Friday 8 Dec
In the land of hobbits, evil Sauron still rules...
Again we experienced the usual 'we don't have your veggie meal on order sir' for our flight over to Myanmar (Burma) from Bangkok but this time surprisingly the wonderful hostess (who had actually come over from business class to deal with us) offered to ensure the meals were booked correctly for our return flight! And she did. Now we know how the other half live in business class - no wonder they sit there smugly smiling from their comfy seats whilst the cattle is prodded to the rear. Bastards.
Arriving in Yangon (Rangoon) your first sights are crowds of people, men in longyis and women with clay covering their faces - and that is just the airport! After a 20 minute debate over the cost of the taxi we settled on our initial bid of $4 after pulling out all the tricks in the book to get us there! After a 1hr ride I felt a little guilty at our $1 dollar each fee (we shared with another couple) and evey person in Myanmar from there on in capitalised on my strange inability to bargain from that moment on. And you must understand that I am known amongst all we meet as the person to fetch when the hard bargaining needs to be done - fellow travellers will literally delay their purchase until they can find me to complete their business. Alas the sweetest people on earth have stripped me from my evil, greedy Western ways!
These are the kind of people that every traveller dreams of meeting. Almost every person we met from guest house owners to taxi drivers to restaurant staff just couldn't have been nicer - and the strangest part about their niceness is that they are being so screwed over by their government that you would think they would have had their goodness squeezed out of them.
From reading and conversations we have been told that the government takes 2/3rds of the tax money for themselves, all of the money from natural resources, reserves the right to purchase any property for 1/2 its value and take any money from savings accounts in the banks (and they have!) and so on and so forth. To cap it off they call themselves a democratic government when the last elections were held in 1988, the opposition got 85% of the votes so they promptly outlawed them and arrested their leader - Aung Sang Suu Kyi, who you might know of and who is still under house arrest.
So it is with this background that we wanted to visit Myanmar and give and listen to the local people - God knows they need the world's help. More information
Anyway so we arrived in Yangon to begin our journey which I'll tell you a little more about under Bagan as it seems I have had a little political rant again!
Link to Yangon Pics