Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More Foreign Policy

I woke up one morning in Prachupkhirikhan with a most spectacular idea. As the world was a few weeks into the Obama era, I decided it was time to due my duty and so I pulled a page out of the Sarah Palin handbook and decided to brush up on my foreign policy experience. It all started with a drive down the coast, through the military base, across the runway and past Ao Manou. I was headed first to the even more isolated beach community of Hat Wa Kaw and from there, I pulled a Village People and decided to Go West. My Destination? Dan Singkhon, the little village at the border crossing of Thailand and Myanmar. I crossed the narrowest part of Thailand and from Beach to Myanmar is about 12 kilometers. I had no idea what I would find there, but there was only one way to find out.

Ideally, I wanted to go into Myanmar, but that particular crossing is open only to Thai/Burmese citizens, and my glowing red sunburnt skin would not let me pass as either. The road was quiet and winding through the hills. What I found odd, was that the colors of the leaves gave the whole area an Autumn feel to it, making the coconut palms and banana trees look somewhat alien.

I got to the border and it was nothing like what I had expected. It was a very low key place with nobody coming or going. On the Thai side of the border was a flower market, specializing in orchids. There were a few arts and crafts, but it was just a flower market. No drinks, no souvenirs, just flowers and some knitted caps. The Myanmar side was just an empty road disappearing into the hills. That was it.

I walked around, took a few pictures, met a few people and then got back on my motorbike, waved to Myanmar and made my way back to the beach. Who knew that dabbling in diplomatic and international relations was so exhausting? I grabbed and empty chair on an empty beach and ordered myself an ice cold Chang beer, which had become my drink of choice not so much for the taste, but for the double elephant motif. With my beer, I decided to be adventurous. I ordered a bag of potato chips with a flavor I had never seen before: Soft shell crab and garlic. I was in seafood heaven and so decided to be open-minded. I can honestly say, of all the potato chips I have eaten all over the world, those were the most disgusting of the bunch.

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