Back to Rangoon

Trip Start Sep 19, 2010
Trip End Sep 19, 2011

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Where I stayed
Lai Lai Hotel

Flag of Myanmar  ,
Friday, March 4, 2011

20 Th Feb.

   Our flight back to Rangoon was smooth for the rest of the passengers. But for me not so. You see sat behind me was the only child on the plane. Typical!!! So I sat through the flight having my spine kicked in as usual. SIGH. We got talking to an English couple at arrivals and agreed to share a taxi into the city. We all got out at their hotel, one of the swishest in town. They were ushered into the hotel in 5 star style as Cathy and I donned our packs to find something cheaper. Two blocks away we called into the Asia Plaza. $35 got us a great room. A little over budget but it was dark and we were in no mood to traipse the streets to save a couple of quid.
   We got up early and had a quick breakfast. We were hoping to be on a boat heading to Pathein that evening so we needed to book our tickets. We walked to the ticket office and spoke to the Manager. A 1st class cabin cost $48 each for the overnight trip. I was ready to pay up but Cathy held me back. She said she would like to see the cabin first. I agreed so we set off to the jetty to take a look at the boat. We found the boat and made our way across the gang plank. The sights and smells and the hustle and bustle of the landing stage must have been how it was on the Mississippi in the 1800s in somewhere like St Luis. There were hundreds of porters carrying goods on and off the boat. The boat itself looked something like a Mississippi paddle steamer without the big paddle wheel at the back. It had three decks and I assumed that 1st class would be at the top, so we made our way up. At the top we spoke to one of the ships crew and asked if we could see a cabin. He got a key and showed us a 1st class cabin. The first thing we saw as he opened the door was a huge dead cockroach in the middle of the floor. The room itself was down right tatty and filthy. My heart sank, I really wanted to travel on the rivers of Burma, I had my heart set on it. I knew Cathy would not go for this and I couldn't really blame her. We walked away thanking the guy. When we got out of earshot Cathy aired her thoughts. It was what I had feared. There was no way she was spending the night in that room on that boat. I was disappointed, but I understood what she was saying. So after trying so hard to get a boat trip in Burma I was finally beaten, it just wasn't going to happen.
  We headed back into the city center and on the way we found a little Chinese hotel called the Lai Lai Hotel it was cheaper than the Asia Plaza so we booked it for the next night. We now realized that we had a lot of spare time on our hands. With my plans scuppered we had a week almost before our flight to Bangkok and no plans. We should have stayed longer up north.
 Sticking to the theme of plans not going well, we had intended heading down to northern Malaysia to snorkel off the Perhentian islands as we had eight days spare between our flight into Bangkok and our flight over to the Philippines from KL. But the two Malaysian guys we were with up in Inle told us it was monsoon at this time for eastern peninsula Malaysia. We needed another plan. I remembered that we still had a ticket to fly from Phnom Penh to KL the day before we catch the Manila flight. This was left over from our change of plan back in November when we went to Cambodia and not Burma. Well we might as well use the ticket and besides we had spent only ten days in Cambodia and we had loved it. OK so that was settled then. We would land in Bangkok and get a bus straight to the boarder and spend the week in Cambodia. That night while we were watching the TV we heard about the trouble on the Thai Cambodian boarder. I couldn't believe my Bloody ears!!! Apparently there has been 10 soldiers killed in clashes on the boarder all because of a disputed temple!!! Each country must have tens of thousands of temples and they are fighting over one!! I immediately got onto the internet to find out the situation on the boarder. Sure enough it said that all land crossings between Thailand and Cambodia were closed indefinitely. Our minds were made up now and we were going to Cambodia. We bit the bullet and booked two flights from Bangkok to Phnom Penh at the cost of 100 each!!
 We spent our last days in Burma in Rangoon. We like Rangoon and for a week we became part of this alien community. We ate street food and just generally hung out and wandered about this busy city center taking in the sights and smells. We would definitely return in the future and would urge everyone to come and see this wonderful country. Don't be put off because of the military Junta that rules this place so badly. In our three weeks here we have seen hardly a policeman or soldier. We also tried to spend our money on hotels and transport that were not owned by the Government. Thus giving our money to the people not the coffers of the junta.
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rish and john on

our harts go out to you

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