Sunday was my first day off. My friend Todd, a guy from New Zealand has a truck and so me and a few of the other guys from the clinic dived in a headed into the countryside around Mae Sot. We visited a temple, climbed waterfalls, trekked through the jungle, ate food from the hill tribes etc...It was great fun. We also visited the border. Now I'd heard about this but didn't quite understand it. Basically the border is a river, less than 100m across with the "friendship bridge" crossing over it - the official route into Burma. However in the river and next to the banks were a bunch of rubber rings with people crossing both ways (for the price of 20p, compared to the official 10 pounds).
Always there were at least 2 or 3 rings in the water. Apparently this is more than usual - There has been an increase in the fighting - the Burmese army are attacking the Karen state in the lead up to the elections (normally they like to wait and fight in the dry season). So as a result there has been a greater influx of refugees into Thailand.
And sat on the river side are the Thai border guards watching the whole process, posing with their automatic rifles...
Apparently Mae Sot is one of the best postings for a police officer or guard as the amount they take in bribes eclipses their salary. Unfortunately, as far as I can understand, the clinic does not escape this corruption. It has to play the game and pay for the fact that serves and employs a mostly illegal population.
Sunday night I headed over to the Internet cafe to write about this and on my way I got bitten by one of the grotty, aggressive dogs. I didn't even see him before the bastard bit me. Heading into the cafe in a slight panic, (there's a fairly large amount of Rabies and Tetanus here...) I showed the guys working there who let me use their sink to clean up. One of them then insisted on taking me by moped to the hospital, stayed with me for about an hour and then came back to pick me up when I was done. I tried to insist that I could get a taxi but he wasn't going to give in. So now I have to take antibiotics and need 2 more Tetanus jabs...but at least I made some friends in the process.