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Published: January 2nd 2017
A week in Myanmar and I'm yet to try the mohinga for breakfast. I'm more an eggs and bacon guy than a fishy onion noodle soup kinda guy in the mornings. Smashed a socialy unacceptable number of choc croissants at break fast today and Milla matched me one-for-one. I'm so proud of my girl.
Had to fuel up for our trek down the mountain and it is hard to leave this veiw. Cool breeze, blue skies and a golden temple on the mount. Not too shabby.
We follow a path from the resort and weave through trees and vines. We cross a tiny road and dodge the odd motorbike heading up the hill. Spiderwebs glisten amongst the trees and these unusual funnel webs litter the side of the path. It's fairly steep in parts and is strewn with broken sandals and thongs. Niamh collects half a dozen on her walking stick and reluctanly leaves these by the side of the trail. We see the golden temple of Popa through the trees but turn back when it gets a little perilous for the kids and the adults carrying kids.
We climb back up the trail and head to the
pool for a much deserved swim. The water is chilly, and if it weren't for the photo reward, I may have sat it out. Jules and the kids get in fast - like tearing off a bandaid - while I prefer to ease in and acclimatise my body parts. We get in, we get the shot and we get out. We chill by the chilly pool until checkout. Warming our chilled bodies in the morning sun. Milla and Niamh sun on the lounges, nearly falling asleep. Oliver frots on Alex's leg as she feeds Elliot. Such a peaceful and beautiful place.
We get our lucky door prizes after all when we check out. Kill some time eating beef burgers, chicken kebabs, fried finger fish and Ginger A-Holes before we get the maxi taxi to the Bagan airport.
The same guy who drove us up the mountain rendezvous at the agreed 3 pm but in a different car. We load up and embark on the hour long drive. He toots, he overtakes, he toots at a stray dog on the road and double toots at mopeds that won't get right. About thirty minutes in and our driver (let's call him Sleepy) makes a random toot at nothing in particular. He then starts to slow down to about 30-40 km/hour and swerves into the middle of the road. Thankfully there is no traffic in sight on this straight stretch of road. Rousing him from his micro-sleep I touch his arm and ask "are you ok?". He smiles bloody red smile and nods before popping a fresh green leaf wrapped ball of betel nut. I'm now watching him like a hawke! So are Dave, Alex, Jules and Deaks. Leaning and ready to grab the wheel if he doses of again I struggle for something to say to him. He leans out the window, he leans forward on the steering wheel, he coughs and pops another betel nut. We're all actually releived when his mobile phone rings and he chats to a friend for a few minutes. Despite two betel nuts in 10 minutes his eyes remain little slits and I'm visualising my actions to grab the wheel and somehow stop the car - there's no handbrake in sight. The third betel nut and a bit of traffic closer to Bagan get him beeping and aware again. We all leap out of the car at the airport, truly happy to be alive and daring not to think of what might have been.
We sit in silence at the airport waiting for our delayed plane. Are we tired or quietly counting our blessings? I don't know, but that could he been nasty.
The heat of Yangon hits us in the face as we leave the airport. It's 7.30 at night but hot and steamy compared to the mountains of Popa. And this is winter.
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