Aaaah, the first of many visa runs. Even though Thai immigration has taken some of the fun, and the question of "infinity" out of it. It's much more regulated now. I guess the Thai government seen some possible tourist dollars it was missing out on. The Thai government is one thing, but I'm having a real hard time giving the Burmese Gov't. any of my money. They are definetly in the "Bastards of the World" club. How can a country get away with such bullshit? I guess it happens the world over. Out of sight, out of mind. We even turn a blind eye over here, and the atrocities are only a few hundred miles away. But how do you stop it? Shoot them all? Declare war and create even more devastation? It's a tough one for this "Why can't we all just get along" country girl.
After pulling another all nighter on the bus in order to reach the border in time, I wasn't quite clear headed, or in the mood for to many complications. I ended up doing one of the organized tourist/ visa runs. It cost a bit more, but was free of headaches. I even ended up meeting a good group of people along the way. The laxadaisy german who pointed me in the direction of Koh Payam (thank you), and the Icelandic couple. My first Icelanders! One more spot on my list of places to go. When will this list start getting smaller? Bianca, the german, turned around and headed stright back to Ranong, while the rest of us choose to spend a few hours exploring Burma, or at least the parts the gov't will let us see.
For such an oppressed country, the people are incredibly friendly and helpful. They could speak some english, as it was originally an english colony, and they loved to get their pictures taken! We spent quite a while, and a good chunk of my memnory card outside the school at the end of the day. Usually kids like to look at the picture after you take it. I don't think these kids understood that they could. Life is so basic, and that's the way the gov't wants to keep it. I've been wanting to get a month visa for Burma while I'm here, but I'm still undecided. The gov't has their fingers in everything, and it can be quite a challenge to keep the cash in local hands, but if you can, the appreciation is enormous, and they have a genuine interest in the rest of the world. Everybody that's been there lists it as a must see, then the other side says it's immoral to support this government. I believe it's immoral to cut the people off from outside contact, and the much needed extra cash because of their gov't. There, decision made. Add it to the list!