Into Burma (Currently Myanmar)

“Whaaaaaaa! What? What is it?!” scuffle, scrape, shuffle, “Are you there?! It’s so Dark!”, clang, spifff, the lights in our dorm room come on. Just what in the fuck is going on down there? Some dude is screaming in our room? It’s 5am, Jeeeebus! “What do you want?!” he’s yelling, “NOOOOOOOOoooooo! STOP!” Ok, this is really fucking weird, I slide back my bunk curtain to take a look. By the time I do the lights go back out and our horrified roommate is back in his bunk snoring again. What in the hell was that? Night Terrors? Strange things.

While Drisdelle was dallying about checking out the Chang Mai night life last night I was bedridden with a nasty bout of something. I’d been slightly light headed and dizzy at the elephant sanctuary and my energy was completely nil all day. Fever and coughing fits, dry scratchy throat, phase into chills and I’m in and out of consciousness from evening and all through the night until this dude freaks out at 5am.

I slip back into my coma and get up some hours later. Shower up and go down to the D-Well common area. I catch up with Drisdelle who tells me about his night. Sounds fun. He was out by the river with some other peeps from the hostel. They found a spot where you could sit and get drinks on a boat and there was live music. Apparently the guy performing had recently won Thailands version of The Voice. Good on you Drisdelle, had a way better night than fever me.

We get some coffees and cereal from the D-Well self serve island. And yeah, a few more of those delicious chocolate wafer sticks. A couple guys join us at our table. Jiv and James from Vancouver. Between coughing fits we tell them about the Jungle Sanctuary and they decide to add it to their list of things to do. The Scots told us about it and now we pass it on to these guys. Such is the information wave between hostel going travelers.

After breakfast we go on a Chiang Mai walkabout. It’s a nice city. Temples everywhere, an old walled section, night market, and  a river running through. We pass by all the bars we hit the other night. It’s all coming back.. somewhat.

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We cross a bridge and head down to the river. There are a number of cool bars along it with patios. There’s a brewery that Drisdelle had hit last night and the place with a boat on the water too. Would have been cool to see a band on the boat, sorry I didn’t feel well enough to join.

We go into a place called Good View and have a seat on the patio. Drisdelle orders up some spicy chicken soup, MacKay goes for a sausage plate and I  get something called herbal sausage. It’s really good. MacKay says his is really just 5 hot dogs that all look slightly different.

It’s quite and peaceful here by the water, I take a walk down. They have all of their coasters drying on a wall by the dock. Good View.

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We wrap up lunch and swing back across the bridge to D-Well to pack up our things. Giggly Beam gets us a taxi to the airport and him and Boeing give us a nice send off, “Safe travels Kobra, thanks for staying with us!”

At the airport there is a kid in the security line just screaming his fucking head off. These are blood-curdling horror movie screams, it’s so bizarre. The parents are so embarrassed and can’t get the kid to stop. Some strangers try too but nothing will keep this lil guy from screaming. Finally someone appears with a Minion luggage tag and hands it to him and he stops. Once we’re through security he’s back at it again on the walk to the gates. We can still hear him down the hall as we hit the pedways. And we’re all thinking, ‘I hope that kid isn’t on our plane’. The three us of get a round of blizzards from a Dairy Queen to calm our nerves.

While sitting in the Bangkok Airways lounge (Fly  boutique, feel unique!) a couple of girls come up to us. They work for the airline. They want to see our return flights from Burma. We don’t have them. They’re very worried and run off. Ahhhh this whole thing again, just like Bangkok. They come back with some papers for us to sign relieving the airline of any responsibility for us not having an onward flight blah blah blah, like they won’t let us into Burma pfffffffffft!

We board the plane and are relieved that the terrifying screaming kid isn’t on it. The guy sitting beside me (and directly behind MacKay) should be in a Quarantine zone though. He’s sweating and has this raunchy  cough. He’s long clearing his nose and throat, groooooss. He’s constantly wiping his brow and making weird sounds with his mouth. MacKay keeps looking back at me with the “What in the fuck?” look. I give it until the seatbelt sign goes off and bail to an empty row behind us. I’m sick enough as it is. Hope it doesn’t turn into whatever this guy has…

We land in Mandalay around evening time. Clear customs without a hitch and grab a ticket for a taxi at the little stand. The taxi has Dolce Gabbana covers all over the interior. It’s a right hand drive car but the dude is driving on the right hand side of the road. Totally unsafe Mongol Rally style. We take a weird route to get into town. The Maps.me app is showing a highway right beside us but we’re going on a tangent away from it along some side roads. Maybe he’s saving on toll money? This airport is in the middle of nowhere and it’s hard to get a sense of what Mandalay and Burma (currently Myanmar) are all about.

After some zigzags and whacky dirt roads we start getting into the city a little bit more. We drive passed a university with a wall and barbed wire around it. Ok.. The buildings start to get a grow as we approach the city center and now we’re surrounded by tall buildings, occasionally one is completely lit up with tacky eighties style neon pink and green lights. Myanmar Vice!

The girls here all seem to have that yellow sparkly facepaint on their cheeks in flower and leaf designs. The guys are wearing some traditional skirt. It kind of looks like they’re wearing towels around their waste after getting out of the pool actually.

We pull up to the hostel we booked, Ostello Bello, fist pump the cabbie and walk inside. Pretty dope spot. The front desk peeps are super friendly, one dude has a great British accent, a tiny girl has the yellow leaves on her cheeks and a great smile. They give us the low down on some tours and how to get to other places in Burma from here and they hook us up with some rooms.

We pile in the elevator with our gear and pause for a second. It’s a touch screen lift? Damn. Don’t think I’ve seen one of those before. MacKay points out that it’s made by some company named Schindler. The pun master offers up, “Schindler’s Lifts?” grooooooan… actually that’s pretty funny.

There are some funny signs up in the elevator too. I’ve never seen an elevator introduce itself before.

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We get up to our room and it’s super nice. It’s probably the nicest room we’ve had so far this trip. Ostello Bello was a good call. We grab a few beers and head to the roof to check it out. Dagon Lights it is I guess (Spoiler alert: They taste like every other beer in SEA)

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Alrighty, time for some grub! We down another round of Dagons and get out to them Mandalay streets.

 

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