THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

A meal in Mawdaung, Myanmar border town: Parrt 2

Previously, we ventured to the ‘Sinkhon Pass’ border checkpoint between Thailand and Myanmar, a short drive southwest of Prachup Khiri Khan town, heading for the quiet Myanmar border town of Mawdaung for an afternoon meal. And now the conclusion:

Myanmar
By Steven Layne

Sunday 25 October 2015, 01:00PM


Our drivers brought us through the main street, lined with supply shops carrying Myanmar and English signs advertising all types of domestic and construction goods. The driver pointed out a hotel he said is popular among Thais passing through. Zooming through the main strip, my driver pointed out some abandoned homes, half-built.

“Those,” he told me in accented Thai, “were built by Burmese labourers who went to Thailand to work but never came back.

”I thought about all the migrant workers in Phuket, who probably outnumber the “local” working force, shacked up in crowded worker camps, on B300 a day, or less – apparently a lot of money compared with what they might get here in their homeland.

As the shops disappeared behind us, we took a sharp turn onto a bumpy, dirt road and my heart began to beat faster. “Could have sworn I told him I just wanted lunch...”

“Where are we going?” I asked in Thai, houses and shacks lining both sides of the dirt path, but not a person in sight.

“The temple,” he said.

“But we just want lunch today,” I reiterated.

We passed a new-looking building complex, which the driver said was going to be a hospital. It had rained recently as evidenced by a muddy, flooded puddle blocking the road ahead, fed by a small run-off stream that forced us to a halt.

I wasn’t sure if his bike was going to be able to cross, but he was more than confident and we made it across without incident, finally coming back out onto a main road again.

I exhaled with the sight of asphalt, and we soon turned into a little restaurant, relieved that we weren’t being brought to some back alley holding room to be held hostage… not yet anyway.

And to my delight, a huge banner of the country’s national beer hung in front of the restaurant. Our driver, Rut, as he goes by in Thailand, or A in his native land, is a dark-skinned, heav-set local man, 37 years old, who, judging from his red eyes and teeth, was buzzing on betel nut, further confirmed by him stepping outside to spit every five minutes.

His Thai was pretty good, but he didn’t speak much English. Nobody speaks much English in this village of some 3,000 households, he admits.

They’re all ethnically Burmese, many locals, others from Myeik, the major coastal sea hub in Southern Mynamar, which name is pronounced Ma-rick, formerly known Mergui, notes A.

And the majority of Mawdaung are Buddhists he adds, as the “authorities won’t allow any Muslims or Christians. They tried to come before but the government sent them away,”

Inside the restaurant, there were about 12 tables, all with designer plastic chairs. The place obviously serves as a drinking hole at night, evidenced by the kegs in the front, and full shelf full of whisky behind the counter.

Myanmar-brand beer posters and paraphernalia were everywhere, at the front, sides and inside of the shop. A Myanmar beer clock told me it was about 2pm.

A menu in Burmese script and small Thai stickers was brought over. Not spending too much time trying to decode it, I told A we just wanted some Myanmar-style food with chicken or shrimp.

I played my part as the curious tourist, taking photos of everything as mundane as the seashells hanging from the doorway, to the urinal out back, an indifferent dog out front, and of course the people – waitresses and ordinary customers alike, who were unmistakably from Myanmar in dress.

They were obviously curious about the world, fixated on the TV hanging at the back of the joint; Discovery Channel was relaying scenes of the savage food chain in the African savanna; no doubt, the day-to-day struggle for survival is something many Myanmar citizens are familiar with.

Food finally came, a few stir-fried dishes, colourful and flavourful, but not quite hitting the spot for the missus. Then the rain came pouring down, no telling when it would stop. I kept positive. After all, who could order the rain?

A’s Thai was good; he told us about his travels in Thailand, Myeik, Mawdaung; suffice to say, my Burmese didn’t improve at all that day.

For the beer and full meal, the bill was B350 or thereabout. I paid 400 and asked for change to be in Myanmar bank notes that we could take home as souvenirs.

The rain finally subsided and we hopped on our bikes back to Thailand, arriving to the Singkhon market some 20 minutes later. I paid A and his companion B700, B300 more than he’d initially asked. I was grateful for his company and that he didn’t hold us hostage. Did I exploit him and the future tourism market of Mawdaung? Time will tell.

Adapted, with permission from The Siamerican.

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Phoenix finally risen from seabed

"Only know how to make somtam". Keep your unintelligent racist hate speeches where they be...(Read More)


Tourist Police target rental operators over unlicensed tourists renting motorbikes

No, they're allowed to do whatever the heck they like as they're Thai, foreigners however we...(Read More)


Bike Un Ai Rak - Governor invites all to participate

Wow, a important Governor job! Is this why a province has a Governor? How about the critical Phuket...(Read More)


Low water levels at Phuket reservoir spur concerns for drastic water-saving measures

Correct me if I am wrong, but I have personally witnessed an extraordinary amount of rainfall this s...(Read More)


Low water levels at Phuket reservoir spur concerns for drastic water-saving measures

Oh, and remember, when you expand Phuket airport facilities, unlimited tourist accommodation buildin...(Read More)


Low water levels at Phuket reservoir spur concerns for drastic water-saving measures

Low water levels? September:17 days of rain. October:22 days of rain. November, ( just 18 days old) ...(Read More)


Phuket Marine Office urges water safety for Loy Krathong

Talking to thai officials about INTERNATIONAL rules is waist of time. 1: Or don't know about i...(Read More)


God is a DJ - A divine event at Dream Beach Club

Which thai Authority/Official did authorise the presence of that club at that location? Did NACC inv...(Read More)


Phoenix finally risen from seabed

Actually, as I predicted ( knowing this foreign company, with branch in Thailand), besides preparati...(Read More)


Tourist Police target rental operators over unlicensed tourists renting motorbikes

Does Gen Angkoon knows about the high percentage of thai ( underaged kids too) drive, without helmet...(Read More)