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  Kentung - Tachileck  |  04.05.2008

 
 

Last night the rain started bouncing down really heavy. We had plans to wake up early and go to the market again with Michelle but we didn't even hear our alarm due to the rain! Also there was no way we could walk outside as it was pouring down so much.  We sat round having breakfast with Michelle and the 2 Dutch guys. We had arranged to go on a trip to an Akha ethnic village today but we soon realised that that was not going to materialise due to the weather. Lesh had talked to the Nepali guy in the market and had arranged for him to take us by tuk tuk to see the village. Doing it this way was substantially cheaper than the $25 per person that the guesthouse wanted to charge!  Once we realised tha the rain wasn't going to stop  we soon decided that we should make our back to Mae Sai. What's the point in sitting round cooped up in a not so nice guesthouse. It meant that we didn't have long to pack up our stuff and get ready to leave. We were both really sad that the weather was chasing us out. But we were only ever going to stay one more day and there was no point spending that day watching the rain. We managed to get tickets on the midday bus which meant we would arrive in Tachileck by 4pm...plenty of time to cross the border back into Thailand.

We left the bus terminal in Kengtung at 11:30am! We couldn't believe that we were leaving early. We were celebrating a bit too prematurely as we only drove across town to another bus station and we stopped there for 1 hour. When we finally left at 12:45 we stopped many times along the way to pick other people up. When I thought we had finally started moving properly we stopped just 10km out of town at a pit stop! We had hardly gone anywhere and we were stopping again! This time it was for another hour and people were all getting some lunch. It became clear that we were not going to make the border crossing that day which at first really peeved me off. But then I remembered the code we gave situations like this....TiA...This is Asia......  We were hearing all sorts of rumours about flooded rivers and stranded buses. And sure enough within 30 minutes of setting off again we got to the river that we had to cross. When we had crossed it coming it was just a little trickle of a stream  and easy to cross. Not this time...when we arrived at the crossing we saw many buses, trucks, cars and people gathered round a ferociously flowing river. The military were gathered round watching proceedings but it was the ordinary men who were doing all the hard work in getting the vehicles across. We had to get off our bus with all our stuff and cross over to the other side where we would swap buses. We crossed using a bridge that was not actually finished but could take the weight of people just not cars. As we waited for all the luggage to be swapped and reloaded we stood and watched the many vans and trucks that were weighted down and trying to cross the river. Nearly every vehicle would drive down the path all gung ho, only to cut out right in the middle of the river. Then 40 men in their undies would surround the truck and push with all their might to get it to the other side. At one point a bus got stuck and the men made a human tow rope just using each others arms to drag the bus out. It was an amazing display of team work.

Once on the bus we finally got going back to Tachelick. The journey was slow due to the weather and we made it back just before dark. By the time we checking into the grotty guesthouse it was dark. The LP says that people should always try and cross into Thailand to sleep as the guesthouses here are not of a good standard. Well that's an understatement...this place is gross and I hate it but theres nothing we can do so I just have to put up with it. We have all said we want to cross the border as early as possible tomorrow so we have set the alarm for 5:30am!

I have really enjoyed my short taster to Burma. I can't wait to go back on the 21st and see more of this great country. I will never forget my 29th birthday that I spent here.

 

 
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