On the Burma road ...

Trip Start Aug 30, 2012
Trip End Mar 21, 2013

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Flag of Myanmar  ,
Monday, November 26, 2012

Up with the alarm at 05:30 and its my turn to head out in the dark for breakfast.  By 07:10 I am standing outside Kong Court waiting for my ride to turn up and he is there on the dot.  We drive around Chiangmai making pick ups then set off north with a full load of 10 people. 
First stop after about 1 hour is the usual hot springs at Ban Sop Pong, appropriately named with the whiff of sulphur in the air.  I sit and soak my feet in the hot spring water for 10mins then we are off again.  The road is very busy this morning and the fields as well with people cutting their rice.  I note that they all seem to be doing the threshing by hand with no signs of machinery.  Pass through Wiang Pa Pao, what I think of as 'Christian' country, but I wont get on my high horse about things this year.  We pass the Fang OIl Well intersection and a huge signing proclaiming Thailands first oil field.  About 20km before Chiangmai we pass through the village of Ban Mai Lao and I spot a cemetery of Vietnamese style horseshoe graves built into a slight hillside that I have never noticed before.  Approaching Mae Sai the mountains to the west of the road are capped by puffy white clouds.  They say it is possible to see China from the top of Doi Chang Moob here but not today I guess. 
We arrive at 11:45 and with the minimum of fuss I cross to Tachilek, Burma, and have returned to Thailand before midday.  On the Tachilek side they didnt even bother processing me today, no entry cards to complete or photos to take - just like the good old days before they got computerised here.  I wander around Mae Sai for a while 'enjoying' an encounter with some Russians.  I was trying to take a photo across the border and they seemed to purposely stand in front of me so I returned the compliment.  Standing smack in the middle of the northnermost point archway to spoil their photos - amused me at the time !  Spend 15mins checking out knickers for Jai, as I do every time I come here (10 pairs for 3GBP), then grabbed a grotty sandwich from 7/11 before waiting for the bus to come and get us.  As usual there is always at least one person who turns up late and today it is an elderly Australian ladt who gets back 45mins late with armfuls of shopping complaining that she had problems at the border - this is a VISA trip and NOT a SHOPPING trip !! 
We stop at the usual macademia nut shop on the way back opposite Ban Mae Jeddee church - I wont say a word. 
We are back in Chiangmai just after 17:00 and for a pleasant change I am the second person, not the last, to be dropped off.  Back to the room before 18:00 for a showe and a snack then down to reception for some hot water for a coffee, strecth out on the bed and I feel almost human again.  Jai has been working in friend Ben's bat most of the day frying breakfasts so I suggest that we go somewhere else tonight.  We stop at a street stall where we used to eat quite a lot but find that his prices of risen from 35Bht this time last year to 70Bht.  Not a very big plateful either.  Back to Ben's for a huge plateful of fried veggies, chicken and rice for 40Bht.  Have a couple of beers with an old friend of Jai's, her Aussie husband and kids, who are also creatures of habit and are staying at Kong Court.  Ben wants Jai to go to the market to help her with something so Jai funds me about 2GBP to go and have a good time on my own for an hour - dont spend it all at once !!  I visit a few of the bars we used to drink in and say hello to a couple of people who are still around then sit outside Chiangmai Saloon watching the world go by until Jai and Ben arrive on motorbike a little later and take me back to Kong Court.
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