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Sittwe, Yangon and Mandalay

TEXT GOES HERE (when I take time to write any)

We had a different boat on the way back and the trip took 6 or 7 hours. Still, it was a very comfy boat, as you can see. This is really the way to travel. Except when the wind comes from the aft and blows the oily exhaust in your face.
Here's a nice house along the river.
A load of wood on its way somewhere...
Another house along the river. We're pretty well out in the middle of nowhere, but there were little outposts or houses every few miles. This seems like it would be a pretty nice place to hang out, huh?
We stopped at a pretty good-sized village up this little tributary to have a look around. Our boat guy here has some friends in this village.
Everyone turned out to say hello and follow us around!
Children at home.
This was a really cool bridge in town... it looked like it was ready to fall apart, but it was really rock solid. The paths are made of clay they mound up and let dry in the sun, so they're kind of elevated. Hard to explain, but very cool.
A whole buttload of kids. School didn't start until 11:00, so I guess this is just a holding pen. Or this is the Catholic family in town.
A bunch of folks came down to the dock to see us off.
So we got to Sittwe, got a couple of trishaws, and went tooling around town.
Managed to catch this local dance troupe doing a performance out on the point somewhere.
Hey, a mosque! And look, even a Muslim dude riding by. We stopped in and hung out with the muslims for a while. They were really nice.
Another batch of new friends.
Hoochie mama! This woman was not camera shy -- she actually demanded that I take her picture. Then she wanted me to take pictures of everyone else within her line of sight.
Here's a tree across from our hotel. Hmm, what's that in the trees? Could it be a whole shitload of BATS? Yes! Hundreds of 'em, big giant fruit bats! They hang out here all day and head out at dusk for a night's work. It was pretty impressive.
Then it was on to Yangon, back to civilization! Sam got us the most luxurious room we looked at. We actually had television and it actually got BBC, and we watched Hans Blix deliver his report to the UN Security Council. It felt really weird and otherworldly.
Look at this! What luxury! I've never been too big on pools, but Sam loved it.
Cruisin' around Rangoon... typical street scene.
Another street scene in Rangoon. Dammit, Yangon! That's a hard habit to try and change.
This is Shwedagon Pagoda, which is the Buddhist Mecca of Myanmar. It's really big and really gold. We got there right at dusk, which was nice because the day was really freakin' hot, but not so good for photos. You'll have to go see it yourself, or go to a website about it.
Shwedagon at dusk.
Shwedagon just after dusk.
The thing about Shwedagon is that it's not just a single pagoda, it's this huge complex of shrines and stuff. Here's the interior of one of the many outbuildings around the main pagoda. The light was shitty and the photo is shitty, but you get an idea of what some of this stuff looks like. It's pretty incredible. Also, I think it was Date Night at Shwedagon or soemthing. You would not believe the couple action I saw there! Heck, I'd take my date there, it's a great place just for strolling or sitting and talking.
Then we took a night train to Mandalay. I love the trains. What's cool about Myanmar trains is that the windows open!! Imagine, sitting on the train on a warm evening with the window open, looking out at the sunset with your elbow resting on the windowsill... nice.
I realized on the train that I had quit taking photos a couple of days before. I had gotten so acclimated to Myanmar that I just wasn't thinking about it any longer. But on the train I tried to get a little artsy fartsy with the camera, playing with shutter speeds and all. Not much success with this one, but I think I'll try more. I'm getting bored with snapshots.
Another attempt at an interesting photo before I gave up.
...well, I, for one, loved it! Back to spend a day in Mandalay before heading home to China.
Dawn of departure day. Say goodbye to Myanmar.
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