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Burma is about the size of Texas with a population of just over 50 million. It's shaped somewhat like a kite with a long tail. It borders Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. The official name of the country, Republic of the Union of Myanmar, is a bit of a misnomer. The 'republic' part is a joke and the 'union' remains a fragile one.

There are 8 officially recognized ethnic groups in Myanmar - many have their own state within the union and many have their own militia. Fighting among these groups and against the government has been sporadic since independence in 1948. Ceasefire agreements come and go, skirmishes continue and peace talks sputter on to this day. Visitors are not allowed in many parts of the country - especially up in the wild north.