My clock registered 5:30am. It was the 4th day of my 2nd trip to Pai and we were to leave that afternoon to head back to Bangkok. My friend, Den, was missing in action early that morning. To maximize my time, I decided to go on an early morning walk in Pai and head straight to Coffee in Love. I had always wanted to go back in that coffee shop after my quick visit from our previous trip. The sceneries on your way there are a sight to behold and it was the perfect time to work out my sleeping muscles.
Renting motorbikes and bicycles are common ways to move around Pai. However, I left the bike that I rented since I was about to pass through Pai’s national highway. You see, I had that morbid imagination wherein I might get crushed by huge vehicles on Pai’s national roads. I was on my own and no one might help me should something bad happen to me. And that was the reason I went on foot from the town center of Pai and walked 2 kilometers going to Coffee in Love (4 kilometers if you were to add the trip back).
It was still early when I left my guesthouse. The streets were still deserted except for a few locals who were walking by. I also saw a couple of monks roaming around town asking for alms. Alms giving in Thailand is natural and is practiced by monks on a daily basis. It is believed that giving alms will bring one good luck as those monks will pray for you and bless you and your family. When you travel to these Southeast Asian countries, don’t be surprised when you see this practice.
Once I reached my 1st kilometer, I decided to drop by Baan Kung Kang de Pai. I knew that there was a small windmill in that hotel and although we passed by this area the day before, we skipped entering the area. I wanted to see the windmill. When I reached the hostel, the place looked very surreal! I’ll share that on a different post.
After getting side tracked, I continued on my journey and hoped that it wouldn’t rain. People passing by were looking at me. If I knew too well, I’d suspect that they were thinking how crazy I was with what I was doing. Pai’s national road was desserted and I was the only one moving in there.
Then all of a sudden, I saw them. A few meters away, a dog started to bark at me. I tried to walk on the farthest side of the road so that the dog wouldn’t bother me. The barking didn’t stop. 2 more dogs joined the 1st one. They were barking non-stop and I had to walk slowly at that time, carefully calculating my next move. I silently chanted for them to stay on their side of the road.
I could not panic. I couldn’t afford to. I know that dogs can sense fear in any person. I had to conceal my fright. I don’t want to end up in a hospital to get some anti-rabies. I had no budget for that.
The worst thing happened next. Since the road was deserted, the dogs freely crossed the street and decided to gang up on me. I froze. This time, they were barking at me, just a few inches away from my body. Instead of hitting them with the first object I could grab and threatening them to go away, I started talking to them. I started scolding them and pointed my finger at each one of them and told them to stop barking. When they saw my hand, they jumped as if they wanted to eat it. I extended it higher. They thought it was a game and they jumped higher. My other hand started stroking the head of one of those dogs while I continued raising my other arm to play along.
They stopped barking. Instead, they playfully bit my legs and hands. I had to stroke the heads of the dogs so that they’d get distracted. I squatted on the floor to give each one a pat in their back. They started licking my hand. Two of the dogs ran around me while the other one sat on the street. When I decided to take photos of them, they became willing models.
The other dog probably got bored since he went back to his home. The other two remained at my side. I urged them to go home so that I could go on with my walk. However, every time I walk, they walked with me. I kept telling them to go home but they wouldn’t budge. I guess they wanted to go with me.
I let them walk first while I lagged behind. At times, they’d stop walking. When I went ahead, they’d follow me again. They followed me all the way to Coffee in Love.
Once we reached the coffee shop, the other dog must have gotten bored and disappeared. The tamed one stayed behind. When I took photos of the place, I noticed that the dog hid behind my legs. He was trying to hide from another dog and seeked my protection. That was so sweet of him. I told him to relax and calm down.
From time to time, the dog would go back to me as he was afraid of the other dog in the area. I talked to him as if I was talking to an old friend, reassuring him that everything’s going to be fine.
At times, the dog would stand at my my photo subjects as if signaling me to also take his picture.
When it was time for me to leave the coffee shop, the dog walked back with me. We walked side by side going down that sloped hill. When we reached their home, I said goodbye and told the dog to run home. He did as told. He ran towards their house. Then I started walking again. When I turned to check on him, I saw that he ran back towards me. He almost caused an accident since a motorcycle was passing by when he crossed the street. The good thing was the driver managed to control his bike. I was afraid he’d pull over and scold me and the dog for the hassle.
I bid my final farewell to my new buddy and told him to be good and to be careful when crossing the road. I patted him on his back one last time and told him to go home.
He finally crossed the street and halfway on the other side, he looked back at me. It was as if he was telling me he’ll miss me too. After taking a final photo of him, I waved goodbye once more and he ran fast towards their house.
That morning walk refreshed my body and mind. I never expected I’d meet a new buddy on my last day in Pai. I never imagined how a stranger who started out barfing at me ended up to be one of my sweetest travel buddies even for a short while.
Doggie, I will surely miss you!