My next stop was a bit of a detour. Sue kindly invited me to join her on a visit to her friends' home in the small thai border town of Mae Sot. It is a pretty, run of the mill, sort of town, except for two interesting facts. It is the big cross border trading town between Burma and Thailand and the closest town to many large refugee camps housing people fleeing either political or sectarian violence in Burma.
The presence of Myanmar so close to town means the town has a distinctive Burmese feel and It was nice not to feel like we had left Burma completely behind us. That said we spent most of our time gorging ourselves on Thai food.
One nice little discovery about the town was the presence of multiple very affordable and fantastically stocked antique stores. The shops are full of early 20th century furniture, all in slightly rough nick, but now I know why that mid century modern cupboard costs $7,000: it was bought in Burma, sold in Thailand and shipped to San Francisco. A surprising thing to find on the main highway into Myanmar.
There isn't a real tourist reason to go to Mae Sot, but I would say its nice to get off the track and see normal life. We mostly ate - both myself and my luggage are now officially over the intra-Asian weight limit - and it's a toss up for favorite between Son Tam (papaya salad) and Fried Chicken or Khao Soi (north thai spicy coconut and noodle soup). Okay I'll stop now and show you some pictures. Next stop Penang.