In Part 5, we continue our adventures through Chin State. Just a few years back, It would have quite remarkable that I was even up there. Like much of Myanmar, Chin had been closed to foreign tourists for decades. The few that did make it up there were invariably accompanied by gov’t approved tour guides on gov’t run travel packages. This little state, landlocked between India and Myanmar hasn’t had many tourists until recently.
|They like to paint their houses in vivid colors|
Some facts about Chin State: At about 15,000 square miles, it’s roughly the size of Switzerland. About 2/3rd the size of West Virginia and one and half times bigger than Vermont. Whereas 8 million people live in Switzerland and 2 million reside in West Virginia, the population of Chin is a bit shy of 500,000. And like these other places, it’s all mountainous. I can’t say that I saw a single bit of horizontal land in the whole state that people hadn’t made that way.
Being so sparsely populated, there are only a few real towns in the state. In this episode, I travel between two of them which aren’t very far apart: Hakka (the new capital) and Falam (the old capital).
Again, I was taken in by the amazing mountain views I got to see and noticed a few things. Chin burial customs involve roads. At almost every major turn in the road, at almost every spot where you could look out and see spectacular vistas of expansive mountains and valleys, there were graves.Not graveyards, just graves. Two or three, up to eight perhaps if it was remarkably beautiful spot. And of course, memorials to the dead. Structures to preserve them from the elements. It was kind of odd that at every point when I wanted to stop and take a picture of the remarkable landscape, that I was doing so alongside someone’s dead uncle, but I’m not superstitious in that regard. If there’s life-after-death, ghosts, that sort of thing, I’d think any human soul would appreciate what I was doing, and wouldn’t be offended if I needed to go pee on the periphery of their gravesite.
I got to Falam, a very religious town which I’ve heard recently tried to ban alcohol sales within the town limits.Having a nose for these sorts of things, I found that this ban would involve shutting down one shop, because it seemed there was only one place in town to get a beer.
Enjoy the video