all that jazz

james' blog about scala and all that jazz

Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle

How does deep friend silk worms, bamboo worms and crickets sound? Well, last night I tried them all. for about 60c I got a platter of them with chilli sauce, mmm.... The taste was ok, but the texture… A taste was enough, I went and got some prawn cutlets, spring rolls and basil chicken. That was last night in Chiang Rai.

Today we took a local bus to the Golden Triangle. The Golden Triangle is the intersection between the borders of Thailand, Laos and Burma. I'm told it used to be the opium capital of South East Asia. The Laos border is defined by the Mekong River. I was amazed at just how much water is flowing down this river. It is wider than Lake Burley Griffen, looks quite deep, but it's flowing at quite a rapid pace, too fast to swim against. It flows down from the Himalayas.

We crossed the Mekong and landed at Laos, though, it was only a large island on the river, no border control or anything. Nevertheless, there was a Laos post box there, and I sent a postcard to my parents from there, therefore I was in Laos. Something weird there was that the people put snakes - king cobras, and scorpians, in their whiskey. There were all these whiskey bottles with snakes and scorpians in them. I didn't try it.

After that we went to Mae Sai, the northern most point of Thailand. It is here that we crossed into Burma. This time, we did have to officially leave Thailand, pay $13 for a visa into Burma, and then get a new visa when we came back into Thailand. Burma was a huge contrast to Thailand. The streets were covered in mud, I almost slipped over it was that muddy. In the worst parts, the mud had been scooped up into piles on the roads, and drivers had to weave between the piles. The people were very poor, there were a lot of beggars, particularly young children, much more than in Thailand. In Thailand, there are little food stalls everywhere, in Burma, there were hardly any, and they were much more dirty and run down.

We went shopping in the markets, the people were much more persistent in trying to sell us things, particularly cigarettes, porn movies and viagra. They'd follow you all the way down the street, not like Thailand at all. Coming back into Thailand, I was amazed at how clean it was. Previously I had been thinking Thailand was quite dirty, but now that I'm back here, I look around and it's so clean. It just goes to show the cleanliness of a place is all relative.

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Hi! My name is James Roper, and I am a software developer with a particular interest in open source development and trying new things. I program in Scala, Java, Go, PHP, Python and Javascript, and I work for Lightbend as the architect of Kalix. I also have a full life outside the world of IT, enjoy playing a variety of musical instruments and sports, and currently I live in Canberra.