Ozzie

Ozzie

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Day 33 - National Park to Mae Sot, Burma and northern outskirts of Mae Ramat - Thurs 28 Mar

Day 33 - National Park to Mae Sot, Burma and northern outskirts of Mae Ramat - Thurs 28 Mar
Reluctantly left our cool campsite. Hillside Tribes market just down road, stopped for fruit & veg. Raw pork chunks complete with whole pig’s head, and woman shooing away flies with plastic bag on a stick (market famous for its pork crackling). People dressed in distinctive bright patterned culottes and tunics, with woven hats. Men had baggy pants, even silver lame and velvet. Took a punt and bought brightly decorated toddler outfits in hopes of more grandchildren in the near future! 





On to Mae Sot township - busy border market town. Obtained Myanmar visa for day, walked over Friendship Bridge to Burma in oppressive hot sun. Other side dirty, poor, many people sitting around idle, noticeably different to Thailand. Cars being honked incessantly as vehicles drove on other side of road. Saw temple covered in pigeons, and children playing game of marbles on footpath. Re-entered Thailand – t’was too tempting to ignore chance of seeing (however briefly) our forth country in its early transition towards democracy, but hope we haven't created visa problems later when we want to re-enter Thailand for third time from Cambodia (at this stage only have double entry visa). 








Moved north to find a campsite for evening towards Mae Ramat. Farm labourers walking home holding machetes by their sides. Open sided bungalows with inner woven rattan walls. Stalls use broad leaf thatching instead of palms. Distinctive timber housing with elaborate fretwork. Made camp north of town beside a river surrounded by almost vertical limestone cliffs. Locals were driving their cars into the river and throwing handfuls of sudsy water over... Car Wash! Women were washing clothes and children downstream. We drove a little upstream on the stony river bank, opened up windows and turned on fans before wading into a pool and floating away the heat of the day. 



We ate outside and were treated to firefly show - half a dozen hovered over the shallow rapids upstream, then flitted along the bank - one coming within a metre of us sitting in the dark. Enchanting - flickered off and on like a golden monochrome movie.  Neighbouring farmer had vigorous soapy wash in stream, then his mates drove in on a Chinese tractor for a visit around his fire for awhile. We settled down to peaceful night, listening to cicadas, watching stars (including an upside-down Saucepan) when the farmer came down with his eight dogs to say hello and tell us a great long story illustrating with his flashlight up and down the river, up and down the trees, above him to the stars… although we didn't understand a word we followed the torch beam, smiled and nodded. On reflection we think it was that we were lucky to park there because it floods in wet season, and maybe that he dammed it further downstream with sandbags to create ponds for his irrigation (and for us to swim in!). Just as we were about to retire for night, a women/his wife drove across stream from road (home from work?) and stopped to talk. We repeated our "sleep here for one night" gestures (fifth time that evening) (you never know who to ask, so ask everyone!) which she nodded to enthusiastically, as had all before her, so everyone finally went to bed. We have parked less than 2 metres from edge of stream, so hope BoyRob doesn't forget when he goes outside in the dark for his ablutions. 

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