Tag Archives: Burma

A monk gets dunked

I took a selfie with some Muslims (or they might've been African ghosts, it's hard to tell)
I took a selfie with some Muslims (or they might’ve been African ghosts, it’s hard to tell)

After the nine-hour trip from Yangon to Bagan, I never wanted to ride on another bus again. But there I was, two days later, climbing on the Bagan Minn Thar Express once again to make the return journey, this time overnight. And it wasn’t too bad, actually – for me, at least. There was a monk who didn’t have such a great time.

For the return trip I shelled out an extra four bucks to take the VIP (very infected penis) service, and was stoked to discover that not only did I not have to sit next to anyone, due to the coach having only three seats across instead of four, but also that there was no Myanmarese music to piss me off the whole way. Score!

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I ate a burger-like product from this shit roadside cafe that gave me the squirts. It was bad for me, it was worse for the monk

Sadly, the air conditioning was turned up so far that it was like Canberra in winter as we rolled along. I dunno, maybe we had some penguins on board or something.

After a few hours, we stopped and picked up a monk by the side of the road. Don’t ask me what he was doing in the middle of the desert, in the middle of the night, wearing nothing but a robe, but the plucky little chap climbed aboard, all smiles. And then the driver PUT THE MONK IN THE TOILET.

Sure, there were no spare seats, but it seemed weird for the monk to be made to sit in the toilet, rather than on the floor. I forgot about it and watched some shows on my laptop, until I was interrupted by the bus lurching violently from side to side. I don’t know if we hit something or blew a tyre, but we were rocking and rolling like Meatloaf on a bouncy castle. And then the toilet door banged open.

The monk staggered out, covered in shit, with only his big, smily teeth visible through the crud. I don’t know if he’d fallen into the brasco, or if all the turds had sorta exploded upwards when the bus went wonky, but he looked like a frozen banana dipped in chocolate. And he wouldn’t stop grinning, as if getting splashed with the arse juice of a thousand passengers was a blessing or something.

And then he just walked off the bus and into the night.

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That’s the only way he’s getting clean

As for the rest of today, it’s been garbage. I got into Yangon at 5am and have been at the airport ever since. And Yangon Airport ain’t a fun place to be stuck. There are no restaurants, no beer, and definitely no strippers. It’s now almost four in the arvo and my plane’s been delayed by three hours, so I’ve been sitting around watching endless loops of wacky Burmese TV ads. Seriously, every bloody ad they make is basically a high tempo pop song, whether it’s about noodles or hair care products.

Now I really wanna wash my hair with Galanz
Now I really wanna wash my hair with Galanz

Ahead of me I still have two flights, one to Kolkata and a connecting flight to New Delhi. I’m already half-mad with exhaustion, so by the time I get there I’ll probably be so tired I’ll pass out in the Ganges and wake up looking as filthy as my monk friend.

I’ve just gotta keep telling myself, “This is meant to be fun, this is meant to be fun, this is meant to be zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Things to do in Bagan when you’re dead

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Today was a day that I probably didn’t need to spend in Bagan. I saw a bunch of temples yesterday, and didn’t have a burning urge to see any more today, but I’m stuck here till 8pm, so what did I do?

I looked at temples and got drunk. Shit, it’s Bagan, it’s not like I spent the day riding rollercoasters and dancing with robots or anything. As I said yesterday, one day is enough here. There’s really nothing outside of the temples to see or do, and nobody really needs to be climbing through ruins two days in a row unless they wear a stupid had, carry a whip, and made three good movies and shit one with that fuckhead Cate Blanchett in it.

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Pro tip: Go for the Mandalay Red. It’s got a higher alcohol content and costs 75% of a Mandalay Lager. That means you can get (counts fingers) 25% drunker for the same price. Dad, correct me if I’m wrong on this

I’m talking about Indiana Jones. If you’ve done all that but aren’t Indy, please don’t be offended.

I also crab danced in one of the temples, in front of a Buddha who was trying to sleep. But it’s cool, right? Buddha ain’t one of those angry gods, he’s a pretty cool dude. If he was any cooler he would listen to John Legend and wear one of those hats with the sticker still on the brim.

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Please don’t kill me, Buddha

Bagan has ace temples and is great to wander around, but the other highlight is the food. The local dishes aren’t anything amazing, but this is the first place I’ve been to in Asia where they’ve done western food properly. Last night I had Thai (I know, I know, it’s in Asia) and it had actual pieces of cooked chicken, rather than a bunch of legs chucked into rice, as I’ve become accustomed to. This afternoon I had a hamburger, and then a chicken burger, and they were proper burgers. Some of the burgers I’ve had over here were closer to arseholes on toast.

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Oh, and after a day of walking around in 40 degree heat (in clothes that haven’t been washed in weeks) I smell like shit, which is an unfortunate situation for the poor Burmanian who has spent the last six months saving up to afford the bus trip to Yangon, only to get stuck next to me for nine hours. Guess what? I don’t think I’m going to have a happy fun time, either.

But as long as they don’t put the balding paedophile on the screen again, I just might make it through to India.

I broke a poor person’s bike and blamed it on a monk

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Bagan has more temples than Rebel Wilson has had meat pies. 2200 in fact (thanks, Wikipedia). And today I saw all of them… except for the 2100 I missed out on because I went to the pub. But there’s not a massive amount of variety between them, so I think I got a pretty good idea of what they’re about.

I’ve been eating well and drinking better over the last few weeks, so I decided to rent a pushie for the day rather than one of those poofy electonic bikes. And so, at 9:30, I slogged off on flat tyres into the 35 degree heat, hoping I could see some temples through the dust.

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Yeah, the view is half decent

It’s a bit hard to miss ’em. They’re dotted everywhere. Small ones, big ones, pointy ones, square ones. The more famous sites are crawling with peasants trying to sell souvenirs, but the rest are basically empty, save for a few monks. Biking it (whether the Cadell way or the softcock way ) is definitely how to explore this place. I didn’t have a map, but every time I saw something interesting off in the dirt I just toddled up there and checked it out. It’s easy and relaxing, and a great way to spend a day that other people are spending working.

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I think this is where Batman lives

Things were going swell until I went to ride away from one of the temples and heard a loud crunch. At first I thought I’d ruptured a testicle, then I realised that I hadn’t taken the bike chain off before pedaling off. The chain was fucked, the wheel was bent, and I had to come up with a plan. I started coming up with plausible lies, but then I went to the pub and forgot about it, so when I took the bike back I told them that a monk did it.

A monk! No explanation, just that some rogue monk came up and damaged the bike, then sauntered away.

They apparently bought it, but I’m expecting a bald dude in a robe to stab me in the eye as soon as I step out the door.

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This is the last photo you’ll ever see of me

It’s weird that Bagan receives so little recognition compared to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, because it’s every bit as interesting and far easier to explore due to how close together the temples are – sometimes there’s only a few metres between them, and from a high spot they spread out to the horizon. And, unlike Angkor Wat, I’ve managed to go a whole day without pissing or puking on the monuments. Gimme a break, when I was at Angkor I went out drinking till 3am, so I was lucky to even get out of the hotel room.

Just on that night that I got drunk in Siem Reap, it was the first (and, so far, only) time I have vomited on a frog. I didn’t know it at the time, but I filmed myself spewing in the street, and when I watched the video back it was clear that my partially-digested Mexican dinner landed on a hoppity-hop. I’m not even lying.

To wrap it up, Bagan is a top place and worth a visit, with my recommendation that you check it out on your own, without bothering with a guide or tour group. They’re expensive, slow and expensive, and half the fun of this place is discovering it for yourself, and walking around seemingly abandoned ruins with little idea of why they’re here. One full day is enough, unless you’re a total history buff.

Just don’t go to the similarly-named Bogan. There, monks don’t just bend your bike’s wheel, they steal the whole fucking thing and push it into a river when they’re finished with it and wanna go smoke some bongs.

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The world’s largest night light

Bus-ted!

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My bus trip from Yangon to Bagan, Myanmar was interesting, to say the least. After cabbing it to the outskirts of town to catch the beautiful (not really) Bagan Minn Thar Express, I was squished into a tiny seat next to an overweight man and his two children, behind a monk, and in front of a teenage boy who would, at regular intervals, reach over and caress my hair. Halfway through the journey he even leant forward and kissed me gently on the elbow. Sadly, I forgot to get his phone number.

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The entertainment was just as outrageous. First I was treated to two hours of Burmese pop songs by a chubby, balding paedophile, which became even better when I chucked Cypress Hill on my iPod and pretended he was B-Real. And after that I got to watch the zaniest movie I’ve ever set eyes on. It was in another language, so I couldn’t pick up all the major twists and turns, but it seemed like a real Academy Awards contender. It had slapstick humour, bus crashes, elves, ghosts, homoeroticism, extreme violence, bad dancing and a chunky guy on a pogo stick. So that’s where Adam Sandler gets all his ideas from.

He's Myanmar's answer to Guy Sebastian. Get the shotgun!
He’s Myanmar’s answer to Guy Sebastian. Get the shotgun!

Naturally, being a bus ride through Asia, it took about three times as long as it should’ve. We broke down twice, stopped every time we saw a monk to give him water, delivered vegetables, and even took a detour so the driver could buy some chairs. Luckily, no chickens were brought onboard – they were kept underneath the bus, where a couple of peasants were riding, too. Still, more comfortable than flying Jetstar, right?

Once you get out of Yangon, Myanmar is desperately poor, brown and dusty. It reminds me a lot of Cambodia (not surprising, given how close they are), but even more povo. Where Cambodia has nice buildings in each village, Myanmar has wooden shacks that look like they’re about to fall over. Poor people lined the road we drove on, hoping someone would throw money at them. I was unable to, as I was too busy either playing on my computer, reading my Kindle or listening to my iPod. Sorry, poor people.

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Sorry, kid, I need that money for beer

Unfortunately, the air con packed it in near the end, and the temperature headed northwards and settled at around 38. That was bad, but what was worse was the blokes around me, who started to spread their legs and flap their skirts to keep cool. Now, Burmese blokes don’t wear undies under their skirts, so I copped an eyeful of tiny, hair wangs wiggling about between big, meaty thighs – and the fellas were grinning their heads off while they did it! If I’d filmed it, I could’ve given it to the government to use as a public service video to stop young dudes becoming gay.

I was wrecked by the time I got into Bagan, but from what I’ve seen it’s a nice, quiet little place with a lot of backpackers riding around on bikes. Which is exactly what I’ll be doing tomorrow, when I head out to see a few of the 2000 or so temples that are bunched around this town like schoolboys around a stolen porn magazine (I’m showing my age now – I’m pretty sure the young blokes skip the mags and go straight to 30-man interracial anal gang bangs).

I was meant to be in Delhi tonight, but I’m happy to be in Bagan, and very excited to see what this joint has to offer. And how will I get back to Yangon in a few days? I don’t care, fire me out of a cannon, fold me up and put me in an envelope and post me – just don’t put me on the bloody bus again!

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Stuck in the middle of Myanmar with you

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.

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If only the people who hang out at Gossie station were so productive

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.

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It leaves her hands free for masturbating

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!

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Baby in a bucket!

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!

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This pervert wouldn’t leave me alone. If you look closely, you can see his boner

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.

Mission of Burma (that’s when I reach for my Myanmar Lager)

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I expected Myanmar to be extremely poor, backwards and run-down, but have been surprised to discover that the city of Yangon is a modern, progressive place that is a joy to walk around and overloaded with things to see and do.

The streets are wide, with plenty of trees and footbaths big enough to actually stroll down without having to dodge traffic. Unlike Jakarta, the air isn’t dirty enough to kill a full-grown midget, and there are heaps of nice, quiet parks to hang out in (and get drunk on the cheap beer). The people here seem less kill-happy than the Indonesians (I wonder if it has anything to do with them being Buddhist rather than Muslim? Nah, can’t be it. And yes, I do know that Myanmar has pretty much had civil wars since it became a country, so go fuck yaself) and there are also plenty of colonial buildings from when the British ran the place.

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No, not that one.

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That’s better.

I spent the day with a bunch of stupas, which sounds like what I used to do Monday to Friday before receiving my Nazi gold payout from the goosestepping knuckleheads at Bauer Media, but was actually a lot more interesting. Stupas, or pagodas, are basically these big, pointy, shiny gold building things built to honour either Fatty Vautin or Buddha, I can’t remember which.

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I think this is where John Laws lives

When I visited Shwedagon Zedi Daw, the most important of the stupas, something odd happened. As I walked in, the young chap at the door asked me to pull my pants down. I was sure I’d misheard him, but he demonstrated by pulling his own pants down a few centimetres. I shrugged and dropped my duds to the floor and gave him a little wiggle. That was obviously the wrong thing to do, because a stern-looking fellow in a security guard uniform came over and pulled them up for me, before explaining that they just had to be low enough to cover my knees. Settle down, I kept my reggies up.

I was a bit disappointing, though, because I’d been led to believe that The Monkees would be in there. I knew I wouldn’t see Davy Jones, but even Mickey Dolzenz would’ve been cool. Instead there was just a bunch of bald dudes wearing towels, looking like they’d just climbed out of the shower.

Yangon has provided all the wonder and wackiness that I found lacking in Indonesia. Today felt like an adventure, whereas so much of Indo was either too touristic (the majority of Bali) or boring and inaccessible (Jakarta). This is a fun place to just walk through, finding fun stuff down alleyways and following trails of gold.

Myanmar is a bizarre pace, though. On the trip from the from the airport, I sat in the front passenger seat, which turned out to be terrifying because they use right-hand-drive cars and drive on the right. I felt like I was going to crash into oncoming traffic the whole way.

I’ve seen at least five people chase and catch pigeons, which is a little disconcerting seeing as I had chicken for lunch. I’m guessing I actually had city chicken, but that’s cool because it was delicious and extremely cheap.

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Sweet and sour flying rat

I was also getting strange looks every time I pulled out my penis camera to take photos, which struck me as a bit off because Myanmaese people are constantly taking selfies. Then it hit me – they had very little access to technology until four or five years ago when the military government decided to play nice, so they probably went straight to taking photos on their phones and never used cameras. Or maybe they were looking at me strangely because I kept taking photos of myself with my knob out.

But wackiest of all is the way the teenage boys interact with each other. They tongue kiss, cuddle and fiddle with each other in public, then play wrestle, then start kissing again. I couldn’t believe it the first time I saw it, but I saw dozens of young chaps pashing off. I went to school with heaps of fully sick homos who sucked each other off all the time, but perhaps they weren’t gay after all, maybe they were just Burmese.

This is a brilliant place to explore, and I wish that I’d cut a few days out of my Indonesian adventure to spend here instead. As it is, I’m only here for three nights, which mainly comes down to a lack of finances and a desire to get back to Australia and do some paragliding before I die of old age. Oh yeah, and I kinda wanna get into the three of four weeks I have planned in India. And Sril Lanka. And falling asleep because I’m very fucking tired. As they say over here in Burma, konichiwa.

Ladyboys, hookers and muggings; going back in time in Thailand

I’ve managed to do what those gronks Andrew Chan and Myuran ‘Suck a man off’ Sukumaran thankfully never will – make it out of Indonesia alive. I’m telling you, those three days I spent in Jakarta seemed more like a month, and if my flight out had been delayed I reckon I would’ve started throwing karate kicks around the airport.

Right now I’m sitting on the floor at Bangkok Airport, somewhat disappointed that the airline chicks around me aren’t shooting ping pong balls out of their vaginas, and waiting for my connecting flight to Yangon, Myanmar. That’s Burma, where Rambo went all machine gunny in Rambo IV.

It’s been five years since I was last in Thailand, for a somewhat longer time then. It was my first trip overseas (yes, at 26 or whatever), I didn’t know what the fuck I was getting myself in for, and I fell into adventures that paved the way for all the stupid travelling shit I’ve done since then.

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No wonder the ladyboys like me so much

In Phuket I got attacked by a group of ladyboys while I walked down a dark alleyway, only to have a little bloke on a motorbike ride up and tell me to jump on the back. My response (while fending off the fists of the six-foot-tall dudes in dresses) was to tell them that I couldn’t because I didn’t tick the motorcycle box on my travel insurance application. “So you want to get fucked in arse by ladyboy?” he asked. I got on the bike.

I also tried to impress a girl by dancing on a podium at some point. It didn’t work.

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Look how excited I am about getting ripped off by a tuk-tuk driver!

In Koh Samui I met an incredibly attractive Burmese lass in a bar and, wary of how many hookers were in the vicinity, asked her repeatedly whether she fucked for bucks (well, in a nicer way than that). She told me she worked in a hotel, I invited her back to my room for some disappointing sex, and as soon as we hit the street she hit me up for money. Fuck, I’m an idiot sometimes.

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On our way to drink jelly shots and dance with hookers

Here in Bangkok, I successfully dodged a fake jewel scam before shitting myself in the street after having a dodgy hotdog from a roadside food dude. I just wandered into a shop, bought a new pair of fake Billabong board shorts, handed my used pair of fake Billabong board shorts to the shopkeeper, and swaggered out.

On that trip, I also planned to visit Myanmar (well, briefly, on a day tour along the Burma Railway), but it didn’t work out due to the fact the tuk-tuk driver who was meant to take me to the station was obviously on the drugs and took me to the wrong place. Since then, I’ve always wanted to head to Myanmar, that forbidden country, and in a few hours I’ll be there.

If I get into trouble for doing anything stupid, please come and save me, Rambo!

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With former Labor leader, Kim Beazley