Trekking in the mountains above Hsipaw was the highlight of Myanmar. It was as if every step along the cracked mud brought us back in time to a feudal past. Farmers driving oxen, women picking tea with children at their side, villagers hauling water from the community well, scenes from a simpler time that can only be witnessed in a few remaining areas of the globe.
The seven of us slept on mattresses in the living room of our homestays, rising at dawn to the sound of roosters and chanting monks. We were fed the best Burmese food of the trip because it was vegetarian and fresh from the fields. We played with the local children who were intrigued by our presence. We even exchanged nervous smiles with local militiamen with M16s slung across their shoulders. They were grateful for our intrusion because it meant neither side would risk fighting with foreigners around.