Stepping back in History … almost

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Blogger in a Strange Land.”

No power, no taps, no TVs  It was like a journey’s stop through The Time Tunnel or good old Dr. Who’s Telephone Booth (now called the TARDIS), except for me, it was real.

The sight, the smell, the sound … when I hear people complaining about their temporary power outage, their supermarket not carrying certain products, gas price increase, I stop listening, I turn away.

Yes, I’ve blogged about it and if you are curious about the strangest place I’ve been to and still often think about, it’s a place no tourist have been to or will head for. It’s deep in the heart of The Golden Triangle.

Long known as an opium-producing area, the intercenter of this triangle is a point called Pratu Siam (Gate of Siam) in the province of Chiang Rai. As you sit by the bank of Mekong River, you will have Myanmar (Burma) to your left and Laos to your right.

After “roughing it out”, this little mom & pop cafe does seems like a luxury.

The few times that I have been out there was not so much as a tourist but to assist some missionaries who help tribe-members living in their highland-villages and who rarely “come to town”. 

There is the Yao or Mien  瑶族 hill tribe who some say are Chinese early immigrants from southern China. The embroidered turbans and black coats with puffy, bright red collars are their tribal attire.

Then there is the Akha mountain tribe (notice the different levels) and they claim to be from the Tibetan mountains.

These girls (some are already mothers) came to get basic physical checkups ~ forget dental because they chew tobacco & their teeth turn “hidden/unseen”.

While mums get checked, look at their adorable babysitters… the older children are always looking after younger siblings.

We get to stay in their villages, a night here & a night there… in “guest houses”.  I actually love these bamboo structures that have floors like trampolines, porous so no need for fans. At night when you sleep, you actually get to hear the pigs in their pens beneath you.

Ok, so we can’t take showers but we can use little streams which are tributaries of the Mekong River, if desperate.  Water supply is kind of tight & water for consumption definitely needs boiling.

   Like our trampoline floor cum beds?

Oh, and we even have our own chef!  Not sure how he does it but the food sure tastes good at every meal.

By the time we get back to Town, I usually ask myself if I’ll survive living in a tribal village. I haven’t had the guts to answer that question yet. But I love sitting by the Mekong River bank & looking across; seeing 2 countries (Myanmar & Laos) without moving from my seat.


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