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All I wanted was dinner. Scratch. Dinner and wifi. That was my plan. My mission. That was what I was looking for when I was walking down the street on one of my first nights in Pai. I certainly wasn't looking to meet a guy. In fact, I had promised myself that I wouldn't. No men in Pai. I'd been hurt enough lately and the last thing I needed was to meet yet another guy who would just break my heart. I needed Pai to just be fun, relaxing, devoid of any mental drama....

Johnny came into the bar one night. He was older, Thai, with thick black dreadlocks. He sat next to me and took out his guitar, playing with a cigarette perched between the strings. It was, maybe, 1 or so in the morning. I hadn't been drinking too much, but everyone else around me was heavily intoxicated. An Irishman begged Johnny to let him play and then kept arguing with no one that the way he was, poorly, playing the Bob Marley song wasn't the album version but the way it was played live. He told us to look it up on...

Renting a bicycle to visit Mor Paeng Waterfall in Pai, Thailand, seems, in theory, like a pleasant way to spend a day. Until, after maybe ten minutes of peddling, when you realize that you'll be traveling uphill the entire way. Until your ass hurts so much and your thighs are so chafed that you have to stand while your ride your bike. Until, at some point, you have to stop riding entirely and ditch your bike at a restaurant because you can't go any further. Until, you are so completely drenched in sweat by the time that you get there that...

I still wasn't quite sure where I wanted to stay when my minibus pulled up in Pai. I knew that I kind of didn't want to stay at the big party hostel. I wanted to drink when I wanted to drink and sleep when I wanted to sleep, so I avoided Spicy, where many of the other backpackers seem to end up. The guys at my hostel in Chiang Mai had recommended crossing the river and finding a bungalow, but I felt like maybe that would be too quiet, that I might not meet as many people. So I settled...