Yeah, I intentionally put "trip" in parenthesis. It was not really a trip although I can officially say I've been to Myanmar.
I was on an adventure to the far western border of Thailand which borders Myanmar. Now, if you're old like me you remember this country as Burma. But, in 1989, after a military uprising squashed a democracy uprising, the name was changed to Myanmar. The people that live there are predominantly Burmese people, though.
Myanmar is a country ruled by military even today. It's always disgusted me this country does not get much news time, given the oppression of its military over its people. Even the neighboring countries are quiet about the happenings in this country. I guess no one thinks people need to know.
I've never officially visited this country for a couple of reasons. The first being the one I just stated. Although I've visited countries ruled by dictators before, I'm less comfortable visiting one that is ruled purely militarily. The second reason is at the time of my visit to the area, getting a visa was more complicated than now.
Anyway, this area of Myanmar is a rugged mountainous area. I was able to walk up to the border where border patrol was located. I took no pictures of border control as it was not allowed at the time of my visit.
A look across into Myanmar:
I actually had a small border incident here. The border is mountainous with no vehicle access. There are only footpaths at the location I was, but still there were border guards.
Well, one of the issues can be a lack of bathrooms in these areas and I needed to go. I didn't want to ask to use the border guard's toilet so I thought I would just walk out into the woods and go. The problem is the wooded area was on the Myanamar side of the border.
Surely they wouldn't mind if I stepped off into the woods on their side of the border for a minute, would they? So, I walked the path just a few steps towards the woods, and out they came. Both guards yelling at me, "no, no, no!!". I guess I'm lucky they didn't draw their guns. C'mon guys, is a 20 ft invasion really that big a deal? Apparently so!
Anyways, I didn't think it was a big deal because I know how porous these borders are. I experienced it on the other side of Myanmar on the border with India. Many of the people in that area of India in the north east corner are part Burmese due to the frequent mixing of people across these borders. In this particular area of the world, I think there are many more foot paths across the borders, than driving roads.
I have really grown fond of the people of this area of the world. They are really very humble and kind people. The problem is the same as all problems everywhere in the world: governments. If only governments actually ruled to the will of the people.