Going to Myanmar seemed quite an adventure. I plied for the Visa in Hong Kong and was grilled by the Visa officer for some time why I wanted to go there, what my intentions where and so on. To cut a long story short – I did get the Visa without any problem.
So I took a flight with Singapore airlines towards Yangoon. In planning my trip ahead I thought I was very clever. I intended to arrive in Yangoon, taking a bus ride towards the north to Mandalay. From there to Bagan, than to Inle lake – which is closer to Yangoon again – and than back to Yangoon and back to Hong Kong. As you might see in the story forthcoming I was wrong in some ways. But I don’t want to go ahead to far, you’ll see.
So, off I go to Yangoon….
The airport door opens and I am welcomed by rain, fog and a peculiar herb scent. At the entrance I’m greeted by a bunch of Taxi pick-ups shouting like crazy to get my attention and most probably my hard earned money. All of them seem way too expensive and I just ignore them and intend to get my bearings first and my be find out where the bus station to Mandalay might be found. Yangoon in early morning is still strangely dark and quiet.
A car stops and asks where I am heading. I am surprised as he speaks quite well English and tell him that I try to find the bus station where buses leave for Mandalay. He tells me that he is going nearby the station and can take me there – without any payment. Without any payment – is there a catch? I’m puzzled and not sure if I understand correctly. Nevertheless as it is not in walking distance I take my chances and hop in the car and the Myanmar adventure really starts.
I grin at him, get a smile back, and we are in the hectic early morning traffic going to the bus station. It is still raining and at least I’m dry. He tells me, that he had studied in California, which explains his good English language skills and as he passes by the airport every morning he likes to pick up foreigners as to practice his English and not to forget it.