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.