Saturday, December 27, 2008

catch up

A quick recap of our days without internet.

Abacus has been sleeping better with her new feeding schedule, I think the cereal is key. She certainly isn't sleeping through the night, but is sleeping for at least three hours at a time and sometimes four. I think it'll keep improving and she has settled into the new feed schedule well, cutting her feeds down to 6 a day. But she continues to cry quite a bit, and even her talking can often resemble a piercing scream, though when she's happy, she's really happy.

Our new guest house is nice and a lot cheaper, which is good because we'd underbudgeted the trip by quite a bit. We have our own detached little room which is good for Abacus' loud voice, somehow though, the room looks like its the outside and the door should lead to the inside - it's hard to explain.

It rained hard for a couple of nights, the locals were suspicious and a little supersticious, saying "It never rains in december", with the ominiously grave expressions of the jedi council. I'd forgotten about rain, and it was refreshing to have some, it's cooled everything off a lot.

I may have confused people when I took down my blog, people weren't after us and the order didn't come from any authorityarian rule, they are simply precautions which are made to limit information about certain operations, which could lead authorities to people who really don't want to be found. It is frustrating to leave out half the story - the main story really - on the blog, but I can tell you about it in person one day.

Also, we heard tale of a dunkin donuts in town, so we went to investigate. We found it in a giant supermarket where everyone was only buying shopping baskets full of cooking oil, the checkouts seemed to radiate a golden glow from the sheer quantity of the stuff. We later found out - as we'd suspected, that there was a speacial on oil, it was mainly though, store owners who were buying it to sell. PS the donuts were delicious.
When we left our guest house, we took a photo of the maid who'd been so good with Abacus and then we had it printed and went back and gave it to her, she really loved it, but more so, she loved that we brought the real abacus back with us. She wants to see more photos of Abacus as she grows older. Abacus is equally as loved at our new guest house (A guest house by the way is like a motel but made up of little houses rather than a big concrete block building). There's a ten year old girl , whose mother works here, who is very interested in abacus.

Across  from the guest house is a detention center full of people; men, women and children, who are to be deported back to Burma. They are not hidden from site, it is just a huge concrete room with a wall of bars on the front, on which those captive hang their clothes, while they sit or lay on the concrete floor, waiting for the inevitable. The Thai guards are plain clothed, they watch TV as though it is nothing more than an impound lot, but there's also strong police presence. It's a hard image to walk passed everyday, there are so many angry feelings of helplessness and the hopelessness of humans here. 

Further fueling this hopelessness is the healthy gem trade on the main street. Danielle pointed out how on the streets there's a lot of people buying gems, little rings and things, which they hold up to the sun outside, scrutinising their worth. The jewels though come from Burma, and the conditions in which they're mined are as you'd expect of a country under totalitarian rule. People buy Nike shoes made in sweatshops and diamonds mined in horrifying conditions all around the world, and that too is unforgivable, I know (in fact, ironically,  nike seems to be the shoe of choice for most NGO's), but this crisis is so close, so visible, there are the desperate examples of the means by which their trinkets are got, walking among them, even haunting the very markets which sell the gems, they're collecting rubbish for money, or have one frail hand outstretched while the other holds a malnourished infant. This is the borderline of exploitation, where the two worlds physically impact upon each other, and yet it becomes as invisible a factor to their transactions, as it is when the border is an ocean wide, between the malls of the west and the factory floor of the third world. 

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