Friday, July 20, 2007


Well I'm finally here, and it's mad! First off, the Lonely Planet itself is a scream, full of amusing factoids like:

Population: 52 million. Internet users: 28,000 (though I suspect this is out of date)
The military here use "human landmine detectors"
A compliment for women is 'wa-laia-ta', which means "how fat you're looking" (tried this on Supi in Bangkok)
The government censorship board made one music artist change his debut's title from "Everything's Going to be Good" to "Everything's Good", another "Very Wild Wind" to "Breeze"
And apparently often if you book air tickets with the national airline, they don't even write the time on the ticket, so they can change it on the day!

That said..

Arriving was a breeze. New shiny airport, friendly and efficient officials, no issues bringing phone or laptop in. Place where I'm staying, the Ocean Pearl Inn, is great, the staff are all so friendly. Taxis don't try to rip you off at all, one is quoted a fair price almost every time. And generally people smile, say hello, are friendly, and seem to have an incredible command of the English language!

Incidentally, Burma is what the British called the country - technically Burma refers to one part, that of the Bamar race - there are lots of others, including the Shan, and Myanmar refers to the whole country. Would be like calling Great Britain just England - works most of the time but will of course not work for everyone.

Tomorrow flying up to Mandalay, will daytrip up to Pyin U Lwin (Maymyo), then take a boat on the Ayeyarwady River to Bagan, then hopefully fly back. With the available time, and because I'm having to stay an extra day in Yangon to get a full-on Chinese visa (full rant later) I will have to skip Inle Lake. The visa is for 28 days, and I regret that I'm not here for the full time to be honest. The country has everything from the start of the Himalayas in the far north to Similan-class diving in the south. 7 days is just not enough! More soon (including a lotta pics of pagodas and stupas, brace yourselves!)...


Anonymous said...

Shouldn't you be looking for a job

Eileen said...

come to my country...