After only one night here (after getting back from the Doi Inthanon trek), this morning I said goodbye once more to Chiang Mai, and jumped on a minibus to the town of Pai. Pai's about 3 hours north-west of Chiang Mai — as the bus crawls — and it's a chilled-out place where everyone goes to relax, to find inner peace, and to meet the friendly crowd. I got picked up from my guesthouse at 9:30am, and it was a very chatty crew that we had for the morning road trip. As well as Marie and Claire (with whom I hung out almost the entire time that I was here), I also met the two Dutch guys, a vegan Aussie couple, and an older Israeli couple. By the time we arrived in Pai, I realised that I already had myself sorted — ridiculous how easily we travellers magnetise to each other, at times.
Christian is the last of (no less than) four people (or groups of people) with whom I've had a reunion in the past four days; of whom three were people that I met in South America. I met Christian while doing the Santa Cruz-Llanganuco hike in Peru, back in April. He lives in Wallonia (French-speaking Belgium) with his wife Nancy, and his two daughers Marine and Florine. I had a great time this evening, enjoying dinner with Christian and his family, and catching up on old times.
My adventures in the rain this morning left me cold, wet, and buggered by midday. Once I said goodbye to my Sicilian angels, Cristina and Alessandra, I decided to call it an early day, and to find somewhere in Modica where I could dry out, warm up, and get myself clean once more. From the shopping centre where the girls left me, I rode into historic centre of Modica (still with light rain) — which, as with Ragusa, is a gorgeous Baroque affair — and put my feet up. I checked in to a lovely little B&B called Camera con Vista (lit: "Bed with a View"), where I had a long hot shower, and where I emptied all of my soaked belongings and laid them out to dry. Rather than endure any more arcic-condition cycling for the day, I waited out the afternoon under the covers of a warm bed, with a good book to keep me company.
This week is going to be the quietest yet at Amigos, with only 3 students (including myself) enrolled for the week's classes. As such, there's nobody for me to be in a class with, and I've had to switch to private lessons. So instead of an 8am-12pm daily class (2 hours with Merly, 2 with Ursula), this week I'm just having 3 hours straight (8am-11am) with Merly, one-on-one. Today's lesson was much more intense and personalised, but it was also a bit lonely.