different pain

“Which one is better, the Coconut Shake or the Lassi Plain?”
Indian girl asking the waitress.

“How much did you paid?”
All around. No comment.

“How was it?”
Next stupid question. Are all foreigners on holiday or travel enjoy their experiences similar? Because we are like in the same boat, plane, guesthouse or void, so we have to stand and relax together? Bored of foreigners investigating their next move, to meet the most delightful, coolest and most local guide, best place or most supreme experience on earth. Do I appear like we have something in common? Taste? Desires? Expectations? Back home you would change to the other side of the road, so piss off and enjoy yourself.

“I like your tattoos.”
Stoped counting.

“Not married?! Oh! Very good. Lucky. More freedom.”
Burmese mens´ best choice.

“I think in rich countries all people, poor too, have more options. Tibet wants to stay behind development, it´s a disadvantage for the people. I don´t think that China always treats Tibet well, but…”
A sucker of a guy from Frankfurt talking to two Canadians, transmitting gestures of a lot of “FUCKS”, unfortunately soundless.

“Tourists are sometimes stupid, very stupid. Stupid tourists.”
Bike driver, after a group of two dutch families left the restaurant, because a local guy smoked at the other side of the room, which is like located, nearly at every restaurant, unclosed to the street, to the dusty dirty streets of Mandalay. Whatever.

“Why do you have this? You shave. More handsome.”
Still feel comfortable with my beard.

“You are muslim? Beard no good, dirty dirty.”
Policemen, drunken, talking to me. Reporting me his name loud and clear, chested like King Kong, a military tone in his voice. It seems to me, that up north people getting more racist.

pain

So.
Bagan.
Temples.
Phagodas.
Monastries.
Royal grounds.
Not less traders, switching to beggars. Cycled around, which still is pain in the ass on this dollhouse bikes, but enough to escape. But not from this girl, following me. Didn´t want to, true. Her cycling on her oversized bike more looked like wading through the massiness of gravity.
– Hey Mister! Hello! Where are your from?
– What is your name?
– Where are you going?
Two more shy kids at about the same age in her tow. We were still cycling.
– You want to buy postcards? I have!
– No. No shopping, only looking.
– Why not?
Looking puppy.
– You buy me candies?
– Yes?! Follow me, shop nearly. You buy me candies, please?
– Yes I share.
At the shop.
– Can I have Coca Cola?
– Yes, Coca Cola and Candies!
– Hm. Ok. Candies.
She choosed a box of cookies.
– You buy two!
– Ok. One.
– Thank you, Mister!
In front of the shop, I couldn´t stop laughing about here. The cookies she stored in her bag, maybe offering the next tourist.
– And now you look my postcards, only looking.
– You buy postcards, price up to you. Please, I need money for school.
– Yes i do!
Of course she doesn´t. Basic school is for free. But I was so impressed by her acting, in this charming kind way, playing with her infacy like with cards and at the same time rude and saucy, punching me in my belly with a sweetened smile.
– Please!
Shwoing me her self-drawn postcards.
– Present for your friends.
– Yes. I will share.
– Bye Bye!
Waving, with a satisfied smile, following me a couple of corners chuckling among each other.
Of course they beaten me up. And of course this kids are a thorn in the pockets of the traidors, selling copied books, paintings, handcraft and postcards at the gates of the sightseeing spots, trying to pretend something like an honest and non-bothering standing. Some are really, some… whatever, not my business, but, I stabbed then in their backs by prejudice, that was my revenge.
After the first temple, my first meeting with a traidor, presenting me his paintings and all the other souvenir stuff, not accepting my “NO!”, trying still to be polite, don´t want to judge their kind of business, they have to. Took me one hour. So, i was getting pissed.
– No good business today. Please. Look, you can fold it, no problem.
FUCK YOU! I don´t want your fucking souvenirs, HELL DAMN IT!
– Everybody say sorry today. Don´t want to hear.
I understand, I really do and I really feel sorry for them, that they delivered to the moods of complaning, bargaining and stupid tourists. I don´t feel sorry about not to buy something. It is still not the pushy way the do business, but it will gets worst. And again! I don´t need that Bagan religious Disney World junk. I even don´t know how to hang it upside down. I don´t even own a wall!
Today, at Bagan, they are still building phagodas and temples, donated by a “minister and his wife” and self-sacrificing jerks around the world, to immortalize their bounty. – Donating a place, where the locals can do business? Really?
I DON`T WANNA BUY SOMETHING!!!
But, of course, I met some really nice guys as well, up on the phagodas, chatting and listening to their stories about stupid tourists, spending their money on fakes and copies.
I am templed out.
But climbing them is fun and enjoying the view amazing.
Praise my piles!

love

I met this guy on the bus from Mandalay to Bagan. Can´t remember how i got in, but we started the chat talking about love. Sometimes things just happen, or it was the “Titanic” movie, screening on the VIP bus – miss the noisy Myanmar hit parade.
About love… a deep sadness he is hiding between his cornered cuts, behind his smile. Staging the bottomless of meaninglessness.
Maybe he never felt love.
Loving is not love.
Love is even not a feeling.
It is a system we learned to forsake in upright self-pity our hormone system to survive, evolve, to feel human at all, by definition. To differ pain and compassion.
Maybe he is missing love.
Love is a wandering bum, finding a shiny coin, crashed by a train, haven´t been aware of the rail tracks he was balancing on.
It happens.
And it just happens again.
Leaving a beloved one is kind of loving, more yourself, not to start having this gnawing emotions caused by staying.
– Love makes me weak.
– That´s maybe a part of love. Not a bad one.
– Hate makes you strong.
– But you need love to hate.
– Maybe.
– That´s maybe the problem, that love comes always with a maybe and the risk to fail. Yesterday a dog was following me, one of this grim bastards. Felt kind of chased and safe at the same time, because i had an companion. The dog was getting closer, making strange noises, can´t differ if it was a growl or a howl or a sob. His breath was right at the back of my lower leg, crawling in teethed bloody minds up to my neck. I kept on walking, trying to act normal, not to surprise or fright him with different moves. Felt freezed, caged in my behaviour. To keep it short, at the end, the dog was licking my toes and I was rubbing his ears, offering him my fried rat. Perfect symbiosis! Don´t need a girl-friend. Or like a girl-friend, but the dog left me. Good Riddance!
Chuckling.
– I hate dogs.
His smile turned into a more sarcastic expression.

I met this guy on the bus, asking me.
– Are you sad?
– I am not sad, that´s how i look like.

Maybe love doesn´t exist.
Maybe we just don´t wanna be alone. Feel alone, or feel different. Maybe we are animalists, live and fuck in packs. Maybe love is a product, like vibrators, viagra, marriage and or religion. Maybe love is one of the worst problems of our time.

– Maybe you should forgive yourself the debth of self-hatred, for such a long time.
Leonardo is kissing.
– You like to eat rat?
– Tasted like chicken. Honestly, at first i didn´t wanna try at all, because i am vegeterian, well today more used of being one. After the bike driver told me that it´s a rat, i had to try. It was on the countryside, so i didn´t worry at all.
– Yes. You don´t get it in the city.
– And it fitted delicious to the palm tree beer – and the dog, waiting for the crunchy fried tiny bones.
– You like to drink the juice?
– Yeah, the first gulp tasted strange, sweet and bitter, but after a couple of this coconut cup shots the rum from yesterday refreshed and i started to love this white brew.
– You drink rum? You know in Myanmar we say, rum, R-U-M stands for Regular Use of Medicine.
– Yeah i know, the driver told me, we had some glasses at Mann Restaurant, you know.
– …
– Near Nylon Hotel, I think 83th street corner of –
– Yes i know.
– You know Nylon? I stayed there 8 years ago.
– 8 years ago first time in Myanmar?
– Only Mandalay. I think the city has changed a lot. More foreign architecture, glazed business centers. More floors, more motorbikes, more cars and more noise. A lot of more.
– Yes a lot more. I would like to stay at te countryside, more quiet and green.
– I know what you mean. Yesterday i was on the countryside with the driver, where we had the rat. Passing small villages surrounding the center of Mandalay. Very beautiful. And the habitant, they were not interested in me at all. I was there and could just be there. Nobody cared. Different people. I like.
– In Mandalay people always smiling.
– Yes, but not yesterday.
– No smiling?!
– No. Only as i stayed at one place for more than a couple of minutes. Chatting. Well, kind of because they couldn´t speak english, so more watching and touching.
– Sorry.
– Why? Maybe that´s how they look like, like me, not sad.
Chuckling.
– I actually like that, I think it´s not less friendly and honest. Smiling people, you never know if they wanna hide a curse. And even my lips are more consisting of cornea since I crossed the border to Myanmar. So a break was quite relaxing.
Only me, chuckling.

– You are buddhist?
– No.
– Muslim?
– Why? Because of my beard?
– No.
– No, i am not religious.
– No religion?
– Yes.
– Very good! (Thumbs up). But you like Mandalay?
– I do! Different to Yangon, more modern and kind of more crazy. More drunken people. I wanna come back, next year maybe, maybe for meditation. The driver told me about some famous places to stay. Forgot the names, but i have his mail.
– Meditation, good!
– I have to try. Maybe to find peace or love, for you?
– Maybe. Also for you?
– Deal.

All around the world humans suffering love, have to stand the ideas, rules or behaviours about love and listening to torturing love songs.

buffaloshit

It is a rainy season. Inle Lake. 2,900 ft above sea-level. The freshwater highland lake located in the Shan State. Stylizing the geographic shape of the lake, it appears like a golden drop blown by a fart of Buddha. The one-legged fishermen paddler seem to walk on the water, Captain Ahab with a fishnet in his left and more artistique, dancing the waves, not stiff by anger. The never-ending corridors of gardens planted near the shore, in the lake. The shopping stops on the boat trip for tourists. The burmese kids, starting to charge money from the bloody ignorant tourist, kneeing – Don´t touch the ground, Florence, it´s dirty! – in front of the locals, neither saying hello nor trying to communicate in a smiley way, zooming, video taping, without a spark of respect. Bargaining about 1,000 Kyat, which is more or less 1 Dollar, buying souvenirs, handcrafted. – You like it or not, don´t blame the locals for one Dollar you scumbag. Whatever.
So. The Lake. Attended by a hilly mountain area at the west and east coast. Weather is changing like in a minute, from rainstorm to tropical island sunshine.
Lazy hilltop guardians.
Falling Clouds.
Invading the valley.
Like huge fishnets.
Overcasting white.
Leaving me dripping wet.
Cursing the guardians.

Up on the hilltops, during a 2-Days Trekk, eve of creation unclosing an amazing view over the lake and the mountain area, impressing me and the rest of the group. Five altogether, accompanied by one guide and his younger brother. Stayed overnight in a small village up there whereever we arrived at a locals home. We haven´t been the first ones, that´s for sure, but kind of, and of course and unfortunately not the last. Anyway the stay was rural enough. Sleeping on the wooden floor with a planket, better as i expected, eating in a seperated room, peeing from the balcony at night, being adorned by laughs about our appearance. In a group it´s hard to keep in touch with locals after the warmly welcome by the family, counting two kids, the parents and the grandmother. At the groundfloor of their wooden home, all painted black in the inside, with just to pieces of furniture – my dream of a simple and functional architecture, they drying tabacco leaves in the harvest season, on 10 round stoves, heated by an undergrounded oven. The house pretty looks the same like the others in the village. Basic. I love it! They are all farmers, cultivating tabacco, curcuma, corn and wheat in this area around, in an ecofarming symbiose with nature, of course, they maybe never heard about ecofarming, they just do it that way, the only way to keep the soil fertile for generations. Some of the farmers are so moving from field to field, for a couple of months or more, staying in small bamboo huts.
– Can i have the Avocado Salad?
– Sorry Sir, no have, not season.
– Strawberry Juice?
– Orange Juice?
– No season.
Grand!
I don´t know much about eco-farming, but viewing that surrounding you feel like diving in green. Green all-around. No words. I hope the change in Myanmar, the money, tourism and with that more and more industrialisation won´t destroy and deleting that knowledge about living in peace an balance with earth. Forcing farmers to move. Rising prices caused by imports. Selling grounds. You still see the beginning, cleared hills, the need of wood building up more and more of 5 star resorts, polluting the country with greed and high-speed capitalism. Not one of the locals i´d talked to likes that development, so they know what´s gonna happen, but feel more stucked between earning money by tourism, they hope so, and loosing their paradise.
Group travelling, if it´s just for two days and even with some really good dudes, still sucks. But sometimes you don´t have another choice, if you don´t want to run out of money as fast as possible. This group was after all properly, no complaiing, no bargaining, no worries, no questions about how much did everyone paid. And still managed to escape, in the morning, to stay with the family for a couple of minutes, joining them for breakfast, which was tasty to try – to beat a toast with egg and chips isn´t that hard. The Shan family and the tow guides gathered around the fireplace in the kitchen, like yesterday after dinner, chatting and playing games. Compaire it with a snuggery, filled up with smoke. The two opened windows didn´t help at all. Cigarette helped. I felt blackened from the inside. Smoked. Faces arising and vanishing in the black amorphous state. The kind red smiling face of the grandmother, facial wrinkles telling her story, lined by a laugh of a young girl, a touch of the simplicity and humanity of entities. – I don´t mean it like “Oh, they have nothing but are so happy, that´s great! We have consumption, envy and greed.”
Buffaloshit!

unfair

Dogs chasing horses through the streets of Nyaung Shwe.
Dogs chasing dogs.
Dogs eating dog.
In the night and in daytime.
Howling, growling, baring their teeth, in their muzzles of a deathless veteran, malformed by scars to a more grotesque mask of a street fighter.
And all that in front of a monastery.
Blasphemists!
It´s a dog´s rule.

French girl worried and thinking about try to push them back in their corners.
Standing in the backyard of the guesthouse, opposite to the monastery, behind an iron gate, clenching the bars again and again, struggling with her minds. – On her gravestone written in dog bones “Killed in action”. Stupid kind of a naive one.
It´s not your pretty pinky sweet hair ribboned dog of a dog at home, bitch. It´s a dog!
Don´t blame her for her simply-hearted attitude, but what did she expect, frolicking dogs on green-wide fields, kissing cats and snatching butterflies, fluttering out of their polished asses back to life? And i am sure she had a great chicken pork whatever for dinner afterwards.
Or am i just blunted dick. Or is it because she is french. Or do dogs always eat dogs.

noticed

By bus from Yangon to Nyaung Shwe, at the shores of Inle lake. With AC, seats in fair conditions and DVD. Showing a Myanmar Movie production copying the exorcist. Hell! The audience was laughing. The whole script of the movie appears to me possessed by trash, Grinding demonized uproar. Horrible in a way.
Followed by the bedtime hit parade, jaring hip hoping popstars – part of the movie still? Outtakes?
I always ask myself if this is about the HIFI units… possessed HIFI around Southeast Asia. Forget about to kill the noise with earphones. It will be still in your – head, you just can beat it with something similar, like black metal. So, i love it!

HIFI. WIFI. – Talking about WIFI isn´t worth. It will change as fast as a click.
But even though if you are in yangon and searching for a cool and easy spot, checking mails, have a coffee and a sandwich, with proper bread, check the coffee bar, at corner of 11th street. It has the potential to get an exped meeting point, so hurry up or sorry for the advice in advance.
I don’t even like to share tips, still thinking about deleting the category from my blog. Enough travel bloggers around doing their job, recommanding and cursing places. Writing about off the beaten track. So, off-beaten but please with comfort.
Days ago i read a blog entry, similar to, you have to take the train or bus in Myanmar, otherwise it would be like traveling to italy and don’t eat a pizza. Jessas!

So departure was at 5 pm, arrived at 4.35 am.

Up north it´s more cool, more like in europe, not about temperature more about humidity. I welcome the refreshment.

After struggled with the ordinary food poisoining and dreaming on the bus of a shiny food plaza, had dinner, extra ordinary pizza in Myanmar! Shame on me. Haha, i fuckin loved it!

And why the hell are we examine our snot after blowing?

saluting

The critical 69 years old lonesome catholic Ex-Navy Captain teaches english at university and also free of charge for young and old (doctors and professors), who are ambitious to learn. Joined a lesson and had a chat with him and his four students at my last day in Myeik in the evening. He teaches nearly 60 in his leisure time. His wife died early. By translating he also tries to mediate values, like why it´s good to make donations. He talks about the corruptive military system in Myanmar – the reason why he left the military service, retired. Mostly the students dream about going to foreign countries. Singapore or Thailand, because of the good relationship between them, to rise their skills and earning enough money to send it to the family.
They are asking me questions, well, more they had to, the Captain pushed them – Oh Captain, my Captain!
– Can you explain to me the value of time?
– Sir.
– …
– You say “Sir”.
– Can you explain to me the value of time, Sir?
– Why are you travelling?
– Why do you have a beard?
Beat this!
– I saw you on the street today and i recognized that you are an honest and educated man not like many other tourists. That´s why I invited you to join the class. I very appreciate your visit. You are always welcome.
He also appreciates that he had learned, under the impact of colonialization, british-english.
– (…) like Obama. Not like today, the students learning burmese english, mixing up vocabularies and pronouncation is very bad. (…) Why? The government doesn´t want young people learning proper english, because they are afraid of loosing power and money by an educated youth. As I was a young, soldiers were soldiers, not like today, they are more business men, you have to pay but nothing happens.
I realize now that I didn´t asked him about his name. Julia, Diana and Cinderella, the boy, new in this class, didn´t had a name at this point. He gave his students english names, because they are shorter.
– Burmese names are too long.
Baptised himself “The Challenger”, appeared to me like a cartoon superhero. A master of puppets. A very calm, balanced and upright man with a big heart and a great vision.
– Everybody should be educated in Myanmar and should have the possibility to visit school, right?!
In another way, he has something of a dictator as well, like a visionary has to, waiting beyond his shaded glasses for efforts and answers. He is proud of possessing books like “In 80 days around the world” and “Gulliver´s Travel” and some catholic church literature in english.
– English books are very hard to find in Myanmar. The book sellers don´t know a lot about english literature.
Maybe that´s the reason why it´s not forbidden to read them.
His house is constructed like a typical traditional, made of wood, on stilts, downstairs the open kitchen, toilet and garage, all-in-one, the room upper floor he prepared like a classroom, with a small room next door for sleeping. Tables, high like your knees sitting down the floor, placed in a friendly rectangle. Teacher´s desk at the top, messed up with books, DVDs, scripts, a mirror and small presents, religious talismans of Father Bruno. The board behind him. He takes his mission very serious, always motivating his students to ask me questions. They were more afraid, on one hand about their english skills, on the other about the strictness of the Challenger.
– Julia (his most advanced creation), come on, introduce yourself and make the presentation why english is good to learn.
Julia starts after putting herself together with a hidden smile. Presenting. About a 2 minutes speech, By rote. It seems to me that Julia didn´t knew what she is talking about. But I was wrong. Chatting with her was a pleasure, Julia his the master´s beloved puppet. They had just to struggle mostly with self-confidence to talk and to make mistakes.
I really appreciate the 90 minutes. Impressive and the most authentic look behind the curtain until now.
– God bless you.
And first time in my life that I accepted the nonsense phrase, by heart.
– Hope we will meet again.
I really do.
What a perfect nightlife!

Leaving tomorrow back North again.

eyebold

Can´t remember when i felt so tired. Browsing around in Dawei and Myeik, downtown or on the countryside or on the way from downtown to the countryside or on the way back, i was more an attraction to the locals as the opposite. Everyone whispering coy, saying, yelling “Hello, my friend!”. Joining in a chorus of friendshipping. Conquering another world, exploring the west. There is no way out of, powered by the fact that i was the only foreigner in town. Tried to escape in restaurants or bars. They called their neighbours, by mobile or just hailed them from the streest. Adapting me, touchy, being so amazed by my beard, how tall i am and my feeds, and mainly freaking out on my tattoos. That interest is neither about age nor social status. I am a traveling circus, or a symbol, a march of victory about the political change (by the fact that the military is still acting random, legislating or cancel rights and rules, like, massage is not allowed in Myeik, because a general didn´t felt treated very well, that´s maybe more a rumor, but still a pointing collage). Waving greeds, smiling, again and again, smiling, my face felt like carved in stone. Would be interesting how my appearance would be like without my tattoos and beard. My head is full of eyes, the brain attacked by gazes, a real-life psychodelic dream of boiling in an eyeball soup.
Avoiding nightlife. Don´t wanna sit circled by locals spending me whiskey and communicate with hands and arms. The dialog mostly ends with “my friend”, missing vocabulary, lately by responding “Fine. And how are you?”. Burmese is a tough language to learn, the tonality is deafen my tongue, i didn´t manage until today to pronounce Dawei in an understandable way. On the street after a couple of blocks always felt dizzy by turning my head from the right to the left, upside down and backwards. Hiding behind the camera was the only exit and one way to get a picture of daily life and culture.
On my last day down South it has stopped nailing, it´s a sunny afternoon, i am sitting in the lobby of the guesthouse, trying to relax, have a date in two hours at a primary school, teacher asked to visit, because he thinks it´s good for the students talking to foreigners. And, yes of course it is! But where are the other foreigners! Plural!!! Burn in hell!!! Just for a second and then beam them to Myeik, please, to this audience of wide opened hungry eyeballs.
I need a nap.

… to be continued

top secret

Student monks gathered, massage the legs of one of the three monks at the monastry. Sitting on his throne, kindly reigning, with eyes glooming, his face as itself reminding me to the mainactor of IP MAN, but more blooming. Joking about my beard, “You shave and look handsome. You could stay here as a monk, because of bold head. But no beard.” Played a board game, called Ze, smiliar to air hockey, a remix of air hockey and billard. James, my guide, a very friendly but also sometimes stressfull companion, reminding me again and again that it´s up to me what i want to do, but we always reached the place on his schedule. – Explaining that i am vegetarian, don´t wanna watch animals in cages, even if it´s seafood, arriving a couple of bumpy roads later at a crab farm. Whatever, maybe it´s because he likes more increase his english and german language skills, instead of listening. I am not sure about provisons, more he is manifasting his position as the only proper english speaking (non-official) guide in Myeik. Beside that, he is a pretty nice one, named by german tourists 007. How many guides around the world named 007 are existing? They should arrange a 007 guide meeting.

The most weird stop of the half-day trip, which ended up as a day-trip caused by rainy hours, was a second monastry. Serious sick people, like suffering cancer or even HIV, were most of the time treated there. I had to study the whole history of patience treatment. With pictures, cruel one. Fifty-nine cases. Afterwards they wanted to show me how they get treated. At the monastry, widespreaded wooden construction sites around with paces, mostly consisting and more grown by buffalo shit, bridges made of planks and bamboo, crossing channels filled with crap and whatever that could be… so, at that, and still, beautiful place out of nowhere, two patience were treated. Kind of accupancture, the monk uses like a about a meter long bronzy stick, calibre maybe 5 mm, at the top ending like a blunt quartered stamp. The sticks are spotted on the body, which part of depends on what kind of sickness, for example breast cancer directly at the center of the spread, with pressure, not sticking inside, just pressed on. Every day during their stay, about 1 month, after that, they are fuckin cured! Surprise! “Sometimes the patient come too late, it´s just too late, they waited too long to come here, so they die.” A young girl, staying at the monastry, was filming my visit, and took pictures as i was leaving. With no donation. It didn`t occur to me why. Honestly, i didn´t felt very comfortable at that ungolden, meaning kind of imitating, monastry. Maybe caused by prejudice, maybe because of reminding me to my father´s cancer treatment. The trip to the monastry passing small villages was pretty worth anyway.

At the first monastry, near a ship construction harbour (building a fishermen`s ship in 1 month and reparing takes about 7 days), James, 007, the guide, after lunch, i ate there a three-in-one-fuckin-huge banana, never seen that kind of natural grown mutation – “No chemicals.”, was documenting, again, by off-orders of the monk, as i was passing my donation, in an envelope, presented by him, on my knees, in a 45 degree position towards the throne, with both hands. After that he showed me two posters with pictures of altogether three german tourist having done the same trip. I felt pissed in a way, but in the other, they provide an orphanage at the monastry, with kids even far back from home, like Thailand, lost parents, bumming around, crossing borders. “They stay there for free, get free education, a place to stay” – and to be. Children from the villages around also can join the class. Teachers are six women. Tried to chat with one teaching english, she couldn´t understand one word. Whatever. Education is and will ever be a power, the power to survive, reaching criticism and sort of independence, especially for females n countries like Myanmar. The monk was approving with “If you come back, whenever that is, in the future, you are always welcome, we will remember you.” I am sure he is acting that script to everyone leaving the monastry, or maybe that words caused by the donation. But i felt quite pretty well up there, on the hilltop, with an amazing view over paddy fields and the mountain area at the horizon. And they still service a very important work. Taking care of the lost and forgotten. Sometimes they get money from the military, “but only when a general is visiting and then as a gift”. Kind of like that image of autonomy, even if this is for sure not the whole truth, the truth about religion, or the lies about.
I was glad to reached the hotel at the evening. Just because of the worst motorbike (adorned with a swastika and an iron-cross patch on the front – “Yes, it`s about Hitler.”) trip until today, i had to drive, James don´t like to, he is more in cycling, exercising. Hippie agent.

Myeik has the potential to develop a hotspot, for trekking, diving or just relaxing in the new Venice of Southeast Asia, with it´s marvelous surrounding and islands, resting like an excess breasted mermaid near the coast. I don´t know what i am hoping for. For the locals tourism is the exit of poverty, but not for all of them, mainly not for the poor. It´s possible to book a diving trip today, from Thailand, crossing the border for the trip. Money sinks in the suits of the military gouvernment, to keep them floating on the top.

Nobody asks you in Myanmar about the issue of your travel, of course you are a tourist, modern colonialism has just begun and so hasn´t reached the rural areas yet.

massive

About the ups and downs of traveling by your own and your companion, the wandering ego.

After four days Yangon, listening to other travelers talking about going up north, to Bagan, Mandalay or Inle Lake, my ambitious efforts of trying different, exploring in a diverse way, were activated and dragged me down, down in Dawei.
Even though as i was asked, kept telling that i don´t think there is an drastic difference about South or North, in Myanmar life is still most authentic, all around, 9 years ago, South or North. No 711 or McDonalds, until today. And to find an english menue could be as itself an adventure, end up drawing crossed pigs, chickens and fishes.

Arrived in Myanmar with about 700 Dollars, which is quite a lot, but to feel on the bright side of moving not enough. I was glad about the accepted foreign currencies and ATM situation, working very well, so i could withdraw Kyat. Paying with cards is still a mission, haven´t found a place saving tickets on credit. Buying tickets, traveling around Myanmar still is bothering your cash pocket. Deciding to go down South, recognizing that i will have to fly, so choosing the most expensive way of traveling from to, was kind of taking a risk, flying in the face of fate. I tried hard, but at this time, maybe because of low-season or other permission battles between the provinces, there was no way to get south by boat or bus as a foreigner, not by traveling on my own. Instead of enjoying the spectacular views from the bouncing bus, ripping of my spine and talking to locals on or between or under whatever they are trucking, i flew. How boring. How unspectacular. But as i said, my ambition was inflamed, accessorily forced by so called foreign journalists i talked to staying in Yangon for months now and never went around the country, but waiting for their big goal, engaged by BBC for a story to write about, buddhists against muslims, weather casts or the endless traffic jams. Didn´t try to write, about or just write by their own. What´s that kind of passion called for a profession or country, in which they are seemed to be so enthusiastic to stay? Even the expeds i talked to, the didn´t want to get me involved in their business plans, visions, whatever. I don´t think they want to open an orphanage, rising education or work against poverty. However.
So, departured at 7 a.m., arrived at 8.15 a.m., on the shabby molding room with two beds, no bathroom and an aircon which was chattering like a broken refrigerator ship on an ancient locomotive or contrary. This hotel has seen it´s best royal days. But not the pricing. Outside it was pouring. Rain seems to be an eternal legion of nails, gravitated to a hidden monstrous magnet, covered by earth. Myriads of impacts. The floor was festering rust-colored kind of a – but for sure it was liquid, dropping on my laptop. I felt so cheated, by myself, like a greenhorn. By my motivations to leave the beaten tracks. Traveling by your own means to decide every step without a critical voice, teaching you different, no votes, no voting, just corrupting yourself.
I had a perfect room back in Yangon, could have choosen the bus, which is possible up north, to Inle Lake. Must be a paradise of a scenery, hanging around in a hammock, satisfied by marvelous trekks. Or why left Koh Phangan at all, i was so in peace there. What is my travel about, being happy or pissed, or is it kind of both. Saving money of course always means accepting umcomfortable stays. I was blaspheming. So angry about my narcism, again, about my imagination of my own, my state of mind, me the traveler and no i, just myself. What i am going to do now, right here, where nothing is, just roads, locals, daily life. No hammocks, no peace, steaming dirty roads, burmese starring at me, never seen maybe such a white guy in natura. – I expected that, that is what traveling down South was about. After a couple of meters down the road i felt like an in town arriving bizarre traveling circus. And taking pictures of them felt nor bizarre at all. They were taking pictures with their mobile phones as well.
Nailing, still. Lost orientation. No map at the hotel, no map at all, i am not pretty sure that there are street names or something similar, the streets are near similar to a road. Sat down under a porch plastic-plane at the opposite of a phagoda. Thought it was a food stall. Hungry, only hungry and fuckin sleepy. After less then minutes i was circled by the whole family, counted 16 with children, kids and babys. We talked with hands and feets, it was amazing, their interests about my appearance. I wasn´t interested at all. Doesn´t sound as good as “Oh, i was soooo impressed, thinking, that this is all about in life, so awesome to get in touch with locals such in an intimitate way. I mean i stayed at their house, that was WOW! Thank you mom and dad.” What life? What hapiness? The family is fucking poor, they survive from hand into mouth, they are of course happy, now, because something different happens and the reason why is, that Myanmar opens more and more their gates, gates to a dream of money and a healthcare system, better roads, espacially the roads. What is for travelers a kind of trip in a pleasure ground is for them a pain in the ass, spine every day. After about one hour i left their home. And of course i felt better, another story on my flash card and another to tell. Is this what´s all about? Really? How sad. What a destructive way of being on the road, for the road and the wanderer. I passed a part of the countryside. Smiling, always smiling, not double-minded, but so many smiles, my heart gets beaten to a knocked over buffalo turd. And why smiling? They suffer hunger and sickness. The houses are still wooden, traditional, but i suppose without doubt, they would move unhesitatingly in one of the proper houses, not flooded or sinking in dumb. I wasn´t shooting them, just took snapshoots. Shooting smiling poverty? What´s that picture for, feeling better back in Europe? We have money, they have luck? Both doesn´t exist, but rules our life like fugacity.

Arrived back at the hotel at sunset. Taking a cold shower and getting dressed in dry clothes. Made myself comfortable in the kind of a lobby. Smoking, drinking Myanmar, watching HBO, without Ton, the nails still noising. – Thinking about nothing. And at one point, i just felt very satisfied, nearly happy, to be here, at this place, staying at that blast of an hotel and watching TV, alone in the lobby, listening to the rain. The rain of my Up.

authentic

Can´t ditch that picture out of my head. A women, mother of two kids, babys, sitting on a wacky stony island located in a ropy sea of sludge – part of the sidewalk of Yangon. Most of is under construction and i suppose will be forever, in a more or less way. Chapped, scattered, flooded, covered by mudd or just not existing. Advicing not to do the Hans-guck-in-die-Luft. The mother down in the muddy ground, her head, elflock dark grey blast, between her knees, pulled to her chest, face left in gloom of shame and desperate distress. Maybe her only reason to keep herself alive are the twins, lying beside her on a dirty straw mat, half-naked, the other half covered with dirt. On their back, at first i thought she is selling dolls. They are barely not moving. I don´t know why they are presented like that, the mother even didn´t beg. Maybe hoping if she would arise her head again, the babys are gone, captured, salvaged and she could lay back, under the ground, sinking in peace and redemption. Watching didn´t made me angry at all, i wasn´t cursing injustice, knowing that i am part of the witness stand. It just filled me up with so much sadness. Walked away, felt sick. Nearly puked. Started crying, giving the next trembling begging hand my pocket money, just because i didn´t knew how to save that picture.

French ruined influence all around covered by shiny sated green. At the port, indians sitting on the ground of a darkened shop floor, surrounded by towers of printed papers, the tommorrow´s issue of the Myanmar News, folding and assembling. Shirts with a silhouette of a Third Reich architecture, adorned by swastika flags. “Very good quality, my friend.” Early morning march of monks picking up food donations house by house. The sweatened tea. Halleluja! Longyjs, for everybody! And not less umbrellas. And last but… Kun-ya painting the town red.

Yangon is the most authentic place in Southeast Asia i have been so far. Even though you feel the pressure of change, of investment, of tourism and foreign interests. This country will develop in the next months, maybe years, but for sure a lot, and on high-speed.
People are facing me friendly, with a smile, not that kind of professional business smile. More interested, surprised, still untouched. Hope they won´t offer that to capitalism, until now named democratic.