Consume at your own risk. May in extreme cases lead to adventures. You have been warned.
On a recent visit to Myanmar, I followed my spirit of curiosity â€¦ and found a country poised at the edge of a moment.
Itâ€™s known as the Mergui or Myeik archipelago, a collection of 800 jungle-covered islands off the southern coast of Myanmar (Burma). Itâ€™s okay if you havenâ€™t heard of it. Until a few years ago hardly anyone had.
I first encountered chinlone in one of Yangonâ€™s back alleys. It was after seven pm, the working day was well and truly over, and a gang of middle-aged men had gathered for a quick pre-dinner kick around.
She has tiny hands.
Hands like small birds that flutter around the kitchen, gathering herbs, picking spices, covering her mouth to laugh. With those hands she leaves a trace of thanaka on my brow and grinds turmeric to a fine dust. Her name is Thein and she is the best cook in Burma.
People donâ€™t have a lot of time for ugly when they travel. Markets that are more crowded than â€˜bustlingâ€™, run down temples that arenâ€™t as â€˜glowingâ€™ as they were described online, and waters that could never pass for â€˜azureâ€™ in a million years: these things exist, we just donâ€™t want to look at them.
The path from Burma to Thailand is a dark one. In World War II the Japanese invaded British-occupied Burma and started looking for a more secure overland supply route to connect the neighbouring countries.