I have spent the last week in the town of Mae Sot, Thailand, also called Little Burma. It lies in western Thailand and shares a border with Burma. The Friendship Bridge, crossing over the Moei River here, serves as one of the two over land crossing between Thailand and Myanmar (Burma). Because of this major crossing, the town is a trade hub for teak wood, gems and black market drugs. It has also become a center for NGO’s who are working in the many refugee camps along the border, like Noh Poe, the one I visited about and wrote about earlier.
This town is one of multiple ethnicities. Thai, Burmese, Karen, Kachin, Shan and NGO workers from all over the globe. The convergence of cultures is a culinary delight as I have my choice of ethnic foods, even foods from home. See Food Page
The Fourth of July I spent with a bunch of Americans at an American burger joint called Famous Ray’s. The ceiling was decorated with red, white and blue ribbons, the air boomed with American pop music and they served the first decent burger I’ve had in six weeks. The entertainment that night was Karaoke.
Pan Thai Guest House has served as an excellent home for eight dollars a night. The proprietor is just a bit like an over protective dad. I have asked him if he thinks it safe to do things like walk to town at night or ride a bike on the highway to the Friendship Bridge. He always tells me that it is safe, but then always thinks of reasons I shouldn’t do it. “It is safe to walk at night to town but there are dogs.” Or “You can ride on your bike to friendship bridge but it would be much better to take a motorcycle taxi. Can I call one for you?.” It seems I have unintentionally ended up doing every single thing he has ever advised against and it has turned out ok. 🙂
I have been volunteering in the office of the NGO Partners and have been working on my own writing projects in between. The NGO workers are kind and I feel as if I have a community of friends and kindred spirits already. The time here has nourished my soul.
Tomorrow I leave for another camp with the Free Burma Rangers. I think we will be delivering medical supplies and other things. I will be on radio silence until Sunday when I return.