Having lost my towel in Pai at the
Reggae Festival (no, I can’t explain how that happened; I didn’t touch
the inside pocket of my bag all evening and it was securely nestled
inside – nothing else went missing from my bag, not my wallet, not my
camera, nothing but the towel – and it simply vanished) and thereby
broken the ultimate Rule of Backpacking (see: Douglas Adams) I’ve begun
to pay more attention to the Maxims of Travel…
- Nothing is Ever Simple (Particularly When You Really Want It To Be).
- All Transportation Will Take At Least Three Times Longer Than Predicted.
- Bureaucrats Like to Stamp Things.
- Motion Sickness is Contagious (and Asian People are Highly Susceptible).
- Alarms Never Wake You Mornings of Bus Trips.
While no. 1 is rather obvious and no. 2 downright infuriating, no. 3
means that my Brand New… Continue reading
I woke the next morning before my
alarm – and hit snooze for several hours. For the first time since I’d
left home I had absolutely no desire to go out and explore the town I
was in; no compulsion to wander the streets and no wish to meet people.
I tossed on the bed, turned the fan on and off, listened to the
unabating noise of the school below (the periodic bells had no effect
on the number of children in the yard and, while I had heard the
occasional organized chanting, it was mostly cheerful cacophony). I
wasn’t feeling well physically which was party of the malaise (almost a
week later and I’m still battling the same cold, frustrated by the same
lack of energy, worrying about on-and-off low grade possible fever, and
fretting over my burn).I went out… Continue reading
Tachilek is the sort of town where the architecture far outshines
the furnishings.”It’s a border town,” I’d been warned, “don’t expect
I’d pictured a Tijuana, full of embroidered sarongs rather than
piñatas, tinsel Buddhas rather than dayglow Christs; when I arrived I
felt more like I’d stepped onto the moon. It was, fittingly enough,
gray and overcast without as much as the suggestion of a breeze. Not
only were the people and the cars mysteriously missing (the roads were
more than wide enough but in two days in Tachilek I saw perhaps ten
cars – most of those parked) there was no sense of desperate fervor.
The buildings were too large for the inhabitants, the clothes too big
for their wearers. Tachilek resembled a colonial ghost town – faded
derelict colonial architecture and rusty motorbikes with no review
Crossing the border… Continue reading
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… Continue reading