this entry is labled Mynamar for the fact that few people actually spoke Thai in Mae Sot, but rather Burmese
29.01.2009 32 °C
Its a mild and warm thursday night thats covered in mosquitos as usual but this time I'm dehydrated and everthing is consequently a little misty, but more so strange in my hotel.
We made our way to Chiang Mai from Mae Sot, a small Muslim town on the border or Burma that was intriguing but equally depressing. Mae Sot is littered with a variety different ethnicities which have become defineable throughout my travels, walking down the street you can see Burmese, Karen- hill tribe villagers, Burmese-Thai, and Indian/ Sri Lankan refugees that have made their way down to this strange little town. I have to say, in my quest for cultural understanding Mae Sot was a defining learning experience.
From the small town of Tak, you took an hour and 1/2 minibus from hell ride up a path of mountains into this ramshack village with endless aromas and atms. Strange to say the least, many of the people there acted as if they'd never seen a white person before, or maybe just a white woman before. After about five minutes I felt like an object. Everywhere Kirk and I walked someone would spot us and tap their friend on the shoulder to look at us, and after around 15 minutes I realized that in my sundress I was a number one smash hit amongst teenage muslim boys. Walking by myself was the loudest responce I recieved with several men who didn't know how to say anything else in english but "I love you" to convey their desire to either court or woo me, so it was strange to say the least to walk down the street and have men you didn't know tell you in loud voices that they "loved" you. Ha!
Though this was a muslim town I had the distinctly unfortunate experience of seeing pigs slaughtered which is believe you me, such a frightening sound that I never want to come close to it again. I don't eat pork, so I didn't feel particularly hypocritical feeling so repulsed during those moments. We had come from this Lao style eatery and were approaching a kareoke joint when I asked the boys next to me, "Do you hear that? Its sounds like someone is screaming". Within twenty feet the sound became louder and after a bit, I turned to the left of me and it was an open air slaughter house. Pigs being slaughtered sounds earily like a woman screaming, it gave me a nasty feeling as we walked into a kareoke place that was advertised as being open from 20-24. Now if you think of it, a business being open for only four hours a night and having literally no clientele isn't enough to pay the rent and can only be a front. I can think of no other reason three westerners walk into a kareoke joint and the staff is annoyed to have to use the kareoke machine. Hmmmm, from the cheap perfume and endless short skirted women walking up and down stairs this smelled like a prostitution ring. Facinating that I can be in a muslim town and its the only place I've seen pigs slaughtered and exagerated prostitution.
Our Miami decade long expat Brandon was a slippery guide through this bizzare town which I only believe is on the map because of lonely planet's conjuring ways. He clued me into the reason behind the many border immigration stops we had to make along the way to mae sot, which were because of many young Burmese girls who are sold into prostitution by their parents trying to escape into different parts of Thailand. After that fact he relayed me with I felt my stomach churn, but its an interesting feeling being around two men who have no doubt solicited prostitutes and having such a feeling of disgust without being able to convey it and have it be recieved.
I am now relieved to be in Chiang Mai. A boon of sanity in this Thai Sea.