Tuesday, February 3, 2009

last trip to burma

Yesterday was our last visit to Burma. It was quick and painless, we handed them our passports, did a lap of the block, got our passports back and returned to Thailand over the friendship bridge. Beneath the bridge we saw an official sitting by the river, an M16 sat in his lap, with an extra large magazine attached, he talked to a friend, while behind him, the inner tubes took people illegaly back and forth between Thailand and Burma. 
It was a lazy hot day in Mywaddy, the streets were more desolate than usual, we watched a group of five men, trying to lift a five foot stack of 7x3 foot thick iron plates onto the back of a truck, which a forklift would have done in no time. People washed their clothes down in the river amongst the floating plastic bottles and other refuse, at the base of the steps, which I realised now bear resemblance to Indian Ghats. On the Thai side of the bridge, I watched two Burmese men below, play chinese checkers with bottle caps and stones, on a crisscrossed board, scribed into the concrete footpath with rock. Beside them sat a shopping bag full of cigarette cartons, purchased in the blackmarket of rusted corrogated iron roofs, which stretched on and on. 
In the Song Thau back to Mae Sot I  talked to a Burmese man, a 66 year old bachelor he said, who was here because his friend was getting married. He was visiting for a day, with one of those green, disposable passports, which are made from a single folded piece of cardboard. His english was pretty good, he said when he was young, Burmese could speak and write english very well, "Now, not so good", with a hint of sadness in the corners of his mouth, its about as far as he would go on the subject.

Abacus was babysat by a friend while we went to a pool in a resort which was impossibly big for Mae Sot, we wondered who stayed there and how full it ever got. There was a baby at the pool, she cried and I looked up before realising that Abacus was miles away. We ordered a couple of drinks and some food, which looked kind of like deep fried folliage and when we came to pay, we found a lot more had been added to our bill, which took them a long time to figure out, despite the fact that on our table, sat the remains of all we'd ordered. It was reminiscent of our previous trip to Thailand, where our interactions with the citizens, were confined only to the currency of commerce, it had left a sour taste beneath our adventure. We felt fortunate for the time we'd spent in Mae Sot, where we'd got to interact on a more human level, with both Thais and Burmese. 

No comments: