Saturday, January 23, 2016

a little trip to Twantay

since we have so much time here in Yangon, we're not in that much of a hurry to see and do stuff. just as content to hang around the apartment and cook cabbage and any weird stuff i can pick up from the street vendors, which i've gotten really good at.
so one sunday, i finally motivated some friends to take a trip across the river, which i have heard is an easy escape to the country side. we took a ferry from a dock downtown, where this little girl came up to us and shows us how to buy tickets, and was eagerly practicing her bits of french, nearly fluent english and we were teaching her german. i was asking her what there was to do on the other side of the river and she was like a human travel guide. my friend john said hey you should come with us, as a joke and she was all, ok i will! for 20,000 kyats! and then we agreed it would be a little strange to have this young girl with us, and she would probably have to ride in the trunk of a taxi since we were already four so we declined. the ferry was fun, full of all these people selling bits of food. these ladies carry around the little stools and when you order they sit in front of you and chop the mango, or put the little hard boiled quail eggs into a bag. there's a "foreigner only" section which we stayed clear from and instead sat in the cool lounger plastic chairs. there were clearly no life vests and the two-level ferry was overwhelmingly full but you try not to think about these things.

the clear waters of the irawaddy

unknown Food for sale
the ride was a short skip to the other side. upon arrival at the dock we were overwhelmed my rickshaw drivers offering rides, people with food, just a mess of people, over which carsten's head towered...throughout the crowd we managed to find a dude with a cool straw hat, very hip arm tattoos and passable english. we negotiated with him and hoped he would be our driver and guide for the day but it turns out he is just a manager/arranger/negotiator for a fleet of taxis. i felt like i was in a cock fight, me and the guy negotiating amidst a circle of spectators, including my useless friends. i finally thought i was getting somewhere when john just pulled out a bunch of bills and was like, let's just go. amateur! he ruined my game and who pays a taxi first? The guy is totally going to ditch us somewhere now. anyway, we get in the all the guy does is just smile, smile this huge smile, he's the happiest. i see a guy on a bike carrying like, 20 chickens and i scream chicken! and he screams chicken! and then every time we see chickens we all scream chicken.
this is the extent of our communication. then he says "snake pagoda!" ok! and then we went to the pagoda in the middle of the lake that was 27 fat burmese pythons and you can barely even see their heads they are just knots of snake. very weird.
nice window Dressing
there were goats and friendly little kids. the taxi driver did not bail on us and in fact he stayed with us the entire day and just brought us places without even being asked to. he kinda just led the way.
goats, snakes, whatevs.

so we did this little tourist tour but saw only one other set of tourists, an old german couple who have been to burma like a million times. they were on motorbikes, poor fools.

our trustworthy Driver

pagodee monkee
my companions got quickly tired of visiting towns, markets, pottery places, and pagoda after pagoda after pagoda, unlike me and so they voted to give the driver the universal sign for "let's drink a beer." so we stopped for a few beers, and the day was clearly winding down, but the taxi eventually stopped on this street and just said walk! walk!
extra large pig crossing

i was sure we were going to have to hoof it or hitchike back to the ferry, but anyway we took our things and walked. there was kind of nothing to see, just some random little villages and stuff until finally we saw some sort of parade, with people all dressed up, gold parasols and pushing these little kids on bikes. a woman at the front is throwing Little bills into the air and all these little kids are scrambling to pick them up.  the highlight was the music float, another bike setup with MASSIVE speakers and some drunk clown dancing in front to this repetitive, awful tune.
bumese Techno Parade

your lucky day, bud
little held me back from wanting to jump in and play the baseball theme because the keyboard was totally on "stadium organ." but we stayed respectfully at a distance, and just enjoying the scene, which was quite the highlight to our day, and to our delight our taxi showed up and took us back. unfortunately, he immediately drove right through this lovely procession, impatiently honking at everyone to move out of the way, which they did, scramling terrified into the dusty roadsie, which was rather embarassing. we found out later it was some sort of ritual for young monks. we drove back 70km/hr to the ferry and hesitated before the thousand or so bike shops, wondering if we should buy one when we thought, eh, we can come back anytime! because we live here!

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