We are in Pai now. Had an extremely low motivation day out of Mae Hong Son, with a massive hill we were not really prepared for. Went up to over 1500m, and motivation dived about the same distance the other way. We ended up at a really cool lodge down a bumpy side road in a Shan village. It was called 'Cave Lodge' as it is next to .... A CAVE!
After a nap we headed down to the exit of the cave to watch what can't have been too far off a million birds (swifts) heading back in for the night. They were spiralling around outside before diving in at pace - very impressive and carried on for about half an hour with the sky constantly filled with birds.
Today we had a sleep in before heading over another 1300m hill to Pai. A decent gradient for once and without the annoying downhills every 500m that have plagued us for the last few days - sapping away half of the height you just painfully struggled up.
This town is pretty crazy. Extremely touristy, with guesthouses, eaterys, and tattoo palours every step of the streets. No tattoos for us, yet. We headed into a funky cafe for the first espresso of the trip which was Thai style over condensed milk. Very cool little place in a wooden house, art on the walls, and would certainly stand out as a place to be even in coffee mad Wellington. Local grown beans no less! We are staying at a place called Charlies House, and Charlie is the district health officer/inspector so for once we are confident in the state of hygiene.
Tomorrow we are doing a Thai cooking class at "Lets wok!". Then on over our last 35km hill towards Chiang Mai where we are meeting friends Kurt and Bridget for a few days of relaxation. This is very much in need!
Ciao for now D & C