One of the things I love about psychedelic drugs (of which there are many) is the lack of hangover or comedown the following day. I remember the morning after my first mushroom trip, when I was nineteen, waking up feeling great and wondering why alcohol was ever made legal over mushrooms. Of course, you might have to deal with those introspective thoughts on your existence, which probably wouldn’t inspire you to get up for your assistant team leader job at Argos, but if you ask me, that’s infinitely better than having a heavy hangover from a Tuesday booze-up. Despite our mixing of both acid and alcohol, we awoke feeling decent, had a shower with a few thousand ants, then started making waves away from yesterday.
I find it somewhat unusual how, when travelling, your trust in strangers seems to increase drastically. Few people in their day to day lives would leave all of their valuables with someone they don’t know, or in unsecured rooms, whereas when travelling the rules of karma always seem to be faithfully adhered to, you do good to others and expect the same in return. Once again everything we owned was left by a bookshelf at our guesthouse and we scooted off to enjoy our final hours in Pai before our 3pm bus back to Chiang Mai. We wanted to find the pool which we’d missed out on yesterday, but we had little idea where it was, and after driving for thirty minutes around where we thought we’d lost the gang the previous day, we realised we had no hope of finding it alone. We drove back to Ting Tong as the boys were getting up and readying themselves for another lunch, but time was short so we couldn’t join them. Tutu gave us directions and told us it was called the Phu Pai Art Resort, how I couldn’t recall ‘Poo Pie’ as a hotel name was beyond me, but with his brief but helpful directions we arrived around 11am, as the sun was reaching its peak. We ordered breakfast, and did a few laps in their incredible infinity pool, which was circled by a backdrop of rice fields, mountains and fluffy white clouds painted onto a bright blue sky. We remained there getting roasted like cheap chickens on a Tesco rotisserie until 1.45pm, then whizzed back to the bike shop to drop off our death-trap. As we were driving there, Tutu whizzed by, late for our date at the pool. He turned and drove along behind us, beeping wildly as we ground to a halt. He apologised for his lateness, gave us both a hug and handed me a watermelon, which he must have been bringing to share with us by the pool. What a lovely man.
We collected our safely stored luggage and lugged it to the bus station and by 3pm we were ready to head back down the seven hundred odd bends and curves to the larger, louder city of Chiang Mai. Sarah believed that some money had been removed from our stash whilst staying at the Top North a few days before and didn’t want to go back there, I personally thought we’d more than likely spent it without realising, but regardless, we checked into some cheap dive opposite, dropped off our bags and then headed straight for my date at John’s Bar where we’d had a drink a few days earlier, to watch Arsenal play Manchester United. After the first three minutes seeing my former favourite player, Robin Van Persie, score against us after a calamitous clearance from our new captain, Thomas Vermaelen, I knew that things weren’t going to go our way. I suffered the full ninety minutes drinking Chang and smoking cheap cigarettes like they were going out of fashion, fulfilling my role as a typical Brit abroad by shouting profanity at the screen, as if the players could hear the echoes of my discontent. A fantastic consolation goal in the dying embers of this lukewarm game by one of our only glimmers of hope, the Spaniard Santi Cazorla, did enough to soften the blow of this wasted time, and then it was time for some guaranteed relief in the form of a hand-rolled goal-post. I toked myself happy, then took a brown-water shower as the dysfunctional plumbing coughed its catarrh all over my once clean body, then swan-dived onto my mascot for a cuddle and fell soundly to sleep.