An incredible day. We set off at 6.20am from the unexiting town of Namsang, but were soon In another world of remote ethnic people.
This area has been closed to foreigners for over a year, but we have permission to travel through it and it was a real treat.
We were heading east directly into the low sun and with the morning mist it was very atmospheric. After about 45 minutes we reached a series of villages of the Silver Palaung people. Their name comes from the large silver hoops that the women wear around their waists. Our timing was perfect as they were getting ready in groups to walk to the fields for the day.
We approached cautiously not wanting to be voyeurs. However they were as intrigued by us as we were by them. Zani had been through at 4:30 in the morning, in order to prepare our lunch., and had seen nothing. The other members of the Burnese team were very excited to engage with the colourful local people. They stopped and found a local Shan person to translate.
We saw a group of women with a baby and Charlotte took the opportunity to approach and admire it. The lady took Charlotte’s hand to feel her silver bands. We took some photos and showed them to the people on the screen. This made them laugh and gave a great display of gold painted teeth and even jewels.
Shortly down the road there were road works - a taste of things to come in the afternoon, but here even the women throwing baskets of stones and gravel on the road were wearing their silver hoops.
After lunch in a village the road became more mountainous and it seemed that they were rebuilding the entire road at the same time. Progress was slow, hit and very dusty. The hillside is made of soft dusty earth and the technique is to scoop away the hillside with a digger perched precariously on the side of the mountain. All the spoil is dropped down onto the road below where we waited for a bulldozer to push it off the side and flatten it out enough for us to pass. However, the scenery when the dust cleared was spectacular and after such a special morning we were not complaining.
At our hotel, it was Neil M’s 70th birthday celebration so we all had a few drinks and shared stories of a memorable day.