My next stop was Um Phang where I was hoping to see the Thilawsu
waterfall. I was able to find an small internet cafe in town and
send this email home:
After Phrae I caught a series of buses, minivans and
pickup trucks to get out to the remote town of Um Phang in the
mountains near the Burmese border (same mountains as Mae Sariang, but
another 300 km south along the border).
Village on the way to Um Phang
The town is primarily Karen
(an indigenous people) and known as a resort town for Thai people.
It's very quiet since it's off- season and I've got a dorm room all to
myself with hot-shower and fridge for the ridiculously low price of 50
On one of the bus trips heading this way I sat near a
pair of Mormon missionaries from Utah and got them to tell me all
about the life of a missionary.
They said basically that if you're a
mormon over 19 you can volunteer to be a missionary for a two-year
program. You don't get to choose where you're sent. They do
everything in pairs in which one person is the senior who's already
been in-country for at least a year and the other is the junior who's
been there less than a year.
They stay in a town for an average of 4
months before being sent to a new town, and basically spend each day
riding around on bicycles from dawn till dusk trying to talk people
into seeing the light and the truth of the father, the son and the
holy ghost by praying for a communion with the holy father to give
them the answers and show them the rightousness of gods way, etc..
Not such bad guys though and not terribly pushy overall. I tried
talking the one guy into giving me his pitch in Thai, but he said it
would be too wierd and that he was enjoying being able to give in
English for a change.
My roommate in Um Phang
Um Phang has these millipedes that
are as thick as my finger and about 7 inches long. I see them on the
footpaths and their exploded corpses are all over the roads here.
It should be noted that very low price of 50 baht was only given
because it was the off-season and the guesthouse was expecting me to
sign up for a trek.