En Route Myanmar Sept 2014: Kyaiktiyo

Mario the Burmese boy

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (jaik tee yo) also known as Golden Rock)

is a well-known Buddhist pilgrimage site in Mon State, Myanmar
(source: wiki)

arrived in the noon. the sun was crazy hot. and i was hungry. okie lets talk about the journey there first, so the Burmese lady beside me could tell i was foreigner. and with her limited english she asked when i am from.

as of Mawlamyine i have already been adopting a pseudo Thai nationality.

Two reasons. 1 – some burmese can speak thai and it will be very useful if i need help in directions etc.
2- identifying myself as a singaporean makes me feel too ‘rich’ and i didnt like that.

and this thing i really really really appreciate and love about Thais and Burmese is that..  if you ask local A something and A doesnt know, A will ask B. if B doesnt know B will ask C.  until you feel paiseh and say nvm or until they find someone who can help.

this is something i long to see in singapore one day. and yes i have been practising what i preach. =]

so when the lady beside me knew i was Thai she sorta asked two or three other passengers if anyone could speak thai. and wow one uncle on the next row speaks Thai! so both of them took great care of me the entire 4 hours. anyway, pit stop. toilet break

the tiny walk way to the cubicle

this thing that was on my mind, on many people’s mind.. is that.. many of them are so poor.. some of them live right beside rubbish dumps.. but look at their temples..

they have golden temples everywhere… hmmmmmmmmmm…… at this place i saw a seng pao (ice popsicles) uncle. the conversation was similar

“hello where you from”
“thailand”
“oh thailand. sawadee krap”
“mingalabar”

what came after happens frequently too (for this trip)

“hello. you buy?”
“no thank you. =]”
“for you, present”

so after rejecting politely, the uncle decided to give me instead. (i was more worried about the water they used for making la) then when he said he gives me as present, i was a bit paiseh also so i say i buy. but he stillll gave me one more. “present, present” so i had two pops. and i gave one to the Burmese lady beside me. happiness is really about sharing isnt it?

arrived kinpun and had to take a motorbike to Kyaiktiyo. so the thai uncle on bus alighted with me to help me get a motorbike and told the driver where exactly to take me to and kept assuaring me to “ไม่ต้องห่วง” (not to worry) so nice of him =]
the ride took about 30 mins. i was kinda exhausted by then. plus the sun and lack of sugar/sodium.

arrived GH, got a room… i could have taken the cheaper room but after being in the tiny cell for two nights, all i want is some comfort.. so i took a bigger room. had lunch.. not much appetite and i could feel i was falling sick.. or perhaps just needed a gooooooood sleep.. but i had to get to the golden rock before i miss the last truck down..

boarded the big truck up.

see how narrow the seats are!

had to squeeze in this truck for 45 mins!!! met 3 thais who were on their way up too! i spoke to them in thai and they invited me to join them! oh how i love the warm and friendly people!! and why would i turn down any opportunity to speak thai? hee hee hee

anyway the truck veh irritating. they say one hour depart once. then i went up the truck at 2pm. wait wait wait wait wait wait wait until 2.40 then depart cuz waiting to fill the seats. and it was so warm, no wind and very suffocating i almost wanted to puke.

finally depart.. WIND YES. felt much better.
oh. did i mention that dogs in myanmar are are all soooo skinny… Mawlamyine16
see liao v sad.. after 45mins of turning bending saw-toothing… finally arrived.. and wah lau must pay this pay that.

my new thai friends decided to stay at the hotel up there 150USD/night. and invited me to join them (and said i didnt have to pay) they was worried i would be lonely and not so safe alone. but i rejected their kindness la. my barangs all at the foot of the mountain. anyhow, we went up the temple together.

and this Burmese boy, Mario (named after Mario Maurer?? 555), followed us around. he could speak very good thai. like a thai. and he acted as a ‘guide’.

P’ Nan

P’ Som

P’ Katua

pigu ;p

okie photo gallery now.  

How Majestic….

women are not allowed inside

it was here then i remembered i brought some little toys along and took them out, gave them to some young children. they were thrilled!

gave two to Mario because he has 7 siblings at home!

i sat there, enjoying the peace and serenity. i felt thankful too. for all the good things that happened to me. for all the good people i met, all the good sunsets i watched, all the good moments…

spot me at the bottom?

someone who has been here told me it’s a place i can witness the entire life of a Burmese.. i guess that’s true.. in that short 90 minutes, i saw babies in the arms of their mothers, toddlers losing their balance, little children learning to observe silence, teens carrying bricks up, old people sitting around, selling things..  people praying, people working, people playing…

their devotion is gold.

always enjoying a round of chinlone..

oh the wind was so strong up there and i was freeeeeezing!!!

wpid-1413517169358.jpg

the sun was about to set and i had to take the last truck down..

while waiting for the truck, i realised i didnt have enough money to pay for the trip down (left most of my money in the GH) so this other uncle who heard me speaking Thai helped to tell the driver that i will pay when i get back. they were okay with that.

(my parents were right when they told me Language is one of the most useful things to learn. and never said no whenever i wanted to pick up a new language. but i guess it was all along in me to be interested in languages =D)

and so i said bye bye to my 3 new thai friends and arranged to meet the next morning. while waiting for the truck to leave i saw a group of people playing chinlone.. and… it reminded me of someone. so i decided to be ‘closer to someone’ by playing the game.

dont ask why blurry!!!!

i couldnt play as well of course. but they were very patient and so excited in showing me and teaching me. i was a burden la. 555

Team Golden Rock!!!

the truck started engine, i said bye to my ‘team mates’ and smiled. i ‘played’ chinlone! 5 minutes after the truck left the peak, it started POURING LIKE SIAO. poncho also useless. that was ONE MOMENT of relief and worried.

relieved i brought my DSC_8256feelfree drybag backpack. the blue one. it has the roll roll roll and clip function of the normal dry bag on the  inside. the camera is inside. confirm safe.

worried…

my raincoat wasnt exactly a ‘raincoat’. it  was good for drizzle. but not a downpour like what i was experiencing. the driver speed. i was at the back. non-sheltered. the wind, the rain. and it didnt stop.  for 30 over minutes. i knew i was falling sick..it didnt help.

30 minutes later, i was drenched. soaking wet. my shoes were wet, my socks were wet,  my pants my two laters of top, my underwear, my hair… everything. all drenched. the  only things that remained dry were whatever inside the drybag.

i was so down… i was hungry.. i was cold.. i was feeling sick.. and i was all alone… arrived the foot. ran back to my GH. asked for hot water. (i brought a pack of Yuzu tea.  saviour!)

quickly took my shower but was welcomed by this…

you see the fat spider and the ants?

the room was filled with ants, little flies,  spider that grew fat within 5 hours… it all just didnt help. i turned on the shower tap.. fk.  the water pressure was PATHETIC. unless i switch off the heater. WHAT IS THIS!!!!!!!!!!!

i got more depressed. i took my shower, ignoring the X number of lizards above me.. fat lizards. and the army of ants all around…

i wanted to cry. done with shower, washed the clothes, came out and realised 3 out of 4 of the lights in my room wasnt working!!

nooooooooooo WHY LIKE THAT!!!!!!!!!!!

dried myself a little. i wasnt hungry. but i need to eat. i need hot food. i need internet. i need someone.

there was no wifi in the room. and no wifi at the lobby. i had to walk to the truck station for wifi. WTFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

so i went for food. took less than 3 bites and left. it was still raining. went back to the truck station.

no lights. there were about 8-9 teenage boys. basically it was the kind of situation people will ‘avoid’. especially ‘a girl alone’. but i was in Myanmar… true there will still be bad people. but there are more than enough good people to come to my rescue and burmese will not harm tourists. (99% of them will not). and i needed comfort…

so i didnt think twice. sat down, logged on to wifi and did some messaging.. but the reception was bad.. and i couldnt do much…  and i felt my body giving way. body aching, feverish… so i went back to my gh..

and just before i stepped in, i SLIPPED AND FELL. a cut on my knee. bleed. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i really really wanted to cry. but i still didnt. back in bed..

first time lying on the bed. WOAH really is you gou sway (very unlucky). the bed was soft like fk. machiam a WHOLE DURIAN on a pandan cake.

i couldnt even rest in comfort and there were lizard droppings on the pillow.. and MORE ANTS crawling on the wall. NOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

i was so afraid i would wake up to realised the ants had moved the whole room away..

i cried.. ‘i want mommyyyyyyyyy…’
and stomp my feet weakily on the soft mattress.
i cried. and hugged my blue elephant… 

i guess the trip has finally taken its toll on me. but i am not that vulnerable.. so what was causing me to get emotional? i guess it was just a little childish tantrum..

but the night went really really really really slow. the bed was so bad i kept waking up every 15-30 minutes.. it was only until 5am that i finally found the best position and slept… continuously for 2 hours..

woke up at 7. feeling lethargic.. had no energy to pack my barang. no appetite for food. dragged my feet out to get some hot tea.. almost had to crawl back. didnt dare to buy medicine i am unfamiliar with….

took 2 hours to get everything inside my backpacks. then went to the truck station to wait for the three of them. seeing them made me feel so much better instantly. and they had what i needed!!! Medicine with THAI WRITING 555

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

took the med and felt better. wonder if it’s a psychological thing.

then we took the bus and headed north. they were heading Bago and i was going Yangon…

at the pit stop

photo from them

soon after this, they alighted and we promised to stay in touch. and even up till today they are still constantly reminding me to tell them when i go thailand. they will show me around their place… once again, touched by angels.. Kyaiktiyo… you were so majestic.. but you were so naughty… =[


Expenditure

Day 1
Toilet – 100k
ice pops – 100k
motorbike from Kinpun – 3000k
room – 15USD
lunch – 2300k
truck up to and fro Golden rock  – 5000k
Golden Rock entrance – 6000k
dinner – 1800k
Total : 33USD

Day 2
Bus ticket to Yangon – 8000k
La’pay’ee – 300k
Total: 8USD

TOTAL EXPENDITURE FOR KYAIKTIYO: 38USD/~50SGD


Next up, my confusing arrival at Yangon, where i also met up again with the very nice malaysian business big bro (whom i met at taungyi vineyard, almost puked and strayed from ‘budget’ travelling.

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till then,
T.