An E-Mail Home – Myanmar

Sent: July 8, 2011

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the mass, and unpersonalized email, but internet is very slow here! We arrived in Yangon 2 days ago, and experienced a little bit of culture shock!  Errg.  But we took an early morning flight today (July 9) and we’re now in the peaceful town of Bagan (where all the thousands of pagodas are).  We just shared a chicken club sandwich and a coke for a mere 5 500 kyat (about 6 dollars) and emailing our first email from a cozy internet cafe (that has air conditioning).  I for one (Katherine) feel much better about this place than Yangon.  We hardly saw any other tourists in Yangon, and the culture shock was more than I expected.

Nonetheless, Thomas is getting award winning photography.  We saw the famous stupa in Yangon which we had a spectacular view of from our hotel (Also saw a rat in the hallway…) and which lights up at nighttime.  It is a shimmering gold sensation in the middle of a bustling, decrepit, dusty, old city.

We booked a horse carriage for tomorrow, for around 12 dollars, and he will be picking us up at 8 in the morning.  We hope to be able to last ‘til 6 to see the sunset, and to get some more of those “Thomas Hansen Photography” shots.  Thomas also wanted to let you all know that he killed a palm sized cockroach in our bathroom (however unpleasant this was for me to hear about, still better than rats).  He was quite magnificent.  I didn’t know what was going on until I came into the room from resting on our deck and saw Thomas coming out of our bathroom looking rather guilty.   I asked him, “What did you do?” knowing, just knowing that it could’t be good.  The guilty look came from him not wanting to tell me, because he knew how crazy I’d get.  I already go mad in hotel rooms, and cockroaches don’t help any.

We think Bagan will be wonderful.  We already like it!  The people are friendly, they stare but not judging the way I got looks in Yangon. I felt like a zoo animal there and didn’t feel as though they were just merely curious but instead… well I don’t know.  Anyway, a lot may be attributed to us not having our travelling feet yet, and I think this particular trip will be grand.

We’re thinking about doing some trekking (God help us!).  Ran into a gentleman from Vancouver (but living in Tokyo) who has been to Burma a number of times.  He told us that the trek is the way to go, and he would highly highly recommend it.  When a person goes out of their way to highly recommend something, and who has come here numerous times, it’s probably a safe bet to give it a shot.  Maybe our adventurous side is finally coming out.  We’ll see but it looks like it might be a go.   We’ll probably pass by Mandalay though.  We’ve been told its a lot like Yangon, but bigger, and more bustling, with a little less culture.  To me I don’t really like the idea that it’s like Yangon, as Yangon was pretty intense and rather overwhelming.

Oh, we didn’t mention but on our first day in Yangon Thomas and I sat on a bench in a pharmaceutical market for a good half hour just thinking about how overwhelmed we were at the time.  There may have been some talk of going back to Bangkok where we felt safe and at home.  But things are looking up and we hope to stick it out (which we will Bob, we promise).  You’re probably wondering why we were spending our time at a pharmaceutical market?  Well so were we!  We got dropped off at this market by a taxi driver, and Thomas thought that the right market to change money was across the street (he said “it looks like a market doesn’t it”).  We thought it would be easy but got kind of lost.  Anyway, long story short, we walked around hoping to feel better about our adventure to Myanmar and all we could find were rows after rows of wooden stalls with drugs and surgical tools for sale.  Most of which were probably prescription medicine in Canada.

Well like we said, internet is painstakingly slow and it might take a good 10 minutes to send this out so we better do it now.

Hope everyone is doing well.  Now that we are settled for a couple days, emails may be a little more frequent.

Love you all lots!

Katherine & Thomas

(Next time I promise to let Thomas write the email but he’s just such a slow typer!)

P.S. My birthday is on Monday :)  Sunday your time!

P.P.S. Matt sorry for being clumped into an email sent to our parents and Bob, but we wanted to let you know we’re still thinking of you! Oh yeah, and to let you know that if you’re ever in the mood, Bagan has a golf course.  18 holes, 35 dollars for a round, 10 dollars to rent clubs… AND wait for it… a swimming pool at the course.  We thought that’d sell you.

P.P.S.  Kamal I wanted to include you in this email so you know that I’ve been thinking about you.  There is just so many Indian people around!  We had samosa’s yesterday as street food and I told Thomas…”This reminds me of Kamal.”  Who knew your people are around Burma!

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Categories: Myanmar, Travel Tales

Author:Thomas & Katherine

A love for travel, adventure, and photography. We just can't help but write about it!

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