Friday, 11 January 2013

Karen New Year Sat Jan 12

OMG!!!! What an exciting adventure this morning!!! Left about 6 to go to the Karen New Year in Burma. Have a look at our mode of transport across the river which is the border! (These things go anywhere). Can't spell their name but everyone calls them tet tet tet as that is the sound they make. We nearly didn't make it as the path up the opposite side of the river was steep and slippery so the guys got out and helped push, then it chugged along again. Got to the celebration and were told that seats had been reserved for us in the dignitaries tent. We were rather awed but then again we were the only Westerners there. They had several speeches from dignitaries and then the soldiers marched...there was a women's battalion too. They had groups of dancers from many of the Karen villages...colourfully dressed and they all danced in their groups for about 20 min or so... That was the end of the ceremony and then it started! We were asked to have our photo taken with General Saw Mo Shae of the Democratic Karen Buddist Army, with the soldiers, with several of the dancers from the different groups, teenagers, you name it and they came as they all wanted a photo with the Westerners and especially with Jan as she is so blonde and fair! Andrews mum said she had more photos taken of her today then she did on her wedding day!!
They had a fair so we walked around all the stalls calling out Happy New Year to the people and just having a look when a big black truck came and said we were summonsed to meet with the general at his home! When we got there they had a meal all laid out for us and many other people! There was rice, hard boiled eggs, beans, greens and a beef dish..all okay so far then was a dish of chicken intestines (pass) and a fish dish that had a whole fish swimming in it! Sliced apple and something similar to a lychee for dessert. We then went into the living room and Andrew talked (translated by Big) to the general about keeping his school at Blatoh safe if there was any fighting and was told the general would do what he could. They also talked about the Karen refugees and wondered if there would ever be peace in Burma.
Came back across the border the same way we went....tet tet tet but easier across the river as it was downhill on the slippery part! There hadn't been any Thai soldiers when we went across but they were there when we came back and Andrew said they weren't happy as they don't like foreigners going into Burma in case something happens and the Thais get blamed!
Only on the way home did we find out that Big's Dad had been very good friends with the General but we were honoured anyway to have been included!
Made up today for the photos we didn't take yesterday! Hope you enjoy them!

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