Yesterday I got my first taste of Yangon and found it to be pretty ace, and today I wanted to dig a little deeper and check out some of the stuff outside the central business district. In some ways it was like going to bed with a decent sort and waking up the next day to discover she’s actually a bit of a fugmo, but I still had a great time in this exotic city.
I spent eight years catching trains to and from work and hated every bloody second of it (even if I did write a pretty good book that you should read while commuting – and you can buy it right here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MI5VI9C. Go on, the blog will still be here when you’ve finished your purchase), but that didn’t stop me from spending the day on a rattler. There’s a service called the Yangon Circular Train, and I was really hoping it would involve riding on a round train; instead, I found myself on a 50km circuit around the outskirts of the city, and it was a real eye-opener.
After coughing up 20 cents for the ride, I hopped on at Yangon Central and found myself surrounded by chickens, people cradling bowls of fruit, monks and other strange creatures. The train rattled and rolled through the suburbs and into the outskirts of the city, where I saw a little of the rural side of Myanmar – people picking vegetables, leading cows around, fighting and swimming in filthy pools of what looked like shit by the side of the tracks. At every station we passed, more peasants (and their animals) would climb on and gawk at me. After three hours sitting on a hard wooden seat, my arse was as sore as Jesse Jane’s after an afternoon with a black man, so I got off.
After a stop in the park for a well-earned beer (lazing about on trains is tough, dude), I rocked up to the Pansodan Jetty in the south of the city to take a ferry ride over to the village of Dallah, on the other side of the river. The trip over there was pleasant enough, even if it only lasted five minutes, most of which was spent fending off hawkers and filthy homeless children who looked like they’d just crawled out of a toilet. But when I got to the other side… what a shithole!
Dallah is little more than a dirt road with a bunch of crappy shops and restaurants next to it. I couldn’t walk five metres without some idiot offering me a ride in his stupid rickshaw, and one clown just wouldn’t take no for an answer. He kept following me for a few hundred metres, asking, “What your name? Where you come from? Where you go?” I took refuge in some sort of crap temple, and the dunce even followed me in there!
Of course, the real adventure was still to come. I’m supposed to be flying to India tomorrow, so when I got back to my room I went through all my details to make sure I was prepared for the flight – and realised I’d totally fucked up my Visa application. In that, you know, I hadn’t made one. So I quickly tried to get onto the online application site, only to have the internet at my hotel/shitbox go down on me (and not in a good way).
I grabbed my stuff and trotted down the street to the closest interwebs cafe, got onto the site, and found out all applications need to be made at least four days before flying. Right, so I’m not going to Delhi tomorrow. Now I needed to make my application, and try to get a refund on my already-purchased and newly-useless plane ticket. Only the computer wouldn’t allow me to access my emails to find my booking number, so it was back up to my room to try to use the net long enough to pull my details out.
With that done, it was back to the cafe to get my refund (small mercies, hey?), before trying to put my Visa application through. All good, all good, all good… now they need a photo of me. Back up to the room, photo taken, down to the cafe, uploaded, now they want me to pay. My card’s in the room, so back up there, got the card, back down, put the payment through, and it won’t go through. Try again, try again, finally realise it’s because my account is empty due to my mortgage coming out like a gay father. So I transfer money into the account, try to process the payment again, it says I’ve had too many failed attempts, go back to the start. Fuckity fuck!
Twenty minutes later, the application’s gone through, so it’s back to the hotel to book a bus trip to Bagan, where I was originally planning to go anyway. No buses until tomorrow night. I get the bloke to call around and, finally, he lands me a spot on the crappiest bus, which takes 12 hour and requires a 6am pickup tomorrow. Yay.
So it seems that I wanted to cut back on my time in Myanmar, but that Myanmar wasn’t having any of it. I’m not too upset about it, to be honest. I won’t be out of pocket too much (maybe $100), and I’ll get a chance to explore more of this wonderful country. The seemingly endless temples of Bagan are just begging to be explored, and it will be good to get a different, quieter perspective of this country. Plus, I get two 12-hour bus rides, aren’t you fucking jealous?
No, you aren’t. Of course you aren’t. Fuck ya, then.