Here’s a tip

Don’t drink rice “wine” on a guided tour of Shan villages.

‘Cos if you do a number of things Are likely to happen

The first being a creeping paralysis that starts from your chest and spreads to your jaw

The second is a conviction that you are fluent in many languages.

For example I became totally confident in a new language of my own called “Fluent Bollocks’

After a one hour journey down river we came to a village where our guide explained all about Shan homes , architecture and crops.

We were shown around a spotless Shan house before he beckoned me (why me ?) to a ground floor room

There he produced a bottle of local rice wine (think schnapps ) and some pickled fish

The rest of the group eventually joined us and – what i sensed was a hint of disapproval – we proceeded to finish the bottle with the help of a Korean/American kid who’d bought the wine in the first place.

I must say you get an entirely fresh prospective on local life with a guide you’ve got drunk with

I didnt realise for example that those Shan tribal tattoos I wanted to get can only be done when the stars and planets say the time is right. They protect you from evil spirits.

A most pleasant day

Marred only slightly by the fact that our boat pilot told me I looked like a movie star

I assumed it was Bruce Willis

“No no the film The Mummy..”

“What , Brendan Fraser?”

“No…. The one who is The Mummy”

Great. He’s the one who spends most of the film with half his face missing.

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