The chap in the photo offered me Thai Whiskey when he finally understood I was Irish…I suppose no matter how remote, the Irish will always be recognised for “enjoying” a drink and laugh! I only had a sip as I had another 67 kilometres to ride to Pai!