January 14, 2023
This morning I woke up to the same chorus of birds outside my window. Such a blissful way to wake up. I hurried out from under the blankets and put all my clothes on as quickly as possible. Then I grabbed breakfast then headed to Amy’s for my first solo scooter ride. I was on a mission to see the big Buddha 5 minutes outside of town. The drive there was really smooth. I only had to make two left turns, which I’m better at than right turns. There was very little traffic, and I remembered to stay on the left side of the road. I give myself an A for the drive there.
The return drive, however, was not so smooth. There was more traffic, and this time I had to make two right turns. Coasting down the giant hill from the Big Buddha, my scooter shut off. No problem, I turned at back on and got onto the main road. As I approached Amy’s road, a delivery truck inched out to turn behind me, eliminating the space for me to make a right turn around it. I went straight and turned around a short while later. When I got back on the road, I turned into the wrong lane, a mistake I didn’t realize until I saw scooters coming towards me 😱 I quickly drove off the road to get out of the way.
No parties were harmed in my driving lesson.
The Big Buddha was in fact big. Its proper name is the Chedi Phra That Mae Yen, and it also goes by the White Buddha. About 300 steps lead to the top where you’re encouraged to remove your shoes before the top step. Big Buddha overlooks all of the Pai River Valley. I enjoyed the big Buddha all to myself this morning. On my way down I passed 6 Thai visitors with flowers as offerings. They also snapped a photo on the stairs indicating stair fatigue 🙂
After returning the scooter to Amy, I walked down to the Saturday Market. It doesn’t really compare to the walking street in size, variety or experience but it is a nice daytime market with music and great people watching. Fewer tourists, more locals (both Thai and expats). After walking the main drag 3 times I settled on Som Tum (spicy papaya salad) and orange juice.
After the Saturday Market, I spent most of the afternoon reading in my hammock. Then I picked up some fruit (100 baht) and walked over to Amy’s where we enjoyed another perfect evening in this peaceful town.