Adding a Bit of Pai to Your Diet

 |  December 25, 2012

For those of us living only 140 kilometres north-west of Chiang Mai, Pai epitomises country life without forcing us into exile.

It gives us a chance to breathe, to get back to basics, to focus on living instead of being totally immersed in some westernised, consumerised version of keeping up with the Joneses, a social leveller rather than a social divider.

Rich and poor mix freely and easily in the small cafes, bars and restaurants. There’s no showing off, no mall, no department stores, no aggression, no angst, just a hotchpotch community of Thais, hill tribe people and foreign expatriates all doing their thing to a different beat.

And when the need comes upon each of us to shake off that ‘cabin fever’ so to speak, those big city lights are just around the corner. Chiang Mai can be a great place to spend four or so days a month before we retreat back to our sanctuaries this side of the fence.

Now for many of us, we need those days. They give us perspective, balance -grounding if you like. And I guess the reverse should apply to our big city dwellers.

Case in point, when I’m in Chiang Mai, I often sit in Airport Plaza soaking in the buzz and bustle around me, reflecting, strangely enough, on whether or not this country of ours has ever been colonised. Not militarily, I know that, but as I count the international fast food chains offering 44 flavours of plastic delight, school kids glued to iPhones, etc. etc. etc. – I feel this shimmer in the matrix.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m subject to the odd BBQ Plaza/Mac Attack/Shopping Spree like anyone else; I need it in my life occasionally. But this got me thinking: if I, as a country girl, need a bit of city – wouldn’t the same apply to you guys?

When I head to Chiang Mai, I need action, fashion, movement; I need to spend money on frivolous, innocuous things.

But since city people experience this every day, they might well need Pai as a respite from an often stressful, competitive, fast-paced life. They might need to retreat to the country and get back to basics, relaxing, taking it easy, recharging the batteries, walking barefoot in the dirt, slouching in a hammock, sitting by a fire, breathing clean air.

Two hours, two mountain ranges, 762 curves and you’re here for two full lazy days before heading home late Sunday night.

Adding a bit of Pai to your diet will do you a world of good, much the same as adding a bit of Chiang Mai to mine does for me! |