The guy sitting smiling is staring at my sleeveless shirt, screening my tattoos, pleased. The kid next to him looks at me like my arms are carved out of gold.
“Tattoos are symbols of the Gods” the old Chinese man says “that means you are strong, and powerful”.
Indeed I am. Well, we all are. After a 2 hours night sleep on the benches of Bangkok’s airport, we still have the strength to set out at 1 pm after a quick sleepie and a shower to meet up with Khine Soe, local tour promoter and eclectic couchsurfer.Burma is made of the same materials the dreams are, and this is clear as soon as you step out of the airport gates, a monumental, kitsch, imposing structure of concrete and glass resembling the palace of an ancient ruling dynasty. It’s so hot it’s difficult to breathe, and the sun hurts. People are very dark, some black, some fairier skinned, but it’s clear we are standing in a country wedged in between the southern and the south eastern Asian countries, standing by itself as a rare reflection of a dream. You can smell it in the air, something still has to get around here, and the problem is, I can’t identify if it’s a good or a bad thing. As incredible as it may sounds, here it comes a long haired guy in a Korn t shirt, and next to him, an older man wrapped up in a longji, probably without wearing any underwear. I feel like we left South east Asia and Bangkok one thousand miles behind, and probably 50 or 60 years, too.
We met Matteo queuing up for the Airasia flight to Yangon, we knew we would have met there, or later after the check in gates. He met me through the Tripforum, and he wanted to come and visit us in Malaysia but when I told him we had planned to visit Myanmar he decided to tag along for the adventure, so here we are, standing in the middle of a strange human parade, like men coming from an upcoming far away future back into a Land of Golden Stupas and dream weavers and story tellers.
Burma is like an opium induced dream, it seems too good to be true. The sun is shining so hard that people smiles seem translucent. We are staying at Motherland Inn 2, a pretty popular choice because they organize free airport pick ups, saving you a few bucks, and here we are, along with a few other travellers, on a Japanese bus from the 70s that mutters and sputters like this was its last ride on Earth.
It’s popular to find everything other countries don’t want to be perfectly functioning here in Myanmar, like able to rejuvenate older things and make them function perfectly in here. Again, as I said, some sort of a dreamscape.
Khine, a very amable talker and thinker, takes us to the Central Market where we can exchange American dollar for kyat, the local currency. The rates are low, are getting lower and lower every day they say, so we get 1000 kyat for a dollar… not really good, but we have no other choice since the “Junta Quote” is 6 kyat against a dollar. Awesome.
Myanmar is not a very cheap country, by all means. It seems to be, but it’s not. Anyways, this is not the point, for one time I feel like every extra dollar I spend, it’s spent for a good cause.
I am not saying that Myanmar is getting touristy, because it’s not, but generally prices are not cheap for anyone, and probably for the fact I slept so much, I waste a couple dollars putting them in places I shouldn’t. Well, I’ll be more careful in the next few days.
TO BE CONTINUED