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Published: December 28th 2016
The contrast between Singapore and Yangon could not be greater. The cultivated calm and manicured order of Singapore is replaced by the kaos of Yangon.
Once we all finally calmed down and got to sleep (I'm looking at you Milla), the stopover worked a treat and the Crown Plaza had a great view of all the planes landing at Changi Terminal 3, with perfectly catered room service - if I don't say so myself.
But we were up early. Was it 6 am, was it 8 am or was it 4.30 am? I don't know, but it was too early for a hotel breakfast! We transit to Terminal 1 with aplomb and check in/bag drop like pros. Now for some breakfast. Subway hit the spot for Deaks and Jules and buttered toast got Milla over the line, iced Milos were a popular choice, but my soft boiled eggs fell a bit flat. Who actually likes eating egg snot?
The Jet Star flight was a Jet Star flight. Slightly too small seats and no in-flight entertainment. We were pleasantly surprised by meals being provided to the Sharp Family, as all the plebs looked on while perusing the menu of
overpriced snacks. Nice work Tracy the Travel Agent!
Our flight took us over Cambodia and Thailand and we could see the tree covered mountain ranges of northern Thailand - a blanket of lush green. Then we must have crossed into Myanmar. A patchwork of brown tiles with clusters of trees along rivers and around towns. The forests appear to have been cleared for farming plots and it has a somewhat scorched earth look about it.
We taxi around Yangon a couple of times and this allows us on the right hand side of the plane to take in the startling beauty of the gold pagodas of Yangon. Big, Gold and Bold. I won't dishonour it with a shitty airplane window photo, but it did take your breath away and got the kids (and me) very excited. Unfortunately Jules was on the left hand side of the plane and couldn't see the pagodas through my broad shoulders.
Apparently there is a new airport opened in Yangon, but we thankfully got to experience the old airport. It had the fell of a bus terminal in comparison to the ultra modern efficiency of Changi. It took forever to get through
customs and immigration but considering the pace of developement taking place here, I'm glad we got to experience the "old" Yangon.
Got jammed on the exchange rate but the MPT sim installation went smoothly. For some reason the exchange rate for small notes is 20% lower than the listed exchange rate. Cheeky buggers!
Now, words can't really explain the kaos of the roads here and our taxi ride to Dave's place was an eye opener. No seat belts in the back, no lanes to speak of, no indicating, plenty of "I'm on your left" "I'm on your right" horn tooting. Touts in between the traffic selling cigarettes, betel nut, fruit, bottled water and flowers. Red lights don't always mean stop. Cars have flashing red and blue lights on there dashboards but aren't police, they've just had them installed. U turns take place anywhere, anytime. Pedestrian crossings are a relic of another time. And the speed limit is loose to say the least. But we made it and you can't get that sort of joy ride for 4 people for $10 in Australia.
It doesn't take long for us to adapt to the local customs. Before we'd got
to Dave and Alex's place none of us had seatbelts on and we were suddenly comfortable with the kids riding in the tray of Dave's 4X4. Deaks was very comfortable with the lax attitude to safety we'd recently inherited. Don't get used to it buddy! What happens on tour stays on tour!
It's winter here, but it's hot and humid. Dave and Alex's place is awesome! It's air conditioned, has ABC TV (via some dodgy VPN he's rigged up) and a fridge packed with Myanmar Lager. A very nice drop might I add.
Soooo awesome to catch up with mates on-the-road. And even awesomer to have a big expat house to call home in the crazy place. A sanctuary no less. The kids settled in and were soon out running amok with the hose, a cake of soap and the tramp.
Millsy sustained an eye injury in the back of the 4X4 and soap on the tramp just made it worse. She managed to keep the eye shut for about 4-5 hours. We packed her in the car to go to the expat doctor, but had a gut feeling that her extreme tiredness was contributing. She pepped
up after desert and her eye was opened again. Phew!
We had a beautiful birthday dinner for Dave at L'Opera on Inya Lake. Italian cuisine, al fresco by the lake. Superb!
From the serenity of the lake to the koas of the traffic. Welcome to Myanmar.
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