Monday, December 11, 2017

Myanmar (Burma) photos published

Really quick link

Sunday, November 26, 2017

No women allowed and lumpy smoothies

November 26th 2017
Chiang Mai, Thailand

My last full day of this trip. Tomorrow is a plane ride to Bangkok, which kind of kills a day. One full day in Bangkok to prepare for Wednesday’s 730am flight to Tokyo and then home.

I like Chaing Mai. I don’t expect that I’ll return, but who knows. I woke up this morning slightly disoriented, for a moment I thought I was in Mexico. Chiang Mai reminds me of a trip I took to Cancun several years ago. True it is a foreign country, but the parts I’ve seen have been so heavily tourist-ed that if you could be in any vacation city in almost any big city. Every third store front is a local travel agent ho will gladly sell you a package tour to see monkeys, elephants or a zip-line. The animals change from place to place, the temples change, the zip-line and bungee jumps remain the same. I was afraid that Thailand would be too ‘discovered’ for me, and I really think I am right. If you haven’t traveled many places out side your home country, please come to Thailand. Yes, you’ll get culture shock, but it will only be 9 volts, not 220.

Cooking class took longer that I anticipated. I was away from the hotel from almost 9am until after 3pm. I got my money’s worth for the time I spent, plus some really good food. I came back to the hotel and washed up and cooled down before venturing out into the wilds (?) of Chaing Mai.

It was a trip with the biggest surprise of the entire trip, I met a French couple and they were very nice. Now that was a surprise.

I went back to the food court, because I liked the atmosphere kind of hipster, kind of funky and kind of comfortable. In the center of it all is a covered stage area where a band could play, but the times I was there it was a D.J. Well worn groups of 4 theater seats were places around and brightly painted oil barrels were cut in half and used as chairs and tables. A comfortable area to sit and have a drink and listen to the music or just have a drink with friends. I opted for the music and since we all know that Quinine helps ward off Malaria, had a vodka – tonic. The bartender filled a plastic cup with ice, poured a shot and a half in and poured about the same amount of tonic water in. I drank it slowly and stood up, deciding then that maybe I should have something to eat and kill an hour, before walking back to my hotel. The sidewalks here are pretty uneven and the way I was feeling would make them even more uneven.

I ordered a pita bread thing, a cousin to a burrito. The meat came from one of those vertical spinny grills where the cook slices off the meat was the sideways BBQ spins. The man gave me mine and I thanked him is Turkish and he got a big smile and said you’re welcome in Turkish. It was very good, but a little messy, I can show you my shirt if you want to see it. I know it wasn’t the drink.

In the morning I decided to take Sunday mass at the Temple of Coffee down the street. I entered the Starbucks and who should I meet? The Mossad. Yes, I knew it, they are following me. Yesterday they were picked up after me, today they were lurking at the one place they knew I would go. See I told you they were Mossad. I wonder what I know, that I don’t know I know, that they are so interested in? They left, to spy on me from a distance and I sat and sipped a taste of home and listened to Christmas Carols.

The sun is out!! First time since I got here. When I was in Macedonia I was with some people from Florida and they could tell you how many days it had been since they saw the sun. Being from the Pacific Northwest, I wondered what the big deal was. Today I understand.

I might have a cigarette or two a day when on a tip. Today for some reason I was Jones’ing hard for one and walked past a woman and smelled smoke. She was setting up a blanket with her goods on it in front of a closed store, hoping to catch a few tourist fish during the day. I asked her if I could buy one from her and she insisted I take one. She said it all evens out, if she needs a cigarette and doesn’t have one, someone will give her one. So I asked her for a light. Since I had bummed the entire process now, I asked her is she would smoke it for me too. She got a good laugh from that, but left that up to me to do. I made sure to return her way and buy something from her. I picked up a nice key fob for my guesthouse.

One of the places I missed on my walking tour day before yesterday was the Chaing Mai pillar location. A huge brick crumbling monster of a temple that is the city’s religious center. There was a 20 Bhat temple I saw on last walkabout, his was a 40 Bhat temple ($1.20). There is a huge cathedral sized temple on the grounds, but the actual pillar is housed in a very small one. No girls allowed, because they might defile the whole thing by being on their period. Never mind that they might be 5 or 75. The sign on the steps to enter it said No Shoes. Men Only. An Asian woman I was standing next to said to her friend “They should give us a discount !”

The large temple as filled with chairs today. I don’t know if it was a sermon or chanting, but a man was talking over the loudspeakers, and seemed to go on and on. Down one side of the temple were 50? 75 ? 100? Lotus position seated monks.

I listened and watched for a while and then left. Outside there were rows upon rows of young monks sitting in chairs facing the temple and listening. Well some were sleeping an a couple were sprawled on their chair – but – none were playing video games on their phone.

Behind the temple was a long row of pop up tents. You’ve seen them at fairs. Four legs that expand and hold up a plastic tarp. There was a row of these that probably stretched the length of a football field. Cheek to jowl they were set. Everyone of them was giving away food. One had noodles, another curry, one had doughnuts, another ice cream. Rice over there, and even bottles of water. I’d seen something similar in Delhi, but that was the various temples, and predominantly saffron rice. These were from various businesses and it really covered a wide range of different foods. I should have avoided the Mossad and Christmas carols and come here.

I left after about an hour, and that guy was still talking. Some of the young monks had left too.

The walk back to the hotel was routine, except for picking up the key fob and stopping for a smoothie. I have no idea what was in it. Banana and yoghurt for sure. Some ice and funny little round blue things that I sucked up though the straw. They were like gelatin spheres. Chewy, not a lot of flavor. Heck they didn’t even taste blue. It was an interesting mixture chewy and cold and sweet in the same sip, but I wonder what they were.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Lunch with the Mossad and assorted others

November 25 2017
Chiang Mai, Thailand

After a power nap yesterday I killed time in the room until around 6pm. I tried television but unless you are an all action all the time kind of watcher, or all news or business, you are kind of out of luck, TV wise. I can get NetFlix on my phone, but not on the computer. I think it sees the Thailand IP address and thinks I must be pirating it. Maybe I should have bought that VPN. Funny It likes my phone though.

I left the hotel around the appointed time, hit the main street and turned right instead of left. Left takes me to the old city, right takes me only to the night market, but I’m sure it takes you places further than that. I walked and was beginning to wonder if it was all a myth, this night market thing and at the “Just one more block and then I’m heading back” point I found it. It wasn’t so much a market as I had envisioned, but a series of stalls on the street side of the sidewalk, peddling everything you need to fill out your already over packed suitcase on the way home. Textiles, lamps, dinnerware, clothing, stuff to put with your other trip’s stuff to keep it company. None of it for local consumption, purely for personal export.

I did find a fun area though. In an alley off to the side, opening behind the buildings was a food city. Maybe 30 vendors, each with a different item for sale, there was the beer guy, next to the bar guy, next to the Northern Thailand woman, across from the Phad Thai place, the burrito joint is just over there, want ribs ? Go to that corner. Want something exotic? $3 for a fried scorpion. I ate well for less than $10, and that included a vodka tonic, but no scorpion. They were just too small for the price. Ya, that’s it ! They cost too much for their size. Of course if they were the larger ones I’d have gotten a couple.

I got to bed at a decent time and set the alarm for 6. I’m not sure why I set the alarm, my internal clock s set to check the time for 5 am, o I got to doze until six.

The cooking school’s mini bus picked me up and another woman and young daughter were already on the bus. We drove around looking for the rest of the team and eventually ended up at the market where all the ingredients we would be using today were shown to us and explained the differences there are between some of the similar ingredient. I didn’t know the Turmeric was something like a ginger. I’d only seen it as a powder. Lots of rotted fish stuff that came in sauces, that sounded yucky but eventually tasted down right good.

Then back to the bus and a quick jaunt to the school itself. A lower floor on a townhouse apartment. Set up with a table for eight and gas burners and woks for eight. The brochure said the class topped out at six, but we had seven. The lady I met on the bus, from Singapore, via Perth, via Manhattan. Nice lady, one of those people who know how to bring groups together. The woman from Korea who’s English was better than my Korean. A young couple from Portland, who really reminded me a lot of Jacob an Emilee. Both couples on the cusp of 30. Intelligent, quick, funny with responsible jobs. Then there was Boris and Natasha, the Mossad couple from Israel. He spoke pretty good English, she not so much. She was a bit of a princess and he was the Sphinx. I couldn’t even find out what city they were from. Ya, Mossad for sure.

In the class we chose six dished and one curry to learn. Portland Tom, must have looked up the recipes before the class and chosen the most difficult, time consuming ones. He had one rice dish that he had to constantly stir for I think a total of 20 minutes, It came out wonderful, but that is a long time to shepherd one dish. Most of the dishes followed the same basic pattern, wok the protein until cooked (except the shrimp. Overcooked shrimp = tough shrimp) the add the vegetables cook til heated through with the hard veggies (carrots, etc) start to soften. Pour in some fish sauce, and oyster sauce, some yucky smelling stuff, a little sugar and then add the leafy herbs. All easy to make when the ingredients are there, the work goes into getting the ingredients at Safeway. But I’ll certainly give it a try once I get home. The food was all good, nothing I didn’t like, though by the end I was really running out of room for another dish.

I’ll have to ask my Indian friend how she makes her curries, because both here and in Cambodia we had to crush and pulverize the vegetables into a paste. I wonder if a blender would do the same or if the crushing breaks down the cell walls better. Pim the instructor must have been in the Army as a drill instructor, she was pretty adamant that when it came time to pound something, you better be pounding. No getting away with just doing the motions, you better be sweating.

Now I’m full and it’s 5pm. Though a drink and a smoothie sound like a good way to finish the day. Maybe a stroll back down to the food court from yesterday is in order.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Yangon to Bangkok to Chiang Mai - All pictures from Chiang Mai

November 24 2017
Chiang Mai, Thailand

Well there went Thanksgiving. Some of you are still digesting the annual turkey feast as I write this. My Thanksgiving yesterday consisted of a pretty good club sandwich, soggy fried and a vodka tonic, on AstroTurf amid a flock of mosquitoes.

Last time I wrote it was in the middle of a down pour in Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar (Burma). The hotel in Yangon was pretty plush, kind of expected to see some British guy in khakis, handlebar mustache and an elephant gun. It is one of those places that has been there since God was a child, but has been maintained and upgraded as the years passed. Keeping that original colonial standards and feel.

I slept forever, instead of waking at 330am or 4, I slept until 630 and then stayed in bed until seven. It was the first time in a while I didn’t have to be up to meet a ferry or see a sun rise or climb a temple. The morning routine was relaxing, like a vacation should be.

Breakfast was wonderful. There is always a good assortment of eggs and an egg station and breads and bacon or ham, plus a bunch of Asian dishes. This one had all those and fancy cheeses, smoked salmon and – and --- sushi. Instead of the run of the mill coffee, espresso. I should have stayed another night.

During breakfast, this man walked up and said, “I’d like to introduce myself..” I interrupted him and said “We have already met. You managed a hotel I stayed at in 2014.”. He didn’t remember me, but did do a fair job of faking it.

My plane was scheduled to leave at 1pm with a two hour layover in Bangkok before going on to Chiang Mai. My morning’s email said the plane was going to be delayed by an hour. Grrrr… an hour to stand in Immigration line and then get to my plane in time to not sleep in the airport? Looks like something new to bitch about next time I write.

I killed time by writing hotel reviews for TripAdvisor. Some good, some neutral and one scathing.

The plane arrived as expected, an hour late. Air Asia s a great turn and burn, no frills airline. Extra leg room, that’ll cost ya. Same for a Coke or bag of peanuts. The flight attendants not only are charged with our safety, but being a vending machine, and cleaning up the trash from the bathroom.

I showed my ticket to one of the FA’s and she had me move from the middle of the plane to the front of the plane along with five or six others. The plane landed and we were personally escorted off the plane to a waiting van and driven away before the other passengers even saw their bus. Then a long walk to our own Immigration officer. Then to the gate. I imagine the time from door opening to gate side was less than 30 minutes. The plane to Chiang Mai was on schedule and so no bitching about planes tomorrow.
Yes, THAT guy !
The hotel I choose was not the best choice. Other guests on TripAdvisor complained about the noise and they were right. The bed was okay, but the bathroom was really small. If you don’t include the shower area I have actually been in larger commercial aircraft bathrooms. I farted and the door slammed shut ! (not really but it was too good of a line not to use)

I spent much of the evening searching the internet for a different hotel. Which is where I am now and it is lovely. The except is they put a rose in my room and I am now sneezing and it would probably be rude to flush it.

I went out for a tour of the local neighborhood and found the old city with ease. The old city are now just the city walls and millions of tourists and all the things tourists need. Thankfully the Starbucks and McDonald’s are just outside the city gate.

There were a myriad of shops to look at and trinkets and textiles to buy. A few temples and you didn’t have to climb a series of uneven steps to enter them. The walk was city street flat, and chaotic, but controlled chaos when crossing the street. Even I succumbed to the temptation of picking up a trinket or two.

In one of the temples there were three very realistic looking renditions of I assume past monks. Three of them in a sitting n a row, with their hands in their laps next to the Buddha. It was kind of creepy in a Madame Tussauds'  sort of way. I got the picture of the altar I wanted and bowed slightly to the wax figures. The one on the left gave me a slight smile. No wonder they were so realistic!

Back at the hotel, waiting for the heat of the day to lessen a bit then off to the night market a short walk after 6. Cooking class tomorrow. I found this in the hotel packet. 800 Bhat is about $25.

This is boring, just blah - blah - blah and no pictures

November 22nd 2017
Yangon, Myanmar

And I said I was going to avoid this town. It’s not Hotel California, at least you can leave here, but you can’t avoid here. I decided to go back to Bagan for the sunset photos I missed and make sure everything is Jake with Bobo. I have a week too goo and really no real destination since Mrauk U in in the rear view mirror.

The alarm was crying at 315 am this morning to send me to Bagan. A three hour drive from Mrauk U to Sittwe at 430 for a 730 check in and a 9 am flight outta town. Well that was the plan. The three hour drive worked out to three hours and eleven minutes. Yes, I timed it. I was absolutely amazed the driver said he could do it in three hours and he did. The darned mini bus took an hour and a half longer. You know? There isn’t much scenery to see for the two hours before sunrise. It was a pretty quiet drive, I was still asleep and didn’t hold up my end of the conversation very well. I know it is the passenger’s job to keep the conversation going, and I flat failed this time. We somehow crossed both those rickety bridges, built in 1954 by he British, and no repair since then except perhaps when a hold big enough to let a bus fall through occurs. Then they might put a new board down.

At the airport I looked for that thieving scum of the earth, but he probably was home getting a massage on my mini cab fare. The police probably wouldn’t arrest him on grand theft anyway.

I checked in and was told that the plane might be an hour late. I was going to say that I could have slept in an hour longer, but what is the real difference between 315 am and 415 am? That hour turned into two and a half hours though, and that would have made a difference. Always buy travel insurance for the medical evacuation clauses. They also come with other stuff. Like if your luggage goes on a walkabout, or if your plane is delayed. I’m going to have to pull up my policy and see what it says. I’ve never put a claim in on a flight, we’ll have to see what happens.

The plane went through three takeoffs and landings, to get here to Yangon. As we are descending into Yangon, I look to the east and all I see are clouds and rain. This ain’t looking good for sunset photos. I know I am good as far as the ‘Horse money’, as far as Marmar’s money that is a matter that I didn’t factor into anything. Maybe I should have, but I didn’t want to offend her hospitality, so I paid Bobo more than he gets from the regular tourist. At least that is my justification. I checked the weather in Bagan, rain and thunder showers the next two days. I canceled the rest f the trip to Bagan, if I get really lucky I might see some f that plane ticket back, but I’m not optimistic on that.

I stayed here before and knew of one hotel, so I told the real taxi driver to take me there. Similar to the Princess in Mrauk U we did the price dance. List is this --- is this – Oh, I can give it to you for less than that. REALLY ?!?! Yes, please.

I got to the room and settled n and went idea shopping. He plan now, and plane tickets bought is to leave Myanmar tomorrow and go to Chiang Mai Thailand. I only know it is supposed to be the eating capital of Thailand and I’d like to take a cooking class and see what it is all about. If I get bored there is always the beach towns, but I don’t think I am into the Thai beach scene, I just don’t drink enough to get the full experience.

Yow if today is any indication of the rainy season, no thank you very much. The rain was coming down so hard that I couldn’t see two cars in front of us and so loud that we had to speak loud to be heard. Right not the rain has stopped and it is muggy, but it always is muggy so nothing new there.

I’m closing now, sorry this hasn’t been as exciting as previous trips.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Boats and spider women

November 21st 2017
Mrauk U, Myanmar

Today was the planned trip to the Chin villages. Eight am meet up. I had showered and done all those morning things and was a bit early to meet, about twenty until eight. Then something said, you better go back to the room now. Walk regally like the princess you are, don’t hunch, and don’t run, Just purposefully stride back to the room. Keep repeating, there is no hurry, there is no hurry. There was a hurry. Damned chillies!

We got on the road on time and I wish the guide would realize that 8 is too late to start, but his is a railroad like timetable he has to keep. Rutted roads, paved roads, roads under construction, rutted dirt roads under construction. We got to the landing to pick up the boat. To get to the boat we had to walk down a near vertical ladder If vertical is 90 degrees this one felt like 85 degrees. Not steps but 2x4s.

The boat is about a shoulder wide, well … okay two shoulders wide. Long as a Winnebago. Powered with a lawn mower engine with a propeller on a stick. The deck chairs are lined in a single row and are only good for one thing that is to lean back and take a nap. If you want to take a picture you have to lean up. If you want to take a decent picture you have to scoot up. If you was to stand you have to really scoot up and then lean forward and rock for momentum. If I had my way I’d burn everyone of them, and send the smoke to Hell to torture those souls.

The river was very wide and must have been shallow until about the middle of the channel. We got going and cruised along at 2 miles and hour for about an hour and a half. All the time the river banks were closing in on us. I know it is the wrong country and the wrong river but if I had seen Colonel Kurtz I wouldn’t have been surprised.

We set ashore at a small village and I asked what the deal was with the Chin. He said it was the ladies with the spider faces. This didn’t sound optimistic. First the mortuary for dinner, now spider women. They weren’t really spider women, only tattooed with intricate facial designs. They stopped the practice about 50 years ago, so the women would all be grandmothers by now. Around age nine they would get their tattoos. A five day process of a full days having the tattoos made. They would wrap the girls in a bamboo mat and tie is around her, to keep the girls from squirming around too much. At the end of five days she would be puffed up like a basketball and had to drink special ju-ju (okay, I missed that part) for a month.

The lady I met here was more than willing to let me photograph her, I felt like I was intruding and popped a quick snapshot. We walked to the end of the village to the school. Both primary and more than primary were both teaching English in some way. The primary ha milk, cake, bread written on the blackboard. The more than primary was taking a quiz. Written in English on the board “What is – name – eating, What is – name – riding?” It wasn't much of a test, I knew all the answers right away. Schooling goes until 5th or 6th grade and then if you want more you need to go to the city, and that costs money. So most of these kids are going to top out on Mar-ling riding a bicycle and Hello and good bye.

On the way out of the village who should we run into going in, but that obnoxious group from yesterday. I tried Good Morning, Gutten Morgen, Bonjerno, Ces’t Va - nothing in return. Maybe Shalom, Salam or Aloha would have worked, but I think more than likely they were just being poops.

Back to the boat and came and closer to Colonel Kurtz we come. We get to the end of the road for powered vessels and only bamboo rafts coming down to this point. Small rafts of bamboo, get tied to other rafts, to other rafts and after a bit there is a floating barge of bamboo to the big cities down steam. We walked this village and sat with a woman and her eighty year old sister. The lady we were sitting with was one hundred and three. She was deaf but told the guide she was just waiting to die. It sounded like she wasn’t eating enough to keep a bird alive and her kidneys may have shut down. I’d gotten a little less shy and took a good picture of her. I haven’t looked to see what is on the memory card yet. I hope I did her right.

Than came three hours of torture, back down the river, and not just to where we got on, but further still because it was easier on the car. The sun was low in the sky after the first hour and even on the water a flipping oven. I’m chanting to get off and we pass the stating point and keep going and going. At about 430 we land and guide wants to climb a pagoda to watch the sunset. I wimped out can came back to the hotel. Just too much fun for one day for me.

.. and I didn't even get kissed

November 20th 2017
Mrauk U, Myanmar

Well I got here. A bit more adventure than I prefer but I’ll try to remember to be smarter next time.

The big bird got us from the beach to Sittwe like clockwork. Luggage in hand I step outside and someone says Taxi?. – How much ? (Too much, no matter what the cost) – So we negotiate from private taxi a/c to mini van. – You will drive me in the van? – Oh, yes! – OK, let’s go!.

We start walking away from the taxis, off the airport property. Alarm bells tinkle in the background. He throws my bag in the back of a multi passenger tuk-tuk.. Whoa dude !! I take you to my car. CLANG ! CLANG ! CLANG ! Alarms, and I keep on going with it. We go way the Hell onto town and he dumps me at a shared taxi stand. This is not what we talked about, but now I’m stuck. – then the price negotiation begins, Mr. Lying Sack of Shit inflating the price as the driver and conductor just sit back. Finally a price at least 4 times what the locals pay is agreed on. Then Mr. Lying Sack of Shit demands $3.50 for driving me there. He’s getting his bite out of the taxi fare. Finally I toss two bucks at him and tell him to fuck off or call a cop, and sit my Princess ass in the front seat.

Then the driver start hunting for one more passenger and I look at my co-riders and tell the driver, Let’s go, What I paid I OWN this taxi. The other agree with me and we are off. Different countries, different rules of the road. Here it has a method, until the sun goes down. Then the rules are drive with your high beams on, or dive with no lights at all. When you first get your new bike, be sure to remove that little red reflector in the back, and wear the darkest clothes you own. This will insure that the other drivers are paying close attention to the road.

The road was muchly paved. I wont say mostly. Lots of construction and mucho dust. We crossed two bridges that scared the heck out of me. I’d be leery of walking across them, and we are in an overloaded mini van. The three hour trip took four and that was with diving crazy fast on the paved parts.

We finally pulled into Mrauk U a little after seven and after dropping off everyone else got to my hotel. I’m not sure if that was because it was the last stop or they didn’t want the other passengers see how much they gouged me. (I found out today it was 10 times)

The Vasselli is the best of the worst in town and there is no middle. By saying that I am being generous. One look and I knew I was only staying one night. Low twin beds on homemade frames. The a/c behind the window curtain . No dead bolt or even chain on the door that you had to close and latch then lift got the tongue to fall into the hole in the jamb. The a/c didn’t work and the fan was good, except the bugs ate your exposed skin because it was too hot under the covers. I want to say I’ve stayed in better jails, but I’ve only stayed in one and it wasn’t.

The guide I chatted with arrived and we left the hotel and I told him to take me to the best (only) hotel in town. As I said there is no middle ground. It is a palace. I spoke to the manager and he said walk in price is this, but I can give it to you for that. I said has it for such and such, he said okay. So new home after one sort of sleep. Then we went out for dinner. The guide said he wanted to go to the Mortuary. Okay maybe they have converted the old British mortuary into a plush eaterie. Not sure about the atmosphere, but if the food is good, why not?

Turns out it was a local restaurant called the Mo Cherry. I ordered the Cashew chicken and it was eatable, but nothing special and certainly not nearly as good as MarMar’s.

Dawn came, breakfast came, I tossed money to the desk clerk in a snit (not my proudest moment) and guide with car came.

Today is the city temple tour and tomorrow is the Chin village tour. I’m not sure why I need to see the Chin villages but the guide says, see them now before they disappear. Okay, I’m not sure if there are only here this week, or getting flooded out by global warming or too many tourists, but they are going to disappear soon and this is my last chance so there it is.

Mrauk U is one of those fr from the center of power. A small forgotten backwater on the map of modern Myanmar. I it wasn’t for the temples, and the light tourist presence I’m not sure there would be a hotel or restaurant certified for foreigners. The streets are unpaved, full of potholes and not wide enough for two vehicles to pass by.

Today was a temple tour. The temples here are a few hundred years newer than the ones in Bagan, and absolutely totally different in style. In Bagan the Buddha’s are maximum of four per temple, at each or the cardinal points on the compass. Here there are a zillion of them one says it had forty thousand and another ninety thousand. You walk down long cover hallways lined with Buddhas, little ones, big ones tiny ones. Some carved into the stone, some varied sized statues posed from knee high to over your head. The hallways are all well lit, but if the lights were to go out, you’d be in a hard way to find your way out. This is not a temple tour for the claustrophobic.

In Bagan all the temples and pagodas are on this large flat plain. That is why the horse cart works so well there. Here we are in the mountains and everything is up. Guess what, it isn’t any cooler here than it is anywhere else in this country. Want to see that temple, climb up those stairs. Want to see that stupa? Do the same thing you did for the temple.

Eventually temple overload landed and it became a bunch of meaningless names and dates. The temples began too merge into one overheated set of stairs and the date ? Well crap, I can’t keep American history straight Burmese history from the 1500’s might as well be spoken in Chinese for as much as sticks with me. Maybe when I look at the pictures it will clear up a bit.

A break at noon until 330. Got the new room, in the new hotel, it will do nicely. Wash up a little, power nap and back at it at the appointed time. This tie it was just a few temples. Where this morning I saw perhaps a total of six other tourists, this afternoon they were in abundance. At one checkpoint in a temple there was a covey of them, maybe six. They wanted to shoot down this hall that was lined with Buddhas. First aunt Martha took her two shots, then cousin Wilbur, then sister Betsy, brother in law Pierre had to shoot with cell phone, SLR and iPad. They wouldn’t let anyone behind them and it was beginning to back up a bit. I am sure glad I didn’t say something like Dude, how about giving the rest of us a break ? Oh, shit ! Maybe I did. Either way it wouldn’t / didn’t make any difference, until Sophie got her’s too. Perfectly framed don’t you know.

The problem with the guides is they seem to all run on the same track as the other guides. We’d run into this group and the stink eye would fly, in both direction. Did it do any good, of course not, but it did feel good.

We ended the day with a mid sized hill climb to watch the sunset. I may have tweak them a bit, but I think the photos should be nice.

Now at dinner I ordered a salad and just got a five alarm chilies. Gawk! One of hose small teeny green ones. I’m going to need an antacid.

Time to close. Chins tomorrow