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  1. #251
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    ossierob's Avatar
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    Dont stop there !!!

  2. #252
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    Spent a year in Mae Sot.

    Interesting.

  3. #253
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    ^Going back to the mid and late 1980's the town was virtually lawless.

    A lot different nowadays. Large Police Station,
    plenty of police, border patrol officers.


    Still plenty of dodgy stuff going on, but covertly.

    Except when they bump people off without a second thought.


    Such is life.


    As you mention, AA 'Interesting'
    All the women take their blouses off
    And the men all dance on the polka dots
    It's closing time !

  4. #254
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    Quote Originally Posted by robinyates View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Mathos View Post
    We both love Elephants, they are superb creatures.

    We don't like seeing them kept as circus toys, but working in the countryside with their mahout is a pleasure to behold.






    This beauty looked great and the mahout appeared happy with his little lot.

    Some years ago, Flobo was almost trampled by a mother cow though.
    We were trekking in northern Thailand and stayed overnight in a large 'longhouse' virtually attached to a working jungle Elephant camp, high in the mountains. There were numerous elephants there.

    One of the cows had a thirty five day old calf by the river, we had arrived at the camps just prior to nightfall, well knackered, sticky and sweaty etc. We took a bath in the river, the water was really cold, straight from the snowy mountains no doubt.

    We dined well and retired to the 'longhouse' for the night, there was a fire burning on the floor which I kept going all night, it really went down to freezing during the night and we would have been very cold indeed without the fire, out bags were only light.

    The following morning we saw the baby calf with mother cow by the river, she was drinking and spraying herself, the calf was under her front legs taking milk.
    Flobo went down with the camera, she got quite close and took a snap, it was not full daylight and the camera flash startled the calf which cried out.

    The cow raised her trunk, bellowed and ran at Flobo, she in turn ran like hell and leaped up the banking, the cow stopped there, it was only a few feet from her and although I was running towards her, there would have been nothing I could have done had it got to her.

    It was quite an experience and we still get the 'strange feeling' when we think back to that episode in life.

    I think I have a photograph of the cow and calf somewhere, I will enter it up in due course.


    if ever a picture said " at one with nature " this one does, thank you
    I have been right through your posts and am gobsmacked at all you and your wife have seen and done. Absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for sharing. I am currently in the Philippines but thankfully am leaving after 2 years.I am going to the North East of Thailand

  5. #255
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    Quote Originally Posted by robinyates
    I am going to the North East of Thailand
    Not if you're going to Uttaradit, you're not.

  6. #256
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    Khmen

    Thanks for the green.

  7. #257
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    ^^
    Robin yates wrote.

    I have been right through your posts and am gobsmacked at all you and your wife have seen and done. Absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for sharing. I am currently in the Philippines but thankfully am leaving after 2 years.I am going to the North East of Thailand
    Cheers Robin, I think if you get the opportunity to travel,
    especially if you are fit and able to do more than simply while
    away the hours by a pool or bar, then the opportuinty should be taken.


    Somebody once said;

    "Tourists have no idea where they have really been.
    Travellers don't know where they are going."

    Enjoy yourself.

  8. #258
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by robinyates
    I am going to the North East of Thailand
    Not if you're going to Uttaradit, you're not.

    Depends which road he uses.

  9. #259
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    Had a couple of friends visit today, we met them in Mae Sot
    Thailand quite a few years ago.

    They have recently returned from Mae Sot amongst other
    haunts that myself and Flobo were well acquainted with.

    I was sorting a few photographs out amongst other things,
    there are a few which might be appreciated amongst some
    of the threads relating to our travels.

    I've spent most of my time on the Lancs thread,
    always considering there are plenty of members with some
    excellent threads on the Oriental side of Teak Door.

    I'll probably put a bit of detail down during the next few days.

    We had some interesting discussion today with regards to many things
    of interest 'Orientally Speaking'





    That's a nice landscape from high in the hills.

    January 2008 if my memory serves me right.

    No need to mention it was in the dry season.

    These areas can be highly dangerous for fires breaking out.

    Some folk have no idea, or don't realise the dangers
    that can be created simply by discarding a cigarette end.




    Apparently there is a great deal of conflict at present
    along the borders with Thailand and Burma. Mae Sot
    usually a bit of a hot spot for all sorts of cross border problems
    and Political Dissent.

    It always has attracted exiles, mercenaries, vendors as
    well as buyers and sellers of drug products, gun running,
    people trafficking, especially with regards to prostitution.
    and that's saying nothing at all regarding the millions of pounds
    involved in the massive sales of Rubies, Saphires, Diamonds
    and Emeralds. I have never seen so many precious stones
    changing hands as they do here and Mae Sai.

    Then theres a massive trade in counterfeit medication, cigarettes
    booze, copy designer clothes, footwear, even Man United shirts.

    A lot of folk get involved in taking breaks to Thailand simply to buy
    these clothing and football shirts especially, take them back home
    making a little fortune for themselves, usually via car boot sales.

    They will end up getting caught at some stage or another
    but the gamble, if they are not concerned with being adorned
    with a criminal record can be quite profitable.

    However, the courts can now apply a restoration order
    for folk making vast bucks from crime.

    Rightly so.

    They usually have plenty of bling, flash motors,
    clothes, houses etc and cannot justify the purchases
    via legitimate business or employment.

    The guys with the cigarettes and tobacco
    products are notorious for selling fake products,
    which can contain anything.

    It's possible to buy 200 cigarettes under the bridge
    or on the car park at Mae Sot for pea-nuts.

    In quantities going back to when I was last there, they
    were being offered at 100 baht for 200. That was late
    February or early March 2008.



    These mountains around the border-lands especially
    look magnificent, but there is much going on there that
    is not simply bad, immoral, unpleasant or injurious.

    Murder is a regular occurrence.

    Jan 21, 2010 (DVB), A Thai village chief has been seriously injured after being shot twice by a pro-Burmese junta militia, who last week crossed from eastern Burma into Thailand.

    Two members of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) carried out the attempted murder on 16 January after crossing the Moei river from eastern Burma's Karen state, the Karen Information Committee (KIC) said.

    The Eu Pu Hta village chief, Cha Chai, survived the shooting and is now in hospital, according to his relatives who spoke with the KIC.

    "Two DKBA soldiers arrived at Cha Chai's house around 8:45pm and shot him twice. One shot hit him on the thigh and the other one in his bladder. We didn't see the attackers' faces," said the relative.

    "We sent him to Pho Pa hospital immediately but doctors there couldn't handle the wounds so we transferred him to Mae Sot hospital. His condition is serious and life threatening."

    The DKBA, which is closely allied to the ruling junta in Burma, often makes incursions into Thai territory, although recriminations from the Thai government are rare.

    It is widely believed that DKBA troops were responsible for the assassination in 2008 of former Karen National Union (KNU) leader Pado Mahn Sha, who was shot dead in Thailand's border town of Mae Sot.

    More besides.



    A corpse a with rope tied around its neck and bearing multiple stab wounds was identified by associates on Friday as a female Burmese gem merchant who had gone missing in Mae Sot, Thailand, six days earlier.

    The victim, Ma Khin Win, aged 40, from the Burmese gem-mining town of Mogyoke, disappeared in the Thai border town of Mae Sot, which abuts Myawaddy, Burma, on February 21, according to an associate.
    You could fill a tome with stories of this nature.

    Some of them are so graphic and evil,
    they don't merit airing.




    Little wonder there are so many refugees on these borders.

    Some like the Padang are fortunate enogh to have more
    benefits than others, due to their popularity in the Thai
    Tourist Attraction.





    Some of these views are quite magnificent.

  10. #260
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    The basic homes throughout these areas have
    changed little at all in appearance over the years.




    Many a time, I have looked at these habitats along with
    storage buildings, thinking that they will probably look
    just the same a hundred years from now.

    The mopeds may well improve, there will be
    additional 'pick-ups' in the villages, but all in all the
    homes are what they are.



    Exceptions of course being when improvements are made
    in the better use of materials, usually following examples set by
    the occidentals. It simply has a knock on effect.

    These improvements to standards of living are
    quite obvious throughout the country, but in the
    mountain locations, I cannot see it happening for a long time.

    They can swap a wife for a couple of pigs out in some
    of these places, nobody cares an iota.

    The Shan States, are something else.


    Some years since, me and Flobo spent some time in
    the tree house below. This was in Thailand.

    Certainly different.




    It had electricity, but that was hit and miss of an evening.


    There was all sorts crawling, scuttling and flying about.

    Flobo, had just seen something there out of the corner
    of her eye.



    Beautiful location though.



    Beautiful in the sense of being alive, different, appealing.

    Things like scorpions, snakes, funny insects and large flying
    bugs, have no appeal at all to you when you don't eat them.



    Not that bad when you get in bed with the protection
    of the mosquito net though.

    Or so you think.

    Then, you start feeling little bites, annoying,
    find the torch under your pillow and switch it on.

    Your being eaten alive by ants.

    You both get out of bed, net up, sheets and blanket off,
    shake it out, spray the mattress, spray the floor, thank
    God for DDT, that was banned in the rest of the world.
    about 1970 or so.

    Wipe the bites down with a dollop of Johnny Walker
    and get back in bed.

    Tomorrows another day.



    It's a bit of a bugger going into places like Burma,
    Laos, Cambodia, Shan States, Southern China, Yunnan areas
    and such like.




    Children.

    In 2008 in the Shan States, certain smugglers were buying
    newborn babies from very poor families in the poppy growing regions.

    They would say they were childless folk and wanted to adopt them.

    Without going into sordid detail the children were murdered,
    drugs packed into their bodies, they were treated with disinfectants
    and scents to hide the stench and taken across the borders.

    They got away with this form of smuggling until the
    Border Police got wise to it, following a Border Controller
    becoming suspicious at the number of children being taken
    across.

    These natives in the mountain areas,
    don't have passports and such like.

    There's no real control at all.

    These folk, including the children, probably sleep through
    anything like ants and insects without a second thought.





    It's such a secretive area, things are going on that are
    difficult for folk to comprehend.

    In December 2009, The Bangkok Post reported that there
    were fifty drug refineries up and running large scale operations
    along The Thai - Burma border.

    The accusations regarding the entrepreneurs in these
    operations were quite alarming.

    There are some rum gpoings on along the borders.

    The Friendship Bridge at Mae Sot, may still be closed
    I'm not sure. Up to August last, it had been closed for over a year.

    It makes smuggling across the river, more difficult,
    certainly not impossible.

    The military regime in Burma closed the bridge, because they stated
    Thailand had constructed an unofficial concrete embankment on the Thai side.


    Since July 18, 2010, Burma’s military regime has
    closed the Myawaddy-Mae Sot border in retaliation,
    for what it claims was the unofficial construction
    of a concrete embankment on the Thai side.

    Thai Traders are said to be losing 100 million baht daily.

    On the Eastern Borders with Cambodia,
    it beggars belief what is going up and down
    The Mekong.




    Investigations are ongoing with regard to crimes involved with
    illegal logging, associated attempted murder, intimidation, extortion
    and smuggling.

    Thousands of litres of petrol are smuggled to Cambodia
    on a daily basis from the province of An Giang.

    The Thai - Laos section of The Mekong is a
    hot-bed of criminal activity.

    You may well be aware of the thirteen Chinese crew members
    who were murdered after their two cargo ships were attacked allegedly
    by notorious drug smugglers on the Mekong River.

    The attack happened last early this month.
    The area is notorious for drug production,
    China’s foreign ministry said.


    Armed men hijacked the ships to smuggle drugs into Thailand, reports say.
    Last edited by Mathos; 24-10-2011 at 04:46 AM.

  11. #261
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    This view from the Hotel Namkhong Riverside Hotel
    we stayed here a few days.



    Nice spot, basic type of hotel, clean and the food was satisfactory.

    The crossing between here and Laos,
    is a notorious point on the map for
    all sorts of contra-band.


    The production and use of synthetic drugs has really escalated.

    I'll place more on here through the week.

    Company.

  12. #262
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    There is a tendency to delve when you visit places
    such as Thailand and other surrounding countries in
    the Indo-Chinese Peninsular.

    Maybe the historical exaggerated tales,
    treasures found, fortunes won and lost,
    are responsible for stirring the imagination.

    I know whenever I came across a cave,
    I wanted to look inside, see if I could find
    another Emerald Buddha, or even the twin of
    The Golden Buddha.

    He or she is meant to be there somewhere.




    They are places of intrigue.

    We have come across quite a few Monks over the years,
    who have lives in these places.

    I remember one from many years back, that entry
    could only be gained, by him lowering a rope ladder,
    which allowed a dodgy climb to be undertaken up the cliff face.

    He didn't have a great deal in there,
    except for a basic thin mattress,
    loads of writing paper, and scrolls he had written,
    in the thousands, rolled up and wrapped with a pink ribbon.


    Basically we found out they were his thoughts given to life
    during this form of self imposed exile from the world.

    He was well looked after by the locals, they fed him the basics
    and more besides. Plus water, and no doubt additional benefits.

    There was a charge for being granted access to
    the cave and an audience with the Monk.

    Can't remember how much, but it wasn't much.
    Last edited by Mathos; 31-10-2011 at 04:29 AM.

  13. #263
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    At times, you may see signs similar to these,
    when you are near to a cave which will no doubt be
    habituated by a Monk.



    This particular one was well displayed on a somewhat
    popular tourist route, a few miles north of Mae Hong Son.


    The Monks take these places initially to meditate,
    I think they then discover that they can generate a little
    extra on the side, the locals, and of course the tourists.

    There is one near Mae Hong Son, who only
    has snakes and bats for company.

    Others camp by waterfalls, there's usually a
    cave near a water-fall.


    They dress them up with the basics.



    Some of them have little areas which may well have additional
    sealed rooms or routes into the mountains.



    On occasion, you feel that the plaster type finish over
    additional rooms could be hiding something.

    It won't be the Holy Grail, Chalice, or the Ark of The Covenant.


    But the Golden Buddha had ben concealed well for
    a couple of hundred years and was only discovered by
    accident, so you never really know.


    This was another cave giving a home to a Monk.




    He's probably sorted himself a KFC franchise by now.

    He was selling all sorts, folk were paying for blessings,
    as well as the fancy coloured piece of string tied around the wrist.

    I'm looking at the steps, thinking they went somewhere!




    Why has it been blanked off?

    He told me it was 'dangerous'

    This one was 'Very Dangerous'



    "Snake, many snake, no good, they bite, you die."


    Amazing really, there are several which must have been
    used by early man.

    I don't know how the archaeological aspects of South East Asia really work.

    Charles Higham, a notable British
    archaeologist, has been digging
    and delving over there for about forty years.

    He has made some interesting finds.

  14. #264
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    The link here is interesting.

    Uncovering Ancient Thailand - Archaeology


    There is a Monk from Malaysia, who apparently
    spent twelve years or more wandering the jungles of Thailand.


    He is settled down in a cave close to Mae Hong Son.

    Apparently there are Monks known as 'Forest or Jungle Monks'

    They walk the isolated jungles as part of their
    spiritual training.

    The Malaysian Monk is or was a professional photographer,
    some of his work is on the attached.

    The page gives an account of his background.

    There is an excellent video
    displaying his work at the bottom of the page.


    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=5,10435,0,0,1,0

  15. #265
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    This particular home right on the north west
    border of Thailand and Burma, is quite an elaborate
    building, especially for the location.



    The design is somewhat European, there are certain tales of
    an English raised Chinaman living there with his natural Chinese
    family members who were descendants of the original Kuomintang.

    In the early years of the 20th Century The Kuomintang led by Sun Yat Sen
    increased its power in China.

    In 1924 it adopted the "Three Principles of the People"
    (nationalism, democracy and social reform)

    However Sun Yat Sen died in 1925, the following power
    struggle between Wang Ching-Wei and Chiang Kai-Shek
    resulted in the Kuomintang being led by
    Chiang Kai-Shek who ousted the Communists from the
    organisation and took over Beijing.

    When the Japanese invaded China, control of
    the country due to all the in fighting, was in turmoil
    throughout the War Years especially.

    However The Communist Party well controlled and firmly going
    through hell to take control (The Long March) they were led by
    Zhu De and Lin Bao.

    When the Japs surrendered, the Communists began a war against the
    Kuomintang. Eventually gaining control of China.

    Mao announced the establishment of
    'The Peoples Republic of China'

    Chiang Kai-Shek and the remnants of his army, along with their families
    fled to Formosa, now known as Taiwan (hence all the ongoing desire to
    claim Taiwan as part of China), others scattered South into
    The Yunnan Territories, as well as further afield to Thailand, Burma,
    Laos, and parts of Vietnam.


    Those living in these areas, are still a formidable force.

    In most of the homes, you can see old photographs of the early
    warriors of the 1940's and 50's especially, toting guns
    and riding these mountains on horseback.




    They basic style of accommodation is much as shown above.

    Border areas, are marked with a wooden fence in the mountains.



    I have placed tale of experiences I had in rather foolishly
    crossing one of these borders, some years ago.



    There is nothing in Burma to afford any form of safety in travelling these
    mountains.

    There is a great deal of beauty, with
    total serenity in places which can be a
    hub of skirmishes and much more in these remote
    mountain areas.



    Afternoon 'English Style Tea' on the lake.

    You might even see a mule train passing through.

    Khun Sa himself was a regular visitor to these locations.

  16. #266
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    This particular area of Thailand around Mae Hong Son
    is at the least provocative.

    The natural beauty is tremendous.




    Time was when folk were sent up here as a form of punishment.

    Ministers and such like who fell out of favour.

    Accommodation was virtually none-existent.

    There are refugee camps on the borders.



    Folk can be found down by the rivers
    washing their clothes, passing the time of
    day with a tale or two.

    General gossip.



    You never really know exactly what is going on though.

    The Imperial Tara, I recall was built by a Swiss Lady.

    The Mountain Inn was a Holiday Inn.

    Khun Sa, is said to have built the original runway up here.




    I remember seeing the first Poppy Fields in this location
    along with acres of Marijuana Bushes.

    Khun Sa lived mainly in Homong close to
    the Thai border opposit Mae Hong Son.

    It is said that his headquarters were there.

    The hospital had a first class operating theatre.

    The Homong town itself was no hideout, it was a bustling
    place, it had a first class 18 hole golf course.
    Khun Sa enjoyed a game of golf.

    Very 'Wealthy Businessmen' from all over Asia would fly into
    Mae Hong Son, when it was his private airfield.

    They came to experience the madness of the
    night life on offer in Homong and buy the precious
    stones.

    Khun Sa being the vendor of course,
    he knew how to throw a party.




    These basic bamboo structures are typical
    homes for the mountain folk.

    Mae Hong Son, boasts some very attractive
    private residences.



    Difficult to imagine, most of these mountain
    folk have no idea what lies down the mountain.

    It would be crazy to visualise them understanding
    cities for instance.

  17. #267
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    I well remember many years back,
    we had driven into the north west regions
    of Thailand.

    We were quite hopelessly lost.

    We were meant to be meeting up
    with Jock at Tha Song Yang.

    Having left Chiang Mai, we did our best to skirt down the
    Burmese border. Alas, the roads in those days were
    little more than dirt tracks. Some still are today.

    We stopped several times to try and get information
    regarding the best routes to take.

    It was an impossible situation.

    We were probably quite lucky to get away with our lives.

    I do remember a stop we made in a small village
    which was reminiscent of one of those early cowboy
    towns they showed on the old American films.

    Wooden buildings, somewhat dilapidated, and timber sidewalks.
    (Pavements to us English) the roads were simply dirt, no tarmac
    at all.

    There was no electricity, save for an odd small generator
    that might have been in working order. No English was spoken
    we were much limited with a few odd words of Thai.

    We had the map out, they were looking, we pointed at the map
    and at the ground, trying to establish where we were.

    They pointed at the map, and then to the ground.

    We realised they had probably never seen a map in their lives.

    I recall an elderly lady in the town, wearing a simple sarong,
    no top.

    One middle aged guy was obviously drunk and having a right rant
    at a woman, probably his wife.

    A younger man started to hit him.


    There never seemed to be any police around the towns.

    Border type patrols on the border, they often stopped us.

    They would look in the vehicle, and then wave us on.

    Children were usually in rags, carrying water in old oil cans
    or similar. Sometimes they could be seen with dead vermin,
    obviously they caught them in traps, taking them home for
    mother to cook.

    I have some photographs somewhere, of large numbers of
    dead rats, on sale in those old grass covered market places
    in the north.


    Sometimes you look at the children and see pleasure
    in their freedom of existence, depending on the location
    and their particular environment.

    At times, there is an awful sense of desperation
    in the total despair they naturally transmit, without
    being aware of it.

    There still is in many places, this little boy was in a lonely looking
    world of his own in the dirt of a village in Burma.



    I wonder what he is doing now?

    The future isn't exactly Orange.




    They have a natural flair in the world of survival, places like these
    in Burma, have a wide audience in the world of drugs, contraband,
    human trafficking and more besides.

  18. #268
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    I heard recently, that China was somewhat aggrieved with Burma
    regarding the suspension of the building of Myitstone Dam project on
    The Irrawaddy River.

    In fact China has been having various disagreements with Burma,
    Laos, Vietnam and India.

    There is a need for China to secure hydro-electric power from the rivers
    which then pass through to these countries.

    The effects on life in general for Thai people, Burmese,
    Laotians and Vietnamese could be quite chaotic to say the least
    if they start building massive dams to satisfy their own
    needs for electricity.

    When asked for his views on the current situation,
    the gentleman on the bench stated quite clearly;-




    "What?"

  19. #269
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    Quite surprising just how much in the way of drugs is coming
    out of Burma at present.

    America makes use of Satellite imagery which show
    enormous increases in areas used for poppy cultivation.

    They are also aware that heroin refineries, previously only located
    along the borders with Thailand were popping up, well established
    along China's border lands.

    The narcotics can be moved quite easily along
    major roads and highways.

    Enormous quantities of methamphetamine (yabba)
    are produced in laboratories well established in
    areas under the control of The United Wa State Army.

    The Communist Party of Burma was known to finance
    it's operations with the money made in narcotic production
    and sales.

    Burma rates highly amongst the worlds biggest producers
    of illegal narcotics.

    In fact it was tagged the worlds largest producer of opium
    in 2008.

    The Shan States being marked as being responsible for over 90%
    of Burma's total Poppy farming.

    Coupled with the production of methamphetamine and heroin
    it's quite an area of concern.

    However, the main, if not virtually total consumption is regional.

    The combined corruption involving government, military, the police
    etc makes the money laundering along the leaking borders quite easy.

    China has become highly involved in the production of legal chemicals.

    However, the diverting of chemicals that assist in the manufacturing
    and production of massive amounts of ephedrine. Has obviously been
    feeding the illicit market.


    Stimulants appear to be a favourite throughout Asia.

    Yaaba use and general consumption became very popular in Bangladesh
    a few years back.

    Mainly used by the more affluent members of society.

    Yaaba is used by many in Thailand.

    Originally it was a booster for wagon drivers.

    Hence the massive accident rates.

    It was also found to be used in Israel, taken in apparently by
    Thai workers and spreading throughout the night club scene.

    Whilst there are plenty of 'Speed Freaks' in the Occidental World,
    there is little to base Yabba being sold here in any significant quantities.

    Amphetamine powder is the most common product in The West.


    This is an interesting link, with regards to The Shan States
    especially.

    Shan state, eastern Myanmar, Burma, travel information & maps


    This map is good too.

    There's a fair mixture of tribes in The Shan States.

    Shan, Padaungs, Dhanu, Lahu, Was, Inthas and many more
    small ethnic groups. There are Bamar, Sikh and Muslims,
    they reside mainly in the Capital.

    Worth noting that there has recently been a large influx
    of Chinese into this area of Burma.

    Population is about four million, living in an area of just over
    sixty thousand square miles.

    The Capital is Taunggyi.

    The British turned the small mountain village of wooden huts
    etc. into quite a town during their occupation of Burma.

    Making it the Capital of The Shan States.







    There's a great deal and a lot of folk to manage of course.

    But their existence is not like ours.

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    Can't say I have ever noticed a shortage of food in
    any of these Countries.

    The likes of Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam,
    Thailand of course.


    The points of sale and presentation leave much to be desired
    at times.

    I don't make excuses for a second showing of the Butchers in Laos.

    I just had to stick this beauty on of the butcher shop in Laos.. It really stirred up my appetite!



    It's an absolute classic.

    The approach to a weekday market in Burma.



    You can see electric cables supplied to this town.

    They have some kind of deal with Thailand to supply
    Myawaddi.

    I don't know how it works though.


    There's never a shortage of fresh vegetables.




    You might not know what it all is.

    But if it's obviously edible and you need food,
    just make sure you wash it, thoroughly.



    I've seen this sort of stuff, along with fish, skinned chickens,
    laid out on the floor on a bit of cloth, with dogs urinating on
    the same.



    Plenty of fish.

    Those weird looking eel things seem to be well liked.





    I remember years ago doing a study on rates of bacterial growth
    on foods not kept in the correct temperatures.


    I guess they aren't aware of those details out here.

    The last time I had food poisoning was in Chiang Mai,
    via a chicken salad sandwich from a hotel.

    I was very ill, for several days.

    Even the immediate purchase of antibiotics,
    salts and bottled water, didn't have much of an effect.



    Note the copious amounts of dried fish and fish paste .

    Fish paste in the pale blue washing up bowl.



    Remember the dog.

    Placed this on again with reference to the money denomination
    in Burma.

    The Kyat.

    You need a lot of them to buy very little.




    When Britain colonised Burma, the Indian Rupee replaced the Kyat.

    The same notes as used in India were made for Burma, but with Burmese
    Language on.

    When Burma was free of British Rule,
    they re-introduced the Kyat.

    In the Border towns, they prefer Thai Bart, US Dollar or GBP.





    Amazes me how they keep the old bikes and other contraptions
    in service.

    Same with the old cars and vans etc.
    Last edited by Mathos; 06-11-2011 at 05:16 AM.

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    Quite amazing when you have the opportunity
    to take in the basic of most basic existences
    throughout the world.

    Considering the effects necessity makes on the
    evolution of mankind across the planet, it's no
    big surprise to come across habitats such as these.




    Even looking at the washing line, can be quite informative.

    Amongst tribal people, you might well come across
    folk who have at some time or another broken an
    arm or leg.

    They will be very lucky if they have received any
    professional assistance at all.

    That's to say nothing of illnesses, appendicitis, food poisoning,
    toothache, ear-ache, bad cuts, snake or animal bites,
    rabies, malaria, and they are only prima-facie type thoughts.


    The Shaman, will carry out all sorts of 'mumbo jumbo'
    possibly invoking dead spirits to assist him and
    any bad cuts or gashes can be treated with anything from
    bits of root, leaves or even buffalo excrement.

    Chicken blood in the healing rituals is quite a common
    medication.

    In Mae Sot, folk do stand a much better chance.

    Dr Cynthia, herself a refugee (Karen, I think) set up
    a practice treating refugees and others.

    There is also Backpack Health Workers Team.

    They train local folk in the basics of medical assistance.

    This video link is excellent.

    Dr. Cynthia Maung - YouTube

    She has saved countless lives, especially children.

    Coupled with Medicines San Frontieres
    AKA Doctors Without Borders,
    (presently having problems with the Thai Government)
    have been outstanding in the assistance given over
    the years.

    The land-mine situation is soul destroying.

    Folk are killed on a regular basis, blown to pieces.

    Others, children included lose legs and arms.

    Even Elephants have had legs blown to pieces.





    We do live in a strange world.

    They are such an amazing animal.

    Pachyderm. That's a brilliant word.



    Why on earth folk and animals suffer so much
    through no fault of their own, simply on account of where
    they are born and raised is beyond the realms of normal
    thought.

    They don't have much in life to start with.




    The man residing here with his wife and children
    is so proud of his motorcycle.





    Amazing how they keep these machines running in such conditions.


    They can move all sorts about.



    Be it dead pigs or a Monk.

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    Speaking with folk in these jungle areas, they do mention
    that many folk die from snake bites every year,

    Be it in rice fields or simple jungle areas.

    Rubber plantations are also extremely dangerous places
    to come across snakes.



    I know, we have come across numerous snakes in our
    travels.

    Had a couple of very close calls too.


    Pakistan - there are an estimated 20,000 snake bite deaths each year

    If that figure is true (which i doubt)
    It's very scary.

    India's statistic is around 100 deaths per day! (Again, I doubt the same)

    Possible I suppose.

    No way of knowing just how accurate these figures
    really are though.


    One of the problems in addressing the correct statistics
    is that many cases are never reported.

    'He dead, burn him.'




    Folk working, children playing, it's so easy
    to be less cautious than you should be.




    The jungles in Burma, having amazing levels of wild life.

    Tigers, leopards, elephant, wild buffalo, wild boar.

    Numerous species of deer.

    Several species of monkey, flying fox, many wild-cats, tapir
    and reptiles including crocodiles and the massive Burmese Python.


    Wild Bear as well.

    Sadly, there is a great deal of poaching to supply
    the foolish demands for so called sacred properties
    from these animals.

    China being the main culprit as far as demand rears it's head.


    These roads can be transporting anything, throughout Asia.




    Strange notions folk have.

    In Mong La, Bear paws, gall bladders,
    elephant tusks, hide, tiger and leopard skins,
    as well as big cat teeth and deer horn are
    all openly on display next to crudely welded
    cages of live macaques, cobras,
    Burmese star tortoises and pangolin's.


    "Burma is being raped in terms of its
    natural resources -- trees, plants and
    animals. They've got to get a hold of the
    situation quickly before it becomes a barren
    ground,"
    said Steven Galster,
    Bangkok-based director of the Wildlife Alliance

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    Many times, I have heard people express concern with
    regard to the impunity that the Junta in Burma have got
    away with so much disregard for human life and well being
    of the population in general, especially the Shan and tribal folk.

    For several hundred years though, Burma was a country
    embroiled in strife, tribal warfare, as well as the ceaseless cross
    border wars with Thailand.

    British Rule was more than instrumental in bringing some amazing
    changes for the better with regards to social, economic, cultural
    and administrative transformations to the general way of life in the country.


    It's worth noting that we (The British) ended the Konbaung Dynasty
    by exiling the King (Thibaw Min) to India, in 1885.



    The photograph is from The Internet.

    The Ruling Junta (up to this year officially) had unprecedented
    positions of privilege with their families than their counterparts
    in places like Thailand or Indonesia for example.

    Aung San Suu Kyi, looks to be in favour at present, but the
    position is not very clear.

    We will no doubt see what happens in the course
    of the next year or two.

    I'd mentioned the capital of The Shan States
    earlier on, the photograph here gives a slight
    insight to the City of Taunggyi.




    It's not mine, I found it on The Internet.

    One of the major problems, following our departure from Burma
    after the last World War, has been the re-emergence of tribal
    wars, on a bigger and far more brutal, savage and indiscriminate scale
    than ever before.
    Last edited by Mathos; 08-11-2011 at 04:50 AM.

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    I had been looking for the photograph I have somewhere
    of rats being sold in a Thailand Market.

    Not found it as yet, I did however come across
    two of the vermin being sold on a Thai roadside.

    As you can see they have been skinned and gutted.




    The young girl is obviously learning the trade.


    Again, these photographs were sent to me a few years ago,
    I did not take them myself.




    I'm glad I've had my tea though, looking at those

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    It's quite amazing how folk do live, generating
    income from so many different sources.

    The fact the young girl is selling vermin on the roadside is
    worth comparing to what is permissible under the law
    in most western countries in comparison to there being
    no rules, regulations, or other criteria to control the supplying
    and sale of any food products.

    You wouldn't be allowed to retail a sandwich in the UK
    unless it was supplied from a regulated source, scrutinised
    by the local public health department, delivered in a refrigerated
    vehicle, with documented details and temperature recordings.

    These vehicles can be checked, and indeed are checked by
    health officials, who have the right to do a thorough inspection
    of the conditions of supply, transport, and retail.

    Retailing of sandwiches for instance is only permissible
    from a refrigerator. Open chilled display unit with temperature
    readings on show.

    All such goods have an extremely short sell by date,
    perhaps a day.

    Can you imagine sticking a tray of those rats down on a
    shelf in a food outlet over here.



    First stop The Strangeways Hotel.

    It's little wonder that Opium and Heroin cultivation
    is the favoured crop.

    Cabbages lettuce and tomato's are always going to be
    pence per ton.


    The meat stalls don't exactly generate a decent turn-over,
    let alone give a standard of living, that would satisfy any
    capable of reading this forum for example.



    Living in an area like this, with roads that only function until
    the monsoons arrive, leave little to the imagination about how the
    crop choice is selected.

    Opium produces regular cash for the grower,
    the folk living in these remote mountain areas
    especially never get wealthy from it, they only get
    enough to live on, perhaps the odd bonus for improving
    the size of crop output.

    They don't have to hawk the produce into town to sell it either,
    the buyers come to them.

    In fact the buyer usually has a jungle building or area set aside,
    caves, even buildings under ground, and well camouflaged to carry
    out the processes needed to produce the various levels of narcotic.

    A pound of opium will generate much more than perhaps a ton of rice.

    It isn't like taking a ton of rice or potato's to market either,
    all the additional costs that those crops naturally demand.

    The producers are usually addicts to the opium in any event.

    It's a way of life to them.

    It's normally the women who scrape the bulb to let
    the resin run.

    The following morning she will scrape the same into
    a copper cup which will be hanging from
    her waist band.

    This is potent stuff, the fumes are so strong that
    babies secured on their mothers backs have died from
    opium overdoses.




    The growers usually live in the most basic of conditions.

    Aware of the dangers to children they are normally kept
    away from the fields. However, away might just mean lying
    them down on a cloth by the fields, leaving them wide open
    to dangers from all kinds of insects and snakes of course.

    Most of the mountain folk chew on the dark sap, similar to tobacco
    chewers.

    Raw opium tastes very much like liquorice.

    It's the only form of medication they have apart from concoctions
    created by the local shaman.

    The opium is stored in blocks about a kilogram in weight.

    Wrapped in banana tree leaves or similar.

    The buyer will collect from certain points,
    varied for security reasons. The opium is taken there in large
    wicker containers carried on the backs of the women usually.

    The transfer is done every two weeks or so in the harvest
    period, which can take place twice a year.

    The buyer normally takes and burns a small amount on tin foil,
    the resultant colour and the intensity of the flame enable him
    to judge the morphine content.

    They are professional in their work.

    Hard to believe but a kilo will fetch
    the grower anything between eighty
    and a hundred dollars.

    Murder starts out here as well.

    Those attempting to encroach on
    the buyers source are targets.

    If the grower approaches other buyers,
    he too will be killed.

    At the buyers lair, close by, the raw opium
    will be converted into morphine.

    The next process converting into heroin,
    may not be carried out in the mountains,
    it's a specialised dangerous mutation requiring
    the skills of a chemist, or similar.

    Crop production has been on the increase in
    Burma for some years now.


    I have heard, but not had it confirmed that additional
    crops of poppies are grown in factories under hydroponics.

    It's common to find marijuana grown this way, so
    it may be going on.




    It isn't difficult to spot where the poppies have been grown
    cultivated and cropped.




    There's a certain way of life associated with the whole
    scenario, that is beyond description.

    The dealing doesn't just occur in the mountains either.

    It's capable of generating profits the likes of which can be
    comparable to a field of oil wells.


    These people have an amazing history.



    From what I have learned over the years, it all stems back to
    the Kuomintang.

    Poppies have of course been cultivated as an opium crop
    for generations.

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