It was bound to happen, wasn't it? We were waiting on the Thandwe tarmac to be flown to Yangon. Due to a slight miscommunication, Danijela was flying with Air Bagan (the direct route) and I on Air Mandalay (via Sittwe of all places!). In fact, in my absence, Danijela had tried to change my flight so I'd be on the same plane as she was (which is possible if you're moving to a flight of the same company). Amusingly, she was assured by the girl at the travel agent that I now was indeed on the same flight, while quite obviously I wasn't (either that, or some poor soul has been moved unwittingly). But anyway, sitting in wait of our flights, who would I happen to spot but an old familiar face: Matt (famous throughout the whole of Myanmar)! He'd just spent two days longer in Ngapali due to one flight being full, and one flight being cancelled. And even though we were heading in opposing directions, we were both sat next to each other.
Final stop for me here in Myanmar. Instead of making a mad rush for Golden Rock in the last final days, I've decided to spend a few days here to enjoy the nation's capital. This also means I can spend the Danijela's last day together with her.
Can't recommend Three Seasons Guest House enough, as Ivan Edward and his wife turned out to be a wonderful source of information for the rest of the country and help you on your way along the straight and narrow paths. Incredibly friendly, a wonderful breakfast with real Myanmari pancakes (sorry Danijela, you didn't get them the time you had breakfast there, but I had them the following days).
Spent the last few days exporing some sights I'd not seen on the first couple of days, as well as a revisit to Schwedagaon Paya (luckily remembering which guides I'd told I was from Ukraine, and which I'd told the truth). Apparently Oliver was told that I was from the Czech Repubic by one of the guides, and thankfully he covered for me.
Also tried to jog around the eastern Lake (can't remember the name for the moment). It costs 1000 kyats for foreigners to get in, and once you hit the northeastern shore, you're waylaid by the monstrous government project called Utopia Tower (someone obviously hasn't been reading a dictionary recently). Even after circumventing the tower, by heading out of the park for the moment, you're then harassed for another 300 kyat, because you're going into a new part of the park. Somewhat cheesed off, I just turned around and retraced my steps.
So, that concludes my first, but definitely not my last visit to Myanmar. The things which will remain engraved on my mind are the omnipresent lunghyi's (the skirts which the men wear and can be hiked up as shorts when necessary), the thanaka-daubed faces of the women and young children, which works as suntan lotion, skin cream and moisturiser, and the beautiful elegance of the long-dressed Myanmari women: they don't walk, they litterally glide across the pavement. And there's still Mrauk U, Golden Rock and Hsipaw to see, so enough stuff still to see in this beautiful country.