In summary: Reggae festival; onwards to Burma

1. Have passport!

2. Am in Mae Sai; arrived last night from Chiang Mai, slept for 15 hours (it was beautiful but unintentional; I’ve got a cold and my body appparentlly needed the sleep) and am on my way to the Burmes border in a few hours.

3. Was convinced (by a grad student on the bus from Pai to Chiang Mai who is studying/working towards the application of DDR – disarmament, demobilization, and reintigration – alongside Burmese social leaders) and reassured by friends in Chiang Mai (who work with a school training Burmese refugees in civil rights action, and write/traslate textbooks for the refugee camps) that spending a few nights in Burma was not only completely safe but a good idea. Since the visa-money goes to the government, the only ethical way to do a border run is to support the local economy – so I’ll sttay at a guest house, eat at some restaurants and tea-houses, and buy something at a market. I’m only going to stay a couple of nights; I’m only allowed to stay a week, anyway, and can’t go farther than two towns (Tachilek and Ketung).

4. Had a great time in Pai. The Reggae Festival was great (good music, a ton of bands, hundreds of people dancing all night outside unde the stars, paper hot-air balloons lit and flown off into the sky) and I made friends – thankfully, as I arrived the evening of the second day and there wasn’t a room to be had; I’d been advised to just sleep at the festival groounds and then grab a room the next morning as people left, but two Australian girls offered to let me share the overpriced oversized room they’d booked the week before…

5. Reserved a spot with the Gibbon Expedition for the 26th. I’ll probably go to Laos on the 24th. Not quite sure what I’m doing until then… Learning to ride a bike and drive a motorbike, I think. (Although the 3 in second degree burn that I’m sporting on my right shin, souvenir of getting off a motorbike the wrong way, is sort of giving me second thoughts. I finally found real gauze and tape today; I’d had cotton pads and Hello Kitty bandaids on it with my silk scarf tied my leg to keep them on… )

6. Meant to be away from You Sabai (and my backpack, ipod, and Lonely Planet) for only two or three days. It’s now approaching five and it’s going to be three or four more… It’s actually quite liberating to have so little with me and I’m surprised that I’m not really missing my things. (Though I can’t believe I left the first aid kit; I’m such an idiot. And I’m sort of ready to have another change of clothes… but I’ll buy some new things in Burma.)


Mae Sai

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