一個人的泰北之Pai (Wandering by myself in Pai)
My first impression of Tz-Yan’s living environment is primitive. It has to cross dirt road to reach his house. The house is big but lack of furniture and decoration. Chickens are all around the house. Other family members wore traditional Lisu custom but were quite shy. Tz-Yan’s three-year-old son looked cute but often threw things or spit to others. After settling down, I followed Tz-Yan’s family to visit other local farms for finding a male pig, since they only had female pig and wanted her pregnant. I finally realized that almost every Lisu family has a farm. Growing chickens, pigs or crops is very common in this area. Since having large land and abundant natural resources, chickens are always running freely and houses for pigs are wide. As to Lisu tribe, they originally came from Yunnan, a south province of China. As a result, some of them can still speak Chinese and serve some traditional cuisine, like Yunnan rice noodle for only 25 baht.
買菜是農村家庭的大事之一，我有幸和子晏家一起逛傳統市場，市場雖然不大，但有很多我不認識的野菜和野菇，7月是泰國的雨季開始，人們會上山採集野味和竹筍。就算是我認識的高麗菜、花椰菜、鳳梨等在泰北似乎都小了一號，也許他們沒有用化肥吧！而在台灣少見且貴的紅色薑黃粉、皂夾、棕櫚糖等，在泰北是頗平價的，可惜我在Pai之後還有行程不方便攜帶，不然還很想買原木一塊才100 baht的鉆板。傳統市場外賣有各式點心，10 baht的泰國香腸及香蕉或綠豆沙糯米飯是我的最愛。
I visited traditional market with Tz-Yan’s family twice. The market is not large but serves various goods. The most special for me is wild vegetables and mushrooms. Tz-Yan said it is because the rainy season has started, farmers will go to mountain to collect them. Besides, when the dry season starts, the market will have some hunting products. Even the similar products as Taiwan are always cheaper here. If I didn’t have further journey after Pai, I would probably buy a lot. However, I tried a lot of traditional snacks around the market; thai sausage and banana sticky steamed rice are my favorites.
I could not help in Tz-Yan’s farm for his mother in law almost did everything and all I can do is wash dish after meals. As a result, it’s time to search Pai by myself. In the second day evening I originally want to walk to town to rent a bike, but I missed a turn and finally went on to a small road. I have tried to ask a local who was jogging but he could not understand English, so I gave up finding the way to town and just walked along that beautiful road. One day after when I had my bike and wondered around Pai, I still like the small road I met in that evening most. I visited some Japanese natural houses. Unlike other gorgeous foreign villa, they use wood, bamboo and leaves to build; if no one told me they belong to Japanese, I would think they are locals’.
在Pai的第四天一起床就下著雨，於是我決定用步行的方式逛。沿著舊時連絡村落之間的路往南行，將目的地設定在Pai hotspring。在小雨中沿著石階走訪山上的寺廟Mae Yen，在Mae Hee以柚木為柱的拱門下躲雨休息。繼續南行看著一片片綠油油的稻田及遠山，想起去年在法國健行看到的許多美麗草原。竹編的農事休息涼亭不少，我曾在其中一個躺著小歇。看到一些遊客騎大象在田邊繞，卻一點都不心動。子晏說:「大象本來是來載貨的，而溫泉區本來是農人牽大象去清洗的地方」後來因為觀光的緣故，載人的大象索價不低，而溫泉劃成國家公園後，外來觀光客要收費200baht(當地人40)。我之前在Suan Moak享用了好幾次免費的天然溫泉池(在裡面游泳!)，於是我只在收費亭外看看煮蛋區即折返。回程有位白人小姐主動提供便車，車上聊才知道她來自England在Pai定居五年，有個泰國老公。她說英國人基本上是好人但不快樂，她愛上Pai的主要原因是People are always smile，我想她因充份感受到生活在Pai的快樂所以願意為一個路人付出!
My fourth day in Pai rained in the morning so I decided to walk around instead of cycling. I followed the small road to south Pai and set the hot spring as my destination. I have visited Mae Yen temple on the hill first and took a rest under the teak door of Mae Hee village. I enjoyed the green rice field and mountain scenery while walking; it reminds me of my trekking trip in Alps area last summer. There are many bamboo arbors built by farmers along the way. I have lied on one of it to escape the heat of sun. If I passed the road by motor bike as most tourists, I think I would not have the motivation to rest in an arbor. When I was near the hot spring, I saw some tourists riding elephants. I remembered Tz-Yan has said that elephants originally worked for carrying goods and farmers took them to the hot spring area for cleaning. Because of tourism, farmers start to charge for riding elephants and the hot spring also became a national park; it charges tourists 200 baht entry fee comparing 40 baht for locals. I have ever enjoyed natural and free hot spring swimming pool near Suan Moak, so I only had a look of the spoiled hot spring water outside of the ticket point and then turned back. After walking a while, a white woman asked me whether I want a free ride. We had nice chat while I was on her motor bike. She told me she was from England and has stayed in Pai for five years. “Basically, England people are good people but not really happy. I love Pai because People here are always smile.” I could feel her happiness while she saying that. I think she is quite content to live in Pai so that she is willing to help a passenger like me.
My last day in Pai is Sunday. I went to a Lisu church with Tz-Yan’s family. Although I can not understand Lisu dialect, it’s still interesting to observe the service. I have never seen a church with a bamboo sheet in the middle. Young moms and their little children sat or crawled on it, so the atmosphere was not so serious and quite flexible. After the service, we had delicious Yunnan noodle again and headed to the market. Two backpackers hitchhiked our car, so we drove them to the hot spring. While I was on the driving car, every scene pasted so fast that I thought walking slowly on this road is a good decision yesterday.
I quite appreciate Tz-Yan’s hospitality. I could feel that he did his best to host me. His family served me quite delicious local cuisine, like bitter wild vegetable with spicy sauce. I had long time not having Taiwan rice and good drip coffee but I had them in Tz-Yan’s place. Thanks him for letting me experience family life in Pai.
Before leaving Pai, I found I lost all the pictures I took before because of a mistake when using the computer. I was not so sad about it because the most impressive things are not in the pictures or even not absolutely in this article. For example, I had a great sitting meditation in a good view arbor in my last evening in Pai. However, I still thanked Tz-Yan for taking me around and took some treasured Pai pictures before I head to next stop Mae Lana which he highly recommended.
Other few pics in Pai