|(didn't feel like writing day-of; this entry made on 1/26)
We tried to return to the noodle soup lady this morning, but she hadn't set up shop. So we breakfasted at a more touristy (but still tasty) place on the main backpacker strip. Pad thai and a thai omelet. Mmm!
Then, off to the bus station in a song-thaew. We were lucky at the station, as there were still seats available on the bus to Pai, which was leaving in an hour. The bus was full of backpackers and there was an impressive pile of packs in the back.
Seats were cramped, but at least we had them! Some people got in and had to stand/lean on packs/sit in the aisle. And it was a LONG and windy and hilly and bumpy ride. I slept for some of it (no surprise there), but when I wasn't sleeping I really enjoyed the curves and the views.
Upon arrival in Pai, we walked in search of a guesthouse and were successful. Perhaps we should have been more picky-- upon closer inspection later it was clear that the bedding was definitely not clean. They tend not to have top-sheets here, which bothers me as is, but combined with a dirty blanket and an unwashed bottom sheet... it was my first night sleeping in the sleeping-bag liner I brought, and I was careful to stay fully covered.
We adventured in the evening, walking out of the main part of town in search of an eatery recommended in the guidebook. We were extremely proud of ourselves for finding it (the sign was in thai script), but, to be honest, we were a little disappointed with the food.
The sticky rice was good, but the fried, ground meat was unidentifiable and spiced in a way that we didn't like. We supplemented the meal with food from the night market later on: mini pancakes with condensed milk; a black, sticky rice that tasted a bit of seaweed (ugh); and a spring roll with pumpkin (yum!).