May 03, 2006

This is it

Bangkok was a shocker. Everything looked so modern and organized. People sat in their own designated seats on buses. Aircon cars filled the roads. There were actual highways with lines indicating lanes. And pavement so smooth, wow what a wonderful airport bus ride into the city! Electricity all day and internet and ATMs. My wallet salivated at all the tasty market merchandise. 3 pairs of shoes and many tshirts later I came to the conclusion I've never shopped like that before in my life and I'll never do it again! But a hard day of barganing deserved me my last Thai massage and a swim at the luxury $15 hotel. Thought I'd treat myself but it turned out to be scary murky water with clumps of long hair floating around and a windowless room with smudgy floors, even after I asked them to clean it. My last memory of Thailand is getting ripped off by the taxi driver, a slight misunderstandment at my expense. Why is he mad at me for his bad English?! I'm so tired of barganing for every stupid thing and still feeling like I've paid too much. That's it, I've had it, I'm coming home... tomorrow!!

And now I spend my last Singapore dollars on a great katsu set and mint-choc ice cream. It all ends well :) P

May 01, 2006


I am finally back into a land of communication! But wow, what a place, I cannot describe in one blog. With only a few days left of mostly flights and one day in Bangkok to shop myself crazy, my trip has unfortunately come to an end. When I'm back in Canada I'll post many more photos and blog a few final descriptions about what happened in Myanmar. Most exciting was my recent 15 turned 24 hour bus ride, delayed from cyclone Mala destruction and a Japanese samuri who punched a monk. Unbelievable maybe, but true!

Myanmar is a fantastic country with lovely people but is completely isolated in so many ways because of it's military rule. One day I find out restaurants are not serving chicken because there is avian flu in the country. As far as I know, the government has not revealed this. The next day I find out through a traveller that bombs went of in the capital. With no English newspaper or phones working and limited access to electricity only a few hours each night, there was little to go on. From a few conversations of broken English, I found out nobody was hurt and all flights were on schedule. Then we get stuck on a bus for 5 hours in the middle of the night. The reasons for all my questions being, we have a flat tire, the driver is sleeping, the roads are closed, there is an accident. 100 buses later I see whatever it is, is a pretty big deal.

In a quick summary of what first comes to mind, Myanmar is: huge smiles on everyone of all ages, hands that wave hellos so enthusiastically you think their arms are going to fall off, endless checkpoints to record passports and citizenships, poor mountain villages living only off the land, colourfully embroidered longyi and decorated lacquerware, pick up trucks with as many people crammed in as possible, a New Year's water festival when nobody is allowed to stay dry, mouthfuls of betel nuts and stained teeth, thousands of pagodas and temples filled with ancient paintings, a massive shallow lake with a most unique reflecting blue, deliciously brewed Myanmar tea with a layer of sweet milk, warm chipatis and bowls of different curries, novice monks in red throwing yellow petals in the air, shimmering flowered umbrellas in Yangon, horse drawn carriages bringing you back several decades, calling from a phone sitting on a wooden table on the sidewalk, roads that are never without a bump, extremely uncomfortable but absolutely interesting transport...

To be continued.