Katja and Arne's travel stories

17.12.14 Farewell Bagan – Hello Inle lake

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After a great nights sleep we’re back on the move today. We’re going by bus from Bagan to Inle lake. A ride of approximately seven hours.
As we have breakfast we see the balloons once more rising on the sky. They move so gracefully over the sky, it’s mesmerizing to look at.

And suddenly Marissa was there. She and Eli had not been able to prolong their stay at the Oasis, and since we had claimed it was nice here they took their last night here at the Zfreeti. They go by plane down to Inle but we’ll try to hook up with them at the drinks bar down there tonight. Then we might share a boat trip on the lake in a couple of days. They had also gotten a tip about a bike run through Inle and neighbouring areas. That sounded cool, so we might try to get that done as well.
We checked out and are now waiting for the bus. We were told it should leave at 7:30 and now when we asked it was 8:00, and now 8:15 we got news it just left New Bagan.
While we sit here and wait something bad happens. A “splotch” sounds and when we turn to look a pigeon baby bird had fallen out of the nest in the rafters in the reception and down on the tiled floor. It’s alive, but no-one no if it’s hurt. There are pigeons fighting up by the rafters and pieces of the nest come flying down. Then there is another “splotch” and another baby bird falls down. This one dies instantly as it…, well no, I’m not gonna describe this one. We move to another table as the staff come running to clean up the mess. Urgh, not pretty. In reference to the splendid book from Kagge Forlag named:”Why you never see baby pigeons”, I guess you have to come to Myanmar. And for the English spoken readers out they, if you want the rights to publish this book in your country let us know.

The bus arrives at last and we climb on board and do one more stop before we head towards Nyaungshwe and Inle lake. We pick up a couple with a baby and I fear it’s gonna be a constant cry frenzy for the next hours.
The start off the tour was easy enough. Flat land and wide decent roads. We’re half asleep, cause it’s just a bit too bumpy to read or watch any movies on the iPad. Then we start climbing.
The baby is blessed with great patients and did not once scream during the eight hour trip. Not even when I have to tell the driver to stop so they can change the diaper before it stinks up the mini bus.
We ask to stop for a bathroom break and get what we want. Sometimes you should be very aware of what you wish for, as it might not be specific enough to avoid disappointment. The toilet we got to use was a shed with a hole in the floor. There were people in line so I had little time to take pictures. Therefor the pictures might not do the place justice…
It’s said that people who experience traumas together connect and make very tight bonds. From being a bus full of strangers we now had common ground and got to be friends.

We have a few near death experiences during the drive. When you are in a minibus and sit right behind the driver you tend to get a front row view to all the action. The worst episode was when another van tried to pass us outside in a curve. Where we met a fully loaded truck. All three divers hit the break at the same time they honked the horn and our bus and the truck serve outside of the road. On our side the side of the road is rather narrow. Outside that is a free fall for a lot if meters. The driver laughs and get the bus back on the road and keep going. Business as usual, in other words.
We had a few others off these kinds of action adventures, but I guess one is sufficient to explain how the driving is done. A few days ago someone told me they didn’t believe you needed a drivers license here. I’m more likely to agree with him now.
We break for lunch in a restaurant that serves crispy food, but have nice staff. We share a table with the baby and its parents. She’s from Sweden and he’s from Spain. Turns out he’s a martial artist with a black belt in kickboxing and a black belt in Brazilian Ju Jitsu. They have both a lot of traveling experience and we get some good tips for Laos. A country we know little about. He orders a beer and I tell him about the cap and the prizes available. When he opens it he wins aother bottle and give that one to me. I have obviously luck in the Myanmar beer game.

Before we enter the bus I ask the driver if we have done most off the climbing now and if it’s downhill to Inle. He almost wet himself laughing. With finger language and Burmese he tells me we are going over four more peeks before going down to Inle. Oooook, guess I’m gonna try to sleep. Audio book first, then Nightwish, the only album I have after the complete reset of my phone in Boracay. It feels like I’ve just entered a safe and happy place when I get woken up. We’re in one of the town’s in the mountains that the English built as summer houses during their colonization period. It’s way cooler and fresher up here than down in the lowlands. The driver gets his cigarette and buy more

of the chewing tobacco and we’re back on the road.
From there it’s pretty uneventful and we roll into Nyaungshwe. First we have to pay the 10$ cultural fee. Passport is registered together with the fee and off we go. When the bus stops in the main street (“main” must be read with a bit of goodwill) we get off and start walking. It feels good to be the master of one’s faith again.

We sit down at the first and best bar and get some soda water and make out where we are. The people of Myanmar are extremely helpful and nice and it’s not for lack of trying that they are unable to give clear directions. What they give in enthusiasm they lack in the English language. We get the direction right and start walking. The town is so small it’s not a problem and we’re soon at the guest house. We check in and get a huge bungalow. It’s clean and the bed is nice. We barely get internet, but enough to find a mail from Marissa the Canadian that they have organized tomorrow’s boat ride on the lake. We’re very happy with that and make ready for dinner.

We end up right next door at the advice of one at the hotel. It’s cozy, personal and the food us good. After a long drive we go to bed early after making sure we can get breakfast a bit earlier than normal as we need to leave early to meet the Canadians.


Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .

–  C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Author: arnber

Humongen! The big guy! The man, the myth, the legend! And then theres' me. The nice guy in the house. The man without cooking skills, but with five stars on the Playstation. Boss at work, relaxed at home. What you see is what you get. Life is good. I choose it to be.

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