A Travellerspoint blog

Government Intervention and Black-market Shorts..

Well to all of you who say that our blog is rather bland and isnt entirely relevent to 99.8% of our trip, we would just like to give a massive poked out tongue expression and say that the Burmese (oops, sorry..Myanmar) government, respectfully disagrees with you. This all unfolded rather quickly as soon as we posted up the blog and pretty much within the hour our computers spontaneously shut down and we were suddenly no longer able to access any of our email addresses or post anything on the blog, of course had we heeded peoples advice to 'watch your backs' on the internet, we took a carefree note out of the hippy book and did it anyway. So :P to all of you who say its boring!

So to round off a rather whirlwind trip to Myanmar we tried a few more Indian places, ate full meals for around 40 cents US (consisting of Biryani - spiced rice, and something else that looked like slush). Now for once we really went local with the meals in this city, admittedly not by choice but my the fact that there was really only one western place in town..and the food there was even more average. So these 'hole in the wall' restauraunts, they call them.. sorta think of Aladdins cave, but with really bad lighting, all the gold replaced with plastic stools rated to carry the weight of a 5-7 year old, throw up some collapsable tables, pin to the wall a nice decorative flower and ta-da, you have an Indian restaurant. In fact, Lonely Planet regarded this as the best Indian place in town (watch as lonely planet flies out of train window). But we survived and made it to yet another train which is where we will pick the story back up.

Hallucinagenic berries, basically what Korean's are to rice, what Kiwi's are to rugby, and what Chinese are to bad driving, Burmese are to hallucinagenic berries. What this means in practice is that if you really want to interact, or use the locals to get anywhere you really need to get it done by 10am or the locals will be chirpy, talkative, but in the end completely useless with their berry jucie covere teeth (picture dracula after eating oprah..thats how red their teeth were), which in actual fact probably assists the government in doing their evils, but while no one seems the wiser..cest la vie. Of course that's just a small part of the 'Burma experience' another part is the pick-up trucks that are now buses, and were most likely left behind after the British left and drive along like the streamrollers they are (WWII Chevvy's for the nerdier among you)..

Now remember how we talked about the train coming down with the whole 1901 constructed, same train blah blah blah? Well, we aren't entirely sure how they constructed it but the journey back was 5x rougher on the tracks (the Burmese lady who was sitting next to us had her eyes just about pop out of her head every 2 minutes as she grasped the side of the train (think she must've had some lower back problem) fortunately, not being her, but being able to watch, made the next 9 hours pass rather seemlessly. Except for one small attempt at an armed roadblock, but after a few people throwing some notes out the windows the train was back on its merry way (they were shouting things in Burmese and waving buddhist flags - ahh the great buddha would be proud). Not that we were the least bit concerned either that or the litre of sprite we each consumed on the journey sent us on a caffeine high and almost in hysterics over it (more berries please, but then it was back to Yangon, and back to Beautyland II, where we changed from room 302 to the 'pearl room' (you can say ooh la la, we thought it at check in, even though it was $6 cheaper than room 302)...but then we encountered the stairs. So in order to get to this 'pearl room' you hike up 5 flights of stairs that a slinky would have had to parachute down, get onto the roof, and then climb up another set of rather questionable stairs. Needless to say we have now realised we need to get to a gym asap back in New Zealand. More indian food and powercuts in Yangon sorted out our afternoon and evening (as we now had rather limited access to the internet, and the powercuts were delightfully timed for when we were mid-meal plunging us into darkness, but thats just part of the fun that is Myanmar).

So it was off to bed nice and early for a 4am get up for our flight...which lucky for us just happened to be mid powercut, and if you have ever tried to wake up, in the dark, then stumble around a pitch black room for 30 minutes getting ready, you'll know what I mean when I say it sucks...and then we had those stairs with our 20kg packs again (on an off topic note, how cool would it be to have a slinky that could take bags up stairs. Pure Genious.), and then we got our breakfast with umm dried bread (the toaster obviously wasnt working) with mashed banana on it which was actually suprisingly good. Yet another flight and then we are back in Bangkok (supposedly called the City of Angels).

Now Bangkok is big...really big and aside from the fact that it has anywhere between 20 and 35 million people depending on who you talk to, its almost impossible to get across. As in I think Auckland possibly has a better public transport system....i know...that bad. As in it took over 90 minutes to get to Ko San Road, the backpacker mother-ship of south east asia but in actual fact was rather underwhelming, lots of hippies drinking, oldies photographing, backpackers buying "I survived Ko San Road" t-shirts. But for us, the more experienced backpackers *cough*, we actually felt the whole thing was rather overpriced and left within the hour back to the safety of Huamark...Back to being the only foreigners and back to being stared at. Phew..

Today, another flight and another country. Indonesia was nice enough to put up the visa on arrival fee a whopping 250% to $25 USD, which put a bit of a sting on things.. And then we were in an area known as Australia's 8th State, or pretty much Asia lite. Here, things have a bit more sting in their tail with just generally insanely over-priced clothes (you get ushered into a store and then get talked to in hushed tones about black-market clothes and $5 prices...we paid less than half that in Cambodia, and pretty much everywhere else.) Along with most other things...but hey, I guess that just goes with the Australian territory.

(Had to finish on an Australian insult..haha)

Tune in for the next..and LAST (yippeee, yeeeeehahahahahahaha) blog!

C :)

Posted by carl.adams 00:31

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