The rational choice would be to fly into Yangon and head up country to our first research destination of Lashio, deep in Shan state. But the emotional side got the better of us and we decided to route through Kunming, and travel by night-bus down to Ruili on the China-Myanmar border. The cute-sheep duvet covers had the lingering scent of crustified body fluids and day-labourer socks.
You never quite know what is going to happen at the border, especially one that is frequently closed to foreigners when there is ethnic fighting further down the road. Two of us make it through OK, but the border guard takes a liking to my colleague and asks the story behind every picture in her passport.
And so it begins.
The team has seven weeks in Myanmar, I’ll be dropping in and out.