We’re currently on a train. A long one. But we’re in Thailand now where the internet is reliable, works well and its given us a chance to get caught up on things. Sully has been puking for 36 hours and has gone diarrea 14 times. He’s a counter. Does that actually surprise anyone that he’s counted every movement?? He’s loaded with Imodium and Advil and I’m hoping for the best. I feel terrible for him. But if he gives this bug to us, I won’t. We left Bangkok this morning and will eventually end up in Chang Mai, 11 hours later. Ugh. We’ve had a few of these long cross-country journeys lately. I guess that’s the price to pay for trying to see all of the amazingness that these countries want to show us. And I can safely say we’ve settled into our prime as world travellers. World travellers, wow. I like it. We’re no longer rookies and yet to become seasoned veterans, but I’ll settled for where we’re at. We grew a lot in Myanmar. As individuals and as a family. It was a short 2 weeks of the year, but a lifetime of memories. I wrote to a friend that it had the potential to chew us up and spit us back out. A few times it came close, but it didn’t. We were able to handle whatever it threw at us. And embrace all it had to share. The Visa incident? 2 days of stress, time and money. Was well worth it. Very much so.
The pictures and videos will speak much more than my words.
Myanmar was my most excited. Max had zIplines in Costa Rica. Sully, the Great Barrier Reef. But this country was what I wanted to see ever since watching a documentary years ago based on Aung San Suu Kyi and the struggles she and her followers went through to be recognized as legitimate. So what a time to arrive. The day before the first election the country had hosted in 25 years. There isn’t a Social Studies text book out there that could have taught Sully what he learned in 2 days. We were living it. Watching it. History unfold. A bit dramatic? Maybe. But tell that to the local people we spoke to and watched on Saturday the 7th or Sunday the 8th. They were passionate, excited and brave. A vote that would count for something. Too many Canadians could take a lesson from what these people have had to endure for their right to vote. They lined up 100’s deep to have their little finger soaked in ink, printed and then cast their vote. It was inspiring. On voting day our taxi driver was over the moon excited about finally being able to vote. Showing us his finger and repeatedly saying the only english words he knew, “NLD!”, “NLD!” NLD being the National League for Democracy …the party that Aung San Suu Kyi leads. Her picture was everywhere in Myanmar. Storefronts, windows, restaurants. I hope she’s able to bring what the people expect of her. They deserve it. They’re some of the most genuinely friendly and kind people I have ever met. The country deserves it too.
Myanmar is also where we met our friend Susanne from Germany. Well, we met at the Myanmar embassy. She was in the same position as us. Trying to figure out how the hell to get into the country And coincidently we were on the same flight to Yangon from Bangkok. She was with us throughout most of Myanmar, joining us in Yangon, Inle Lake and we again met up in Bagan and Hsipaw. A self-described gypsy, her energy was contagious and she enjoyed being around our chaos, so we were a good team. She was a welcome addition to the group as it gave me someone to bounce ideas off of, have adult conversations with and she took some of the heat off of me, as she could easily keep up with Sully and was happy to engage him in his many questions about all the other countries she’s visited.
We only spent 2 days in Yangon, but it allowed us to see what we needed and what we could expect. There isn’t a lot of english spoken or written in Myanmar. So hand gestures and key Burmese phrases were invaluable. We explored a few Pagodas by foot the first day. The Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the most famous pagodas in the world and it is the main attraction of Yangon. It sits atop of a hill and is 99 meters high. It can be seen from most places of Yangon day and night as the golden roof illuminates the city. It’s completely stunning. Locals say the pagoda is 2,600 years old, making Shwedagon the oldest pagoda in the world. It is covered with hundreds of gold plates and the top of the soup has over 4500 diamonds, the largest being a 72 carat diamond.
Sunday we took the circular train around the city. And it’s exactly that. A train that goes around the entire city in a circular direction. See Sully's blog for all of the pictures. It was a long, 3 hour, rickety uncomfortable trip. But allowed us to see and watch much of the city and countryside that we normally wouldn’t have been able to. That night we took the night bus to Nyaung Shwe, a village on Lake Inle. We left at 7pm and arrived at 5:30am. Just as the town was waking up and our energy was running out!?