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March 7, 2010 - Mae Hong Son Thailand

Written by GingerBlossom Published in

To get here, I opted out of the 8 hour overland route and took the prop plane Nok Air Mini, which seats 33 PAX, max. It's adorable, the plane is painted to look like a yellow and blue smiling bird. Mae Hong Son is a small mountain town, close to the Burmese border and largely settled by the Shan. I came here to see the Shan and Burmese temples and to go mountain biking. I saw temples today, but the bike riding may get scratched, one temperature sign said 38 degrees C., maybe it was in the sun, or broken, but it is HOT. Plus I might be going back to ChiangMai early, my clothing orders are getting complicated, two of the suppliers said yes, we can finish before the Spring Water Festival, now they think not, so I've got to come up with a Plan B.

I had iced coffee by the airport today in the company of a very young and audacious Siamese - cat, that is. We'd made eye contact. At two minutes after exchanging looks, he was up on the table, three minutes after , on my shoulder, four minutes after, nibbling on my ear. Five minutes after, and I was abandoned, he'd spotted his real Ma and siblings.

One of Darryl's workers was born someplace around Mae Hong Son. As a homebirth, it wasn't recorded, so he has no citizenship, and with no citizenship, he couldn't go to school, so was illiterate. Darryl encouraged him to go to learn to read and write, which he has, and they've been working on getting him citizenship in his own birth country, otherwise his kids can't go to school either. They are already three years into the citizenship process and interestingly enough, he's actually 25 years old, instead of 22 as he'd thought.