My feet were about to do some serious walking, so I tried a fish foot massage. I put my feet into a tank of water containing thousands of tiny fish who nibbled away at them, supposedly removing excess skin. The poor little things had a hard time of it with my tough feet, which were covered in calluses from going barefoot whenever possible all summer, so I had a pedicure to finish the job. The young lady operator took to me with a scrubbing brush and sand paper, more suitable in my case than gentle little fish. I celebrated my new feet with a new pair of shoes. They cost six dollars fifty. And I found a new suitcase that walked with me instead of being dragged. I gave the old one, which was still serviceable, to the nice girl at the travel agency, who I felt sorry for after she told me they work ten hours a day six days a week and get no overtime.
I left for Bangkok airport in a minivan. I was at the airport two hours before flight time as requested by Thai. I complied, having bad memories of what happens when you disobey a Thai Air order. The last time I had flown Thai was in 1988 and though I had vowed, never again, here I was again. They proved to be more agreeable now, but they didn’t have the service of former days no orchids for the ladies, no frills at all. The one-hour flight to Yangon was okay. There were some bumps and cloud but it was soon over.
Map Of Burma And Surrounding Countries Photo Gallery
Immigration at Yangon was a breeze and then there was the young man from Motherland waving a board with my first name on it. An hour’s drive to the guesthouse, and what a welcome I received. My room this time was way up on the third floor and not air-conned. It had only a fan, which was fine, it was cool enough. The rate for this room was twenty four dollars, one dollar less than the best rooms which have air-con and maybe even a hook or two.
I heard rain on the tin roof outside my room and, opening the casement windows, I hung out to look at it, revelling in the warmth and fanned by a cool breeze as the rain fell straight down past me. Hearing a tremendous hooting, I realised that I was directly over the train line and there, clanging slowly along to the howling of the local dogs, came the train.
Motherland’s ground floor restaurant is long and skinny and its entire eleven-foot frontage consists of wooden doors open onto the street. I sat before them eating my dinner as I watched the warm rain continue to fall softly down in the dusk outside. Now I knew I was back in Burma.
I slept wonderfully, well aware of where I was and very happy to be there. Awake early, I headed for breakfast then walked to the nearby phone shop for a replacement SIM card. They had none and sent me to the Ocean supermarket around the corner where I had no luck either. So I taxied to Chinatown where I was assured I could find one. I still had the phone I had bought last year. After trying several shops, I finally found a young man who inserted a SIM card for me that had on it twenty dollars’ worth of calls for twenty-three dollars. Not bad.
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