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Burmese live in Myanmar?

May 27, 2010

I made the most efficient border excursion thus far today.  Last night I left on a night ferry to take me from Ko Tao to Chumphon, on the mainland.  Within moments I was on a bus on my way to Ranong, which is a town on the Thai/Myanmar border.  Immediately we were punched through customs and herded onto a leaky narrow boat to take us across the river and into Myanmar.  Never have I smelt such a foul and objectionable stench.  What a pit.  It almost seemed like a futuristic dystopian with these large empty cargo/ferry boats marauding about, with a lone pilot and long-tail engine.  Perhaps you had to have been there. . .  On the boat coming into Myanmar there was a guy with a big black bag holding out a chart with a list of all the pills that you could buy off him as you were coming into official customs and passport control offices.  Seriously.  I mean, it was after all only Viagra, Xanex, Prozac, Valium, Codeine and Tremadol among other knock offs.  From talking with some mates who have done this trip before, I knew they guy was coming and I’ll admit, my curiosity had me studying the chart more so than I would have otherwise.  I mean how often do you really get to browse a completely illegit cornucopia of frightening drugs?  And the fact that I was about to walk through customs I thought was hysterical.  We passed a small island with a bunch of guys strutting around in army fatigues.  In total, I was in Myanmar no more than 15 minutes or so.  I did however buy a cheap bottle of gin from a Burmese guy who held an umbrella for me during the rain.  I’m actually pretty sure about that dystopian thing.  By 3:00pm I was back on Ko Tao with my passport fully updated.  The lesson to be learned is getting the double entry visa is a huge time and money saver.   And if you ever need a carton of ‘boot-leather’ cigarettes for the cost of a bus fare, go to Myanmar.
Despite my first impression of Myanmar, it’s supposed to be a cool place to check out.  The military has itself a bit of a despotism and money goes all the wrong places, but the people are friendly and genuine.  Maybe next time?

pic to come soon

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