Visited Doi Tung mountain, hiked through Mae Fah Luang Garden and visited the production area of Doi tung Craft Center. All focused on helping Hill tribe groups earn income from other sources than opium. http://www.doitung.org/doitung/
On our way to Mai Sai we stopped at Ban Hueg Khrai and talked to reed mat makers. Their loom was on a vertical frame like a Navajo loom. It had a continuous warp and a single beater that also contained the reed as an intricate part. I thought it was like a rigid heddle construction at first but further inspection showed that it was a series of holes within alternating grooves. The shed was switched by flipping the beater forward and back. It took two ladies to run the loom. One twined the left side and operated the beater. The second loaded the reed and twined the right side. I will post a internet clip and photos.
We moved on to Mae Sai, the border town to Burma. The market was crowded with Indians, Brits, Burmese and Thai. The Burmese come over daily on the bridge and sell their wares. We were one of many groups standing on the bridge peering over at Burma.
Back in the car heading for the Golden Triangle area, we stopped at Ban Muang Lao to meet a weaver from south China. She had trained about 15 weavers in the work area next to her shop. She did magnificant flags that are hung in celebration.
Headed on to Ban Sap Ruak and looked at the symbolic "Golden Triangle". The Mekong was angry and running with great force. Huge logs and other debris were sweeping down the river. It was not a day to go out in a boat. I spent some time in the Opium Museum and learned a lot about the opium business. It is worth the time to visit the museum and trace the flow of money from drugs, a very big business. http://houseofopium.com
From here we headed south to Chiang Rai