Burmese Muslim women in their home in Mae Sot.
I am back in Mae Sot working on a story about unintended consequences. I like this town, there's a nice vibe to it and there's a lot happening.
The changes here through the years have been breathtaking. My first time up here, in 2008, the Moei River, which is the border between Thailand and Myanmar, was heavily militarized. Armed Thai soldiers backed by crew served weapons lined the riverbank. Burmese refugee camps in Thailand were subject to occasional shelling from Burmese forces just across the river.
Burmese in Thailand spoke in whispers about what was happening in their country and pictures of democracy heroine Aung San Suu Kyi hung in almost every tea shop in town.
That was then and this is now. It's a much more relaxed place now. There's still a uniformed security presence on the river, but the weapons are put away and the big weapons are gone completely. Aung San Suu Kyi's portraits still hang in most of the shops (although not as much as it did before) but people talk openly about the changes in Burma. Mae Sot is buzzing with development. Shopping centers and condominiums are going up all over town.