Tuesday, December 30, 2008


This morning a guy was leading a baby elephant through the town selling sugar cane to feed it with. I bought some and gave it to it's rubbery trunk which dexteriously wrapped around it and shoved it in its mouth, bringing its trunk back for more and more, but when I screwed up the empty bag, it knew there was none left. Then it was led away to find more customers, it let out a squeal like screeching tyres. It was so cute. Of course you can't help but feel sorry for a creature so intelligent and family oriented, especially that hook they use to guide them by the ear. Later that night we saw the elephant again at the night markets, it was making its tyre screech sounds as it was led among the people and scooters and cars. We'd been to night markets in other towns, which had lots of fun food and stalls of clothes, gifts etc, but this one was lame and we didn't find anything worthwhile to eat. So we left. We went to a little street food restaurant that made really good roti, they made it right in front of you, stretching a small circle of dough so thin it was almost transparent, before folding it up to make layered puffy roti which he cooked on a hot plate over an open fire. It was so good we decided to get some more stuff. This chicken and potato filled roti was delicious for the first couple of bites before quickly losing its appeal in the indulgent amounts of oil and the chicken tom yam soup we ordered, came in the form of a pile of rice with a chicken drumstick stuffed in the middle of it, which we took away with us and gave to some homeless burmese children further down the street. We needed a pallatte cleanser and the only thing we could think of was getting out of the reality of Mae Sot and into the western refuge of Taste Hazel, a cafe, where we had green tea and chocolate cake. How cultureless.

I'm confused. Though I shouldn't be, knowing how much humans suck. I wrote the other day about people exploiting the burmese in the gem trade in Mae Sot, but the burmese buy them too - that is not to say the trade is any less exploitative - it just means there are some burmese who have escaped that persecution to use it to their advantage, and of course there are examples of this throughout history, the preoccupation of self interest.

I am confused though, by the criteria for arrest of those detained at the detention center. I don't understand why those who come to visit during visiting hours, are not also arrested, not that I want them to be of course. Those who beg all day are completely exposed as being illegal, do they have some skill at evading authorities or are they tollerated for a while before being sent back? I need to investigate.

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