And the Mountains Echoed

I pride myself for this fitting title as I finish reading Khaled Hosseini’s novel in my kindle and also as we arrive in Chiang Mai after days of cycling over and around mountains. IMG_5574IMG_5387 Oh yes do the mountains echo. No doubt about that. But they echo weirdly, unlike usual echoes which become softer and smaller. Mountains echo in the opposite direction, bigger than the next, and definitely louder – louder swearing and louder laughs of sadism and disbelief. IMG_5406 Hosseini’s novel is about separation and then reunion¬†of both characters and plot. The stories expand as characters face heart-wrenching separation, and unrealistically reunite through the possibilities of an expanded story. IMG_5342 In these mountains, we saw separation. The separation of people from their land – non-thai-speaking Burmese working in Mae Sot, forever burdened with sending back money to their struggling families in Burma and kilometers spanning a Burmese refugee camp holding who knows how many people.

Burmese refugee camp

Burmese refugee camp

IMG_5353 The separation of countries Рa river and a mountain range conveniently separating a land into two governments, two languages, two cultures, and two countries. IMG_5339 The separation from a lack of communication Рthe Thai and Burmese language, and even the English language, so alien to these mountains. And also, our separation from all civilisation when we were on the mountains, in the clouds, unable to contact family, friends and school for a night. A night for us, but maybe a lifetime for these cloud dwellers.

No idea where we are

No idea where we are

Reunion however, I see, takes place in the fantasies of writers and readers, and the privileges of the tourist. IMG_5455

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