Phayo, Franche-Compte, Elounda, Jum

Destination Yenangyaung, MMR

We stocked up on supplies

and set out on our pilgrimage to Yenangyuang, Myanmar- a journey with a purpose. The first leg of our trip took us from Pakse, southern Laos to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Thirty US dollars bought us a thirteen hour trip on a tired old bus- five spine jolting hours on a sad excuse for a road included. At least the visa procedure at the Laos – Cambodia border was smooth! (Not surprising seeing that you oil every hand that touches your passport…) We opted for a “fixer” to do the oiling for us, and paid 30$ to exit Laos and for the visa- three dollars over the current do it yourself price.

We wandered around Phnom Penh for a couple of days, just to get a feel for the city. After Laos it felt brash, brazen even, but fragile too…
Pensive moment in Phnom Penhs

Then it was off to Yangon in Burma. Our flight was one of two which offer a tourist visa on arrival, (both with Myanmar International Airlines). The visa procedure itself is routinely simple and straight forward. (Get to the Visa on Arrival window as fast as you can after de-boarding to avoid the crowd!)
We spent two days oohing and aahing at patchily prettied up Yangon
Changing Yangon

before the next bus ride loomed: The Joyous Journey Super-Express Ultra-VIP night bus to Bagan. “Almost there” we croaked after 9.5 hours of ultra-air-conditioned “joy”. A warmer two hour taxi ride brought us to our (non-existent we were assured at Bagan bus station) final destination- Yenangyuang. (Our Burmese needs work!)
We were delighted to see my sister Therese, momentarily manager-cum-mentor at Gentle Breeze Guesthouse, Yenangyuang, waiting to welcome us with her characteristic generous hospitality: A sense of home, somewhere in the Ayeyarwady dry zone! (Actually, locals call to her in Burmese when she’s on her bicycle…)
Therese in Myanmar

We soon realized we’d landed in an extraordinary place- at the perfect time
Ayeyarwady Magic

Check back soon for the story of Eric, the Light of Love High School and Lei Thar Gone, Gentle Breeze Guesthouse…..

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