Sex And Masarati's

Trip Start Jan 20, 2012
Trip End Jan 12, 2017

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Flag of Myanmar  ,
Sunday, March 25, 2012

I have actually traveled already through Yangon as that is where I needed to start.  I have not seen it yet but will be informing you of how it is later on.  The bus ride from the airport was great, I did not want to get a taxi and wanted to see the real Myanmar so I had to walk from the airport to the 10 mile market (how much of the 10 mile is true I am not sure).  Finding the bus stop was also a treat, the guy jumps out of the door shouting "huble, huble, Sule Sule" and grabbed me from the crowd, told me this was for Sule which is basically the center and where all the hotels are. Instantly, I find this country a mystical one, even from the plane it looked amazing, the men wear "Longyi's" and it definitely intensifies my excitement about life. I am sitting on a bus, the only tourist, with dim green lights and many people willing to help me, jutting my head out the window feeling the breeze and soaking the abundantly vivid atmosphere Yangon has to offer. This country is how it should be and will be a shame if there are big corporates piling in to make a buck.  I have seen a few National League for Democracy, what I can only think are campaigns.

I decided to see Yangon at a later stage and headed straight for Kalaw for a trek to Inle Lake.  The bus was an 11 hour ride, again with only locals, air con and a fairly nice ride.  The viewing that we had was interesting, initially a soap of which the people were cracking up at, and after eating in the service station they put on a strange, sort of Pop Idol with kids, some barely even 5 years of age trying to do their most seductive dancing.  It was sponsored by Felo Candy and I was not expecting this from Myanmar at all. However, it was called "April Queens" and this was slightly disconcerting because there was a boy dancing in a pretty camp fashion in a yellow shirt (YOU HAD A YELLOW SHIRT DIDN'T YOU MARK?).  I have actually, by the time of publishing this, seen the entire box set of April Queens and hated every minute of it. They have the same songs but the age ranges differ, depending on the number of AQ. I have caught quite a few buses and been told the back is not a good place to sit, I wondered why until the first time I sat there, the Myanmar people do not have strong stomachs at all!!

So, about the title, many people have asked me my first impressions on Myanmar, albeit if it was just Yangon from the first night and this is what I thought and still do think;  There is something mysterious here if not magical, the place is developed but has not let go of the essence that is Myanmar. There is money here for some people but when I think of London I see sex and Masarati's, in Myanmar I see innocence (I could be wrong) and "naturalness".  Glaring out of the bus I saw a few cool kids in Western attire walk past the old woman on the floor who was a bit worse for wear, then a teenage guy in a Longyi walks past and pops what money he has into her hand.  For me it symbolises a true nature of those not consumed by social ladders and makes me reflect once more on my own life.

This blog is about the walk from a place called Kalaw to Inle Lake so I will stop dithering and get on with it.  Kalaw is again a magical place, especially in the morning, only a small town but a lot going on, there is a market, many monks, hotels washing, a tiny bar for men, buses going in and out, bikes weaving and Uncle Sam.  He is the one we all went to for the trekking, please (for those out of the loop this is how he finishes pretty much all his sentences). I met an Italian and Dutch couple, Alessandro and Mandy, in Laos who I tagged along with, they had a friend, Melanie, who was along for the ride, Pascal a French Canadian with whom I shared a few digs and heard many a stomach crunching fart from (Joking Pascal [to anyone else, man they were loud!!] ) and an American woman who met us in Sam's, named Ruby.  Our guide was Doh (Spelling for effect like Doh beer - please see picture) and our "special" cook La (He put the La in ooh la la) who looked like he should be break dancing with his funky glasses

The walk started and seemed pretty tame, the views were great and passing the villages created many salutations. Passing by the villagers harvesting the crops they would stop at little shrines to pay respects to the Spirits or Nats as they call them.  We stopped with a family for lunch on the first day and played with the cotton reel with the kids and tasted La's food for the first time.  Walked to the village with the monastery where an 81 year old Monk was still doing his thing and was in really good condition for his age.  Before we got there though, Doh took us to a shop for refreshments, although I am not sure I should call it refreshments as he came out stumbling and not even making sense in Burmese. He chose what many drunk people would call a comfortable spot (see same picture). The next morning he told us he was very tired and I completely understand where he is coming from, whiskey....I mean walking is tiring. We traveled to a place called Tonle and then took a boat across the lake to our final destination, Taunggyi.
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