So on Friday we made our way to Sangklaburi to visit our friend Laura there. She teaches English to a group of fourteen students. Sangklaburi is a small town but 80% of its inhabitants are Burmese (Myanmar) and they have fled to Thailand because of the problems in their country. As such you get a real Burmese flavour to the area. The students Laura teaches are from the Mon tribe in Burma and all have their own colourful life stories to tell as you can imagine. Laura lives in community with her students - sharing meals and living space. She has been there for 3 months now and plans to spend another 6 months there. Laura has her own blog where she jouranls her experiences with a fantastic writing style - click here to check it out. Picture shows us sharing Mon food with Laura and her students. Following this we discovered how much the Thai and Burmese people love Westlife and Westlife karaoke - it was a sereal moment!
This was an amazing experience for us as we got to talk with real Thai and Burmese people and experience something of their culture and struggles. I'm so glad we had these couple of days were we could get off the beaten track and see no other tourists!
Whilst there we got invited to a Buddhist Monks birthday party at the temple - what a privilege - i mean this opportunity does not often present itself eh?! The pic on the left shows is the birthday boy in question! The party really just involved a sharing of food with a lot of people from the community. Then they had a time of prayer that we were able to observe also.
Yesterday we hired out 2 motorbikes and went touring around visiting some of the Mon villages. I've never been to anywhere were i have seen such poverty but at the same time the people there are very happy, they have their own little houses and they are healthy and seem to have their basic needs met - they all had running water, electric, televisions etc. We were also able to visit a Christian Childrens Home which mostly caters for orphans or children with HIV/Aids. The children were at church when we were there though so sadly we didn't get to spend time with them. We moved on to visit a similar centre for adults who have HIV/Aids, or disabilities or mental health problems. This was also interesting and the residents there weved their own products to sell so we were able to buy some stuff. The pic on the left is me beside the Burma border (we weren't allowed to cross it).
By far the funniest thing of the trip happened yesterday! Stefan was raking his motorbike in this little dirt area beside some market stalls. So i thought i'd take a picture and I'm not sure quite what happened but he was giving it full throttle and heading straight for me with the intention of braking. However i think he forgot how to brake or else he tried to brake whilst still giving it full throttle. Anyways, basically he fell off just as i was taking a picture so i managed to capture the perfect moment. I'm not joking folks, it was hilarious! Stefan came away with a few cuts and bruises but by far the worst to suffer was his pride! The bike was only a little bit damaged luckily enough and we got it fixed ok! Anyone who can remember any of the stories from last years trip will remember he did something pretty similar with a boat!
So all in all, it was a fantastic couple of days, defintely a highlight of the trip. we have just arrived in Bangkok today for 2 days. We leave here on Tuesday and arrive home on Wednesday morning and there will end the travelling for another year (well a few months anyway!).