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not so sleepy in mawlawmyine

may 10, 2014
     Before I begin to write about my travels in Myanmar, I have to admit that there's a selfish part of me that wants to keep it all to myself. A part of me that fears rapid development of tourism, the part that wants to keep this magical land all to myself. There are many times that I've said that I love a place, but after being here, I don't think I can say that truly about any other place. In the 3 days that I have been here so far, I have not had a single "bad" experience, or even anything below spectacular. The people truly make this fascinating country what it is.
     I rolled into Mawlawmyine in the early morning after 9 hours on the night train. I paid around 4$ for a seat in the ordinary class, and spread out on the wooden bench to sleep. All through the night, people were waking me either to let me know that I should tie my bag/pillow to keep things from falling out, to give me back my books when they had fallen off the seat, and the officers even offered that I go sleep in the upper class, though I refused. Arriving in Mawlawmyine after an extremely slow and bumpy ride, a woman in the seat over even offered that I use her comb and makeup!
     From the train station I took a moto taxi for 1000mmk into town, to Breeze Hotel, at which I got a small jail cell of a room, with a fan, for 7000mmk. It was still early, around 7am, but I was starved and headed to the market to find breakfast. Nobody was willing to fix anything veg*an, and kept joining me to the next stall over, and the next, until finally one woman led me to a place at which I settled for noodles with cucumber slices.     
     Walking back to the Guesthouse to take a nap, I passed by an English language course that was coincidentally just beginning their two hour weekend class from 8-10am and asked the teachers if he needed some help. I ended up staying the entire time of the class, talking to the shy students in English and making friends. A few of the girls then motorbiked me to the market to help me find a pair of flip flops (4500mmk - my sneakers are now stinky, holey, and duct taped all around) and we all agreed to meet at 4pm after I got some sleep. So, we spent the evening motorbiking to a church, the hilltop pagoda with its infamous viewpoint, their university and the barren airport (that does flights to Yangon and Bangkok twice a week only), finishing off the sight seeing with some cakes and coffee at a hip little cafe on the waterfront. As some of the girls had to head home afterwards, my two remaining friends took me out for dinner (again, ardently refusing to let me pay).
     Although I didn't do any organized boat tour to see the Mon villages on Blue Island, I spent an amazing day with some very hospitable Myanmar friends, learning some of their language and in turn helping them to practice their English. I hope to return to see them again in the near future!

3 comments:

  1. Yikes! Those sneaks look so uncomfortable! What is the most xchange?

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    1. Xchange? The sneakers are actually very comfortable, the more worn the better :)

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    2. Oh sorry, its about 880mmk to one canadian dollar

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