Yes we finally made it out of Yangon woohoo! And alls I can say is its wonderful!! But firsts thing first....I should tell you about the hellish bus ride here...
We knew the bus departed at 3pm from a bus station that is an hours drive away. So we went there early (1pm) to buy our ticket. The bus station is like a mini village. It is huge and the taxi driver had to pay just to enter the place. As soon as we drove in I knew this place was going to be a nightmare. It was so busy with buses everywhere and rows and rows of ticketing stands. Add to that hundreds of men milling about try to rip off any tourists that might happen to arrive. Of course for months no tourists have been arriving...so when they see us they zone straight in. The men grab hold of any part of the car they carn and run with it in case they should happen to lose their meal ticket. This sets us on edge straight away. We know that these men are just touts. They will ask where we want to go...take us to the right stand...and then we will get charged more for our ticket as it now has to include his commission for taking us to the place we were always going to go. We try to avoid telling anyone anything but this place is so huge and everything is written in burmese that we have to ask for help or else we'd still be looking. Sure enough when we get to the bu stand the ticket is 20,000 kyat. We know that is not the right price but they guy behind the desk says take it or leave it...the cheek of him! I say leave it and we walk out. Again we are swarmed and someone else leads us to another stand. Here the price is 18,000 kyat. That is still high but more like it. We go to book a seat and they tell us that the bus is full and we would be sitting in the aisle! $18 usd EACH to sit in the aisle....I don't think so. The locals would be paying MAX 6,500 kyat so there is no way I am going to pay nearly triple the price to sit in the aisle. I cannot believe they even had the cheek to suggest it. I flounce out the stand and am all set to catch a taxi back to Yangon. Lesh finds it funny and is staying on the happy and positive side of things as usual. I on the other hand am giving every tout an evil glare and saying not so quietly how I hate how this country thinks it has the god damn right to rip off anyone they think has money. For that reason I am being an awkward cow and refusing to have anything to do with these people. Lesh stays cool and goes off to buy the 20,000 kyat ticket which infuria t es me but he says its the only thing we can do. The people behind the desk look smug as hell, so they get constant evils from me too and with that we go off to try and find food and to kill an hour before we have to be back at the bus. Lesh has a few beers and some fried rice. I have a sulk and a few mouthfulls of fried rice and i talk about how I can't wait to leave this country.
When we load onto the bus I am sat behind the only woman who has her seat fully reclined. It can't put me in an even worse mood - cos I was expecting it....so she jut gets a couple of knees in her back for 17 hours. The bus has a tv and dvd player which plays meditation music for an hour or so which calms me down a little bit. Then it plays hours of crappy burmese slapstick comedy which the locals find hilarious which I believe you just need the brain capacity of a 6 month old to find amusing. Lesh bought a rip off dvd of some english films which the driver said he would play at night time ie after midnight when everyone else is asleep. I busy myself with my mp3 player and looking out the window. The road is in terrible condition and it is so bumpy. The roads are narrow and we have to negotiate with on coming lorries and buses the whole way. At 8pm we stop for dinner in a dodgy looking café in the middle of nowhere. Lesh braves some mutton curry but I stick to just some fried egg and veggies with white rice. Back on the bus we ask the driver to play our dvd and he just nods and then carries on playing the burmese rubbish. Finally he put on our dvd. Its a multi film disc and we specifically toldhim like 20 times we wanted the film 300 which is half way through the disc. Of course he totally ignores us and plays the first film which is Harry Potter which puts even Lesh in a bad mood. He hates Harry Potter and to think we waited for hours for this. Its impossible to get to the front of the bus to tell him to change it and it doesn't matter anyway as he h e' s turned the sound so low that we can't hear it anyway....of course the burmese crap was on mega loud so that I could hear it even with my MP3 player on full blast. We play scrabble instead and ignore the film and Lesh goes in an even worse mood when I whop his butt 2 games in a row. With that he goes off to sleep and I am left wondering how I will amuse myself. After an hour of playing solitare and decide I might be quite sleepy and I try and get comfy on my seat.
Amazingly I sleep till 3am which is when the bus makes a scheduled pit stop. We think there is only 3 hours left to go on the journey but in fact there is another 5 hours left to go. We snooze for the next 5 hours but once it gets light its quite hard to sleep. Its wonderful to look out of the window at the scenery. Its a whole different world to Yangon and it is so beautiful. The area is vast areas of sandy plains but with trees everywhere?! I have no idea how trees survive in sandy plains but they do. It is such a contrast the gold and the green. And its fabulous to see no cars, no dirty streets, no people.....just open space. Already I am feeling excited that we are out of the city. I know it was aweful to get here but it was worth it and I haven't even seen the main event yet!