Another New Experience

We keep chalking up new experiences, not living in a refugee camp, we did that in 2008, even being a refugee we have tried (1991 for a day or two), but still there are new things to try which add new shades to life’s rich tapestry.

The Friendship Bridge, Mae Sot, with others crossing the border on rubber rings.

Today we went to cross the Thailand-Myanmar Friendship Bridge to renew our visas. (That in itself is not the new experience, we did it also in 2008). This time we got photos of the people who cross below on rubber rings, but that hardly counts, as we saw them then, we just had no chance to take photos. Since then we have learned more about the experience and the motives of the ring people. Some are just avoiding customs duty, but others are people planning to be overstayers in Thailand, fleeing the Burma Army and its Generals, they cannot be seen by the Thai authorities to be entering the country with all their worldly goods. So they pay someone to ferry their posessions across on a ring, and plan to collect them once they have entered Thailand. Then they’ll become overstayers…

The person crossing the bridge in the photo above shows the lighter side of life, he was a baloon seller!

Sometimes, as for our informant, it goes wrong and the ferryman steals the load, and the potential overstayer cannot complain as then they would be revealed as intending illegal immigrants.

Oh, yes, our new experience… we became overstayers ourselves today, we should have crossed the bridge yesterday. Our miscalculation cost us 500 Bhat, those fleeing tyranny risk so much more 😦

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