Arriving in Seattle with $26, So I took my Guitar Clubbing!

Stumbling into a taxi early hours of the morning, we made our way to the Greyhound terminal, we began the battle of our luggage once again and eventually fell into our seats. On route for Seattle we had 4 more days of travelling before we flew into our destination of Calgary, where our already paid accommodation awaited, I wondered how many dollars I had to play with in Seattle. Shannon and I check our bank accounts.. $26 in mine.. $87 in hers.. and so began our creativeness of not only survive in Seattle, but doing it in style.
Checking all international bank accounts I found some Malaysian Ringgit equaling $17.51 USD, like all sane people do we made a shopping list to ensure we had food for the next 4 days.. like all insane people we made sure vodka was the top of that list.
Checking back into another Green Tortoise Hostel, the cold had finally made itself aware, a balmy 2 degrees was a little different to the beautiful west coast temps we had been experiencing. A visit to the grocery store we had pasta, potatoes, cheese, apples, broccoli and fake chicken. Oh and of course Vodka. We had carefully planned our trip to coincide with the nights the hostel offers free dinner, one of the many reasons I always stay with Green Tortoise. When choosing accommodation to stay I always look for its location and what the hostel offers; check for things like wifi, complimentary breakfast, free airport transfers and in this case free dinner, you’ll be surprised at how much money it saves you.
For the first time during the trip Shan and I actually had to sit down and look at money. We’ve never been a pair to care much about money or let it dictate us but we also knew we had an airport transfer that was going to cost us about $40. Scrambling together the smallest amounts of Australian dollars we found in our backpacks we managed to salvage another $50 USD. We found the whole situation quite hilarious and reached tears of laughter when Shannon said,’ I’ve just realised, I’m homeless, jobless, broke and don’t have a visa for the country we are entering in 4 days.’
We were determined to still party our nights away even with our clear lack of funds. Our resourcefulness came into play, we got dressed for the night, found out where the hot spots are and took my guitar clubbing with us. Our Idea was to busk on the busy streets to make enough money to buy some drinks out, however it seemed that curiosity killed the cat that night. I had barely sung a few lines when I’m guessing our accents were heard and locals stopped to see what we were doing. They listened to our comical story and in return offered to buy us a drink and show us their favourite local bar. Now the rule always stands to be wary of strangers, but when you’re travelling abroad you can be more open to new friends, always be weary, and usually never alone, let someone know where you going if you can. So began the night my Guitar went clubbing with me, as you can imagine wearing a guitar on your back like a backpack draws quite a bit of attention to you, and as the questions came about, we retold our story and offers for drinks kept coming. Hours into the night, we had made a whole bunch of new friends, were feeling less on the sober side of things and had even heard about a few local secrets to try and see whilst we were here. There aren’t many materialistic things in this world that I care about, however my guitar is one of those, and after sinking a good deal of ciders I decided it was time for my guitar to go home.
Some hostels offer free towels to use which is a major win, do you realise how much room a towel takes up in a bag?! At Green Tortoise it’s $2. In San Fran, the babe behind the counter just winked and handed them to us, however we didn’t have such luck in Seattle.. normally we’d just pay, but we just didn’t have it! So our life know resorted to sneaking into hostel cupboards to find towels.
We were forced to get up early to get the free breakfast, we usually didn’t make it out of bed in time in San Fran, but if we didn’t get up here we just weren’t eating. We began they day greeted by a dusting of snow whilst we perched in a coffee shop. (Shan and I are so ridiculous that we put wine and coffee before food) As I’ve spoken about before, when you’re travelling you have to find your home away from home, starting the day with a cup of coffee usually strays away homesick thoughts for me. We looked at a map for some parks we could wander to and find some prime photo opportunities, as we didn’t have much money, we were perfectly happy wandering around this windy city talking about lovers and what ifs, values and happiness, independence and loneliness and all silly things, sometimes just agreeing to disagree.
We didn’t have much of a plan for Seattle about from visiting the Space Needle and Chihuly Gardens; the glass blowing gallery that we were told about from Shan’s ‘kiss and run’ in San Fran. We walked blocks upon blocks looking for strange lighting, reflections and trams to play with some aperture settings on our camera, we talked to homeless and watched some street music, taking in the life of Seattle. Back to the hostel and we cooked up our staples and drank our vodka, talking to travelers, I actually ended up meeting a guy that worked at Lake Louise for the season and made my bagels every morning!
We floated around and Shan went on the look for some green again, and sure enough in a state where it’s legal it wasn’t hard to find, in fact it wasn’t hard to find jars upon jars of it. I stayed away from it, I’ve learnt from the last few years that if I’ve been drinking, never to mix the two, it doesn’t end well for me… so a few extra drinks would just have to do.
The following day we meandered through the famers markets, picking at samples of fruits and nuts and pretending fully that we were interested in buying chocolate flavoured pasta so that the sales assistant would continue to load us up with samples. We climbed down to piers and loitered watching the ferries and looking out at the snow covered mountain tops. We had planned the to visit Chihuly gardens and the Space Needle and were attempting to avoid the busy period and catch the afternoon visiting times. I also wanted to try be on top of the top of the needle for sunset. You can purchase packages with ticket’s for both these attractions (we had to get some money transferred to see these).
The following morning we rose early to make a journey to the airport, all was going fine… Until I realized I had calculated the whole morning incorrectly and we should have been at the airport 30 mins ago! We grabbed all our stuff and raced down to the street and tried to hail a taxi- the hardest place I’ve ever tried to hail a taxi. We jumped in front of empty ones but apparently they were booked, we tried to call a larger one to fit both our bags in but APARENTLY there are no larger taxis, in Seattle- no maxi’s, no wagon’s, just the standard sedan. We had a driver try his best to fit us in and he couldn’t do it, time was ticking away we had been trying for 20mins to hail a taxi – I was getting to the point where I thought we were going to have to catch a taxi each to fit our board bag in! Finally one last attempt and we got a car that could put the seats down and could squeeze everything in, we told him of our urgency and he raced his away. I was nervous I knew that check in wasn’t too far away from closing… we hit traffic.. oh no… there was nothing I could. Just ride the wave… Finally we made it to the airport- racing around we found a staff member to push us to the front.. we made check in by minutes! We had made it to the final leg of the journey, I had waited a long 8 months to return to Canada, to return to see my friends, to return to another home. And we boarded the last flight for these travels.
Advertisements

Once upon a time, there was a town called Portland, It lived in a land called Oregon.

Crawling into the shuttle bus in the early hours of the morning, the sun hadn’t even begun its rise. We had one other pick up on the way, after the driver found himself a little lost and running a few red lights, we found a man that I’m sure was Edward Scissorhand’s Brother. He had wire coiled around his hair, almost tentacle like, he surely admired Davy Jones, Zoidberg and Lekku, he carried only a brief case. I still to this day have no idea how he gets through airport security, his hair tentacles definitely do not look easily removable.
Arriving at San Fransisco airport; Portland bound, I pulled out my Travel Folder, the only thing that I ever in my life have organised. As we check in, the sales assistant tries to charge us an extra few hundred dollars for the excess board bags that we had already paid for. It was 7am in the morning, I’d been drinking to early hours of the morning with barely any sleep, much like the rest of my week.
‘Can I speak to your manager please’ I’d never actually heard these words come out of my mouth, It’s usually Goosey that’s in charge. This was the defining point that I knew I could do it all own my own. You learn a whole new confidence in yourself when there is no one left to rely on, it’s incredibly empowering. One thing I’ve learnt from working in Guest Services is the general sales assistant cannot overrule anything, there is absolutely no point getting angry at them, nor anyone else behind the desk. If the manager is going to make exception for you, it’s because you’ve shown them kindness and understanding, not because you’ve yelled profanities at them for the last 20 minutes.
After an intense security screening, (San Francisco has one of the highest security processes in the world) and Shannon freaking out a little, (she had indulged in smoking San Francisco’s finest and was worried about a few loose leaves) we were on our way to Portland.
Portland is like walking into James and the Giant Peach, except pumpkins! Tiny little insects lacing the emerald fauna along the pathways, it’s sure to remind you of this childhood story. The beauty of Portland is everything is spread out, there isn’t really one place to find all you need, Portland requires exploring. We had been recommended by other travellers to Stay in McMenamins White Eagle Saloon; a quirky, haunted rock ‘n’ roll hotels- This will set you back approx. $65 USD p/n. The bounteous oak bar downstairs serves McMenamins’ handcrafted beverages, with live music nightly. The walls are swimming with hand written stories and pictures throughout the entire hotel, definitely worth the stay for a peculiar Portland experience, not to mention the amazing handcrafted cider! (that the owners insisted we tried at 10am)
The more I Travel, the more I discover about myself and the more open my mind is. You will notice in the story of my adventures, my idea of travel has changed vastly. I wish I knew when I was in Portland about the amazing hiking opportunities, but at the time it just wasn’t something my brain related to travelling in Portland, I guess I’ll just have to go back again!
This was my first time to Portland, I would be lying if I didn’t tell you what originally caught my attention was Portland’s craft beer. I had solely started researching this beautiful place because of the food and drink of this city. A city of so much soul, it warms you on even the coolest of days; shades of orange and yellows that your eyes had never seen, the most beautiful browns which hide specs of green. It was the most perfect definition of fall, the most idealistic day to huddle in coffee shops and read poetry in Powell’s Bookstore. (I definitely bought too many books; adding weight to my already oversized luggage.)
We wandered our way to a bar called Bailey’s Tap room, we found this hidden gem by accident looking for another bar. This bar was tended by Seth Rogan’s doppelganger, I still to this day swear it was actually him; humour pairing with looks. His name was Scott, but we called him Seth, he became our favourite bartender in Portland, we returned a handful of times not just for his spectacular hosting but the mouth melting craft beer.  Definitely worth dropping in here, Scott was extremely helpful with recommendations of his favourite whiskey bars and a few of Portland’s hidden secrets, he honestly had us in fits of laughter with his banter. When the inevitable goodbye came around he left us with some goodies from the bar and a parting poem on a postcard.
‘There once was a man named Scott.
He looked a lot like a Seth, but acted like a Jester.
He wakes up late at night and Like to fester and pester.’
With Scott’s recommendations, we spent the day in rustic saloons tasting whiskeys and talking to quirky locals; each giving us their advice on ‘Must do’ in Portland. And with a handful of the same suggestion, we booked the best transvestite show in town!  DARCELLE XV was fantastic for a laugh, and the performers were hilariously interactive, however unfortunately Darcelle herself wasn’t there as she was home for the Thanksgiving period; nonetheless still worthwhile entertainment. Tickets are $20. Just next door to Darcelle’s is a donut store, ‘Voodoo donuts’ they are claimed to be Portland’s best donuts, I tried many attempts to visit this store but the line was always out the door and around the corner. So nonetheless I was unable to visit, but if you get a chance you should definitely stop in!
Which leads us to Thanksgiving, in our minds we thought we would quite easily stumble upon some pumpkin pie and ravel in this American Holiday. (Holiday; duhh Jade nobody works) I had never seen a city so silent and still, even on Christmas there’s still bustling in the streets, it was nice though, it meant the whole city was at home with their families. We received advice to look for a Chinese restaurant; their usually open for Thanksgiving, instead we found a Lebanese and ordered far too much food, although it was greatly needed. (we were feeling quite dusty after yesterdays full day of whiskey and beer tasting and last nights cocktails at Darcelle’s) We wandered the empty, wet, shiny roads taking silly pictures with anything that made us laugh, on the way we collected a few animals following, tried to pick up a pumpkin that was the size of a mini fridge and moved around a couch to create a roadside living room. (oh and of course it was a hair of the dog type of moment, so all this with ciders in hand) By the time night came around, our movements were little, we bought some tubs of Ben and Jerry’s, snacks for tomorrows greyhound, and not long after were out like a light. Our 72 hours in Portland had come to an end, this little magical land captured my heart so quickly, with bag’s packed ready for Seattle, I was already dreaming about my next Visit to Portland.

My First Solo Travels – Pro’s and Con’s.

So I’ve just landed in San Francisco, by myself. This is the first real solo trip I’ve done. I was ready, or I thought I was ready, are you ever really ready? I left Australia confident and fearless ready to dive in to the depths of the unknown, the depths of any darkness. However if someone had of told me how dark the next 6 months would be, I don’t think I would have recognised that shade of black. And if someone had of told me how much love I would feel, how much love I would loose and how much strength in pain I would gain; I wouldn’t speak that language.
 
I thought I wasn’t one to look for strength within another, or look for comfort in a temporary love. I realise now much I would chase some sort of relationship to convince myself of my worth. It’s not always a bad thing to want that, as long as you’re not hurting the other person, sometimes you just need someone to love you a little louder that day. Everyone falls weak and tumbles to selfishness when they are hurt, just learn from the mistakes that ache your subconscious and when presented with such dark pleasures again, remember the guilt that comes along with that choice, and maybe this time you’ll choose differently.
 
I fell in love in Kelowna, had my heart shattered at Castle Mountain, spent hours on Greyhounds to visit my Kelowna lover in Banff, only to fall in love with him all over again. I’ll share with you our secret snowy kisses and the way he made me feel invincible when the rest of my world was collapsing. I’ll tell you the amazing moments about falling in love abroad, I’ll tell you how you can’t fault such a lover at the time, it seems like you’ve fallen into your own Cinderella story. And as seasons change so do people, lovers turn pages and grow new leaves and I learnt the chest tightening pain of seasonal love, for all seasons have an expiry date.

When You Meet Someone Special Travelling.

I’ve fallen, I’ve fallen deep down the rabbit hole. The rabbit hole of silly kisses and hand holding, that wonderful, but sickening to all that are watching, place of goggling eyes and kisses on cheeks. I did not do climb down this hole, I did not move slowly, hell, I didn’t even know the hole was there. I tripped and plunged into the depths of this fairytale. And once again have found myself has Alice in her Wonderland.
The scariest thing about happiness though, is it has no limits in each direction and it has no issues in moving quickly to each side. It’s more addictive than cocaine, and makes you more irrational than a bottle of tequila.
Sometimes people appear in your life and by appear, I mean the world catapults them right at your chest and you never even had the chance to wonder, it’s always been a screaming yes.
His ‘hello’ became a ‘how are you’ and so then became dinner. And he’s ‘how are you’ soon seemed like a phrase I’d heard for years.
Sometimes forever is just a moment, an infinity within a season, time is only relevant to how you measure it.
The most alluring beauty of our greeting was within our first kiss, for our first kiss was greeted with a countdown of goodbye; as the world was calling us places. He swiftly brushed goodbye aside and grasped my hand instead and he whole heartedly dived to the depths of the ocean, instead of floating to the shoreline that was singing. We did not ignore the fact that the shoreline was drawing nearer, however we did not let it taint the depths we had time to plunge to. Darkness is often thought of as a terrible place; I love the darkness for you cannot see what is ahead. I could not see the most dazzling place that we were swimming right into.
The thing about being blind is it makes you curious. It makes you want to ask a thousand questions. But let me ask you this. Does any answer to these questions please you? Is there a particular answer you wish to hear? By knowing the answers to the questions does it make you any happier? I bet you don’t even know what you want the answer to be. So just swim, just dive, worry about the surface when it’s time to take a breath.
With him, I understand a language that I never learnt, we communicate without words, we know the answers to the questions that we haven’t asked. There is no certainty of time or places or spaces or lengths, I am not fearful for the what if’s or maybe’s or why’s for he is answer enough.
I know he’d never take away from me, and I would never change him. We are both two circles that are making a cylinder together rather than a 2D shape. We are both a whole circle that can give a little when the circle needs to be an oval for a while. I’ve always thought it silly to look for another piece to fix your broken shape. If you are broken, you must mend to become whole again, then you can swap parts to create patterns. If you use another person’s half circle to mend yourself, you will be torn apart again when the shape leaves or grows it’s own half or finds another half that maybe fits the puzzle a little better.
 I did not ask for him to arrive, I did not look or wait or wish and therefore happiness came and happiness was not missing when he was not there. If he was to leave I will not deny that he would also take some happiness with him, but he would not take it all.
I did not ask him to buy the ticket to the flight that I am on, that leaves in 2 weeks, but he did. And it makes my chest flutter from the happiness that came with that gesture. And you must be thinking ‘Well come on, do you really need to ask questions if he’s making such grand expressions?’ And my answer to you is a plane ticket isn’t a promise, this plane ticket extends our infinity for another month. You may collect the ticket stubs of the places you’ve been to with your lover, I prefer to share the stamps in our passports.
I am happy, I am intoxicated with ecstasy. He is him and I am me and together that works splendidly right now. Fear is only excitement without breath, so just breath. So here I welcome him to my world and to my adventures, and I introduce you to Rowan.

What to Pack When You’re Trying to Pack Light.

No matter how many times I pack and repack, and um and ahh my bag is never as light as I want it to be! And it makes it even harder when you’re relocating overseas for an extended period of time rather than backpacking. I’ve spent way to many hours in Canadian airports battling with the weight of my snowboard bag! Let me tell you of the tricks I’ve learnt about how to pack light.

 

  1. Take a Small Backpack as your Carry on Luggage

    If it doesn’t look like your bag is overflowing, and your bag is of a reasonable size then who is to think that it weighs 15kg?! My carry on baggage is ALWAYS overweight, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I was asked for it to be weighed. I travel with all my electronics, heavy, expensive and valuable items in my carry on (not to mention a spare change of clothes incase your checked in goes missing.) I also tactically pack my bag and place the things I will need on the flight (ipod, toothbrush etc) in side pockets or in their own little bag inside to prevent digging through luggage on the flight. (Remember that liquids under 100mls can be taken on board if they checked through security -Clear sandwich bags are really helpful to put these items in so you can pull them straight out. Also great for toothpaste and brush) And when the inevitable time comes where your checked in luggage is overweight – look for the heaviest items, I usually go for the shoes, and start squashing them in the carry on. You’ll be surprised at the desk attendant, they still won’t ask to weigh that bag- I’ve even tied shoes to the outside of the bag because there was no room and still nothing!

  2. Where Would you Wear the Item?

    It sounds silly but when you’re packing think of the entire outfit- don’t just throw in a nice shirt, later to find you have nothing to wear with it. Create outfits and then once you’ve done that- is there any that look quite similar? Get rid of it! Is there any that you would only wear once? Get rid of it! I know everyone wants to have that one nice set of clothes but where are you going? Realistically how many times will you wear it ? Is there another nice-ish item that you could dress up? Basic, plain items are great to dress up – I always travel with a large blanket sized scarf in my carry on- you be amazed how many uses you find for it! Not to mention it’s great to cover up when you’re entering temples and religious sights. Same goes for shoes – Aim for two, three at the most.

  3. Layering is Key

    Even if it’s your favorite coat, if it too heavy it can’t come. The only exception is if you wear it on EVERY flight. And trust me airports get hot! Invest in quality thermals that are light. Denim jackets; as much as they look great, they’re bulky, they don’t fold well and they’re really not that warm. Trust me, I took my denim jacket to Canada and wore it once in spring! Same goes with any pretty jacket that doesn’t offer much warmth –You’re going to have to put another jacket over top and then when you get inside you’re going to want to take it all off, so when do you even get to show off the pretty jacket?

     

  4. Shoes

    Do you really need them? Think about what you would wear them with and how often to you wear them normally. Also do they suit the climate you are going to? Rule of thumb, no more than three. I usually have one for hiking and pair of sandals if I’m on a trekking trip. If  I’m going to be wearing something nice I’ll take a pair of plain black boots- something versatile.

  5. Pack ahead of time and make a checklist.

    Don’t leave packing until the last minute, give yourself a few days to think about what you have packed. If you leave it until the last minute you’ll find yourself packing things ‘just in case’ rather than the necessities. If you make yourself a check list and realise you have 7 shirts and 2 pairs of pants, you may be able to remove a few shirts – especially if you know you have access to a laundry. By packing a few days in advance you may find yourself lying in bed when suddenly you realised you forgot to pack something important or you comes to terms with an item that you probably won’t need at all.

  6. Packing Cells

    I wish I knew about these earlier! All those bulky items that don’t fold so well- cram them in the packing sells and zip those bags, keep it nice and compact! They also double as great places to keep your dirty washing so they don’t touch your clean clothes!

  7. Roll Don’t Fold

    It does crease the clothing a little more but you can definitely fit a lot more in! Be sure to distribute the weight evenly with the heavier items as it does make carry your bag easier. Items such as socks and underwear – stuff those into your shoes, take advantage of every bit of space in your bag.

     

     

     

     

The most beautiful affliction & the most alluring curse.

November 2014.

Kelowna, B.C. is one of the most aesthetic pockets of the world, with such pictorial people. Yet I have not one photo, or social media proof of its elegance. Sometimes I don’t shoot what’s through the lens, just so the moment is mine; to fully understand the amity of that exact point in time.

However my time in Kelowna was still glowing and fervent.

It wasn’t love or lust or greed or want.

It was a consuming intensity that had no option but to exist.

I can only write what he made me feel, for there are no words that can breath illustration, of the frozen warmth that was.

“His kisses were Soft, yet Sound. Intense & Lingering. Electric.

Like floating bubbles collided.

His smile slid down my neck and flooded my cheeks, his lips brushed my chest.

His hands electric, leaving tremors with every caress.

He grabbed my hips, he pulled me closer. We locked legs, then lips.

Anticipation is so tasty.”

Sometimes you meet someone, and they make you forget that the sun and moon rise and set. Time is only described by the falling shadows on their face. The beautiful affliction is that you both understand the intensity exists for what it is. It’s the most alluring curse you’ll never have an answer to. You will forever have that infinity within your time. But that time may not be forever within your infinity. It is an infinite cycle of love for what it was, sadness for what is no longer, happiness for it’s existence and hate for what it was.

If you can understand this balance, I apologise for all the questions you’ll never have the answers to. You a cursed with such a beautiful mind, body and soul.

24 hours in Yangon, Myanmar!

Catching the first glimpse of Myanmar from the plane window, I was overwhelmed which a sense of achievement! A country I has longed to travel to for years and it was finally in the palm of my hand. The golden sunset lit up the west and the rain filled clouds created silhouettes, which matched the horizon of the beautiful fields of Pagodas in Bagan.

thankaka.jpgPacing through customs I noticed the many beautiful women dressed so formally in official uniforms, yet their faces still coasted in Thanaka! Other countries in South East Asia have lost or adapted a little of their culture from the overflow of tourists. But the Burmese culture was still so raw and strong.

To enter Myanmar you must obtain visas prior to arrival, I used https://www.myanmarvisaonline.org/ to apply online. Once submitted the visa will take between 1-3 business days to be processed, once issued, the visa is valid for 90 days, only allowing a 28 day stay. The visa is $80 USD and you must print and carry this on you for arrival. You must enter Myanmar either at Nap Pyi Taw International Airport, Yangon International Airport or Mandalay International airport.

rowanOnce we cleared customs, we looked for our complimentary driver that ‘Motherland Inn 2” had organized for us (one of the many reasons we choose this guest house.) There is always heavy traffic to and from the airport, this changes a 20min drive to more like an hour. One thing we noticed was the lack of bikes and scooters – It really does make a difference! The taxi fee is usually around $10USD from the airport to downtown Yangon. When looking for accommodation, I always ask if they offer complimentary airport pick up, as I’ve said before every cost counts!

Mother land Inn 2 was highly recommended to by me by a friend, and after reading many reviews, it seem like the crowd favorite for preferred Guest house in Yangon. This Guest house is $35USD a night for a private room with air-conditioning. Be sure to book in advance as it does book at all the time! bagan1It’s nothing very fancy, but the beds are really comfortable and the staff are extremely helpful! By far the friendliest place I’ve ever stayed, they were more than happy to go the extra mile to help you out whatever it may be. They even walked us out and waiting with us for the bus to make sure we got on the right one the following day!

We soon found out the next day that the traffic is just as bad everywhere in Yangon, it makes the trip anyway at least take double the time. The slow speed in travel  does make it a little hard to travel around Myanmar. And with so many place that we wanted to see, we decided to only spend one day in Yangon before catching an overnight bus to Madalay. We used the bus company JJ Express for $28AUD- this is by far the best bus company to travel with in Myanmar. The journey took 8 hours and you will arrive at about 5am.

child*TIP* -There will be many of drivers waiting to take you to your hotel -they will be asking double the price to what you should be paying. Walk a little down the street and you will find them at a more appropriate rate.

Something we haven’t been able to wrap our heads around is the price of taxis. Although we payed $10 in Yangon for a 90 min taxi ride, drivers were asking $15 -$20 for a 30min in Mandalay and apparently this is the standard asking price. The taxi drivers in Mandalay always seemed to tell you the trip is longer than what it really is.

wheels

Tactically planning our ticking clock in Yangon, we were up early and on a locals bus for 200kyat (20cents) to Shwedagon Pagoda. I felt like a child in a Candy store, or a dog on it’s first summer trip to the beach. I was hanging halfway out the window, eyes glued with camera in hand.

The city surprised me with so many built up, tall buildings that looked centuries old. In other bordering countries I had seen such ancient beauty but only ever one floor building. The buildings  were colorful and not at all like the natural browns I imagined. The streets were flooded with so many monks that you stood out if you were not a monk!  Shoes seemed barley an option for many and the hand made items of resembled nothing I had ever seen. the open affection between young couples also took me by surprise as it’s not something I’ve seen in any of the bordering countries. I had a little giggle when I saw our bus driver with hickies on his neck.

bow.jpgThe pagoda towered above the cities skyline, a glimmering gold bell laced with diamonds; literally! Hundreds of large diamonds and the world’s most precious jewels and gems! This is they’re offering to Buddah!and at the very peak of the pagoda  were hundreds of bells, sadly out of hears reach however.

temple

As we paced the grounds in awe of such marvelous detail, we waved at small children and spoke with them and their parents. Each person seemed so eager to speak to us, although they couldn’t speak great English, they were happy to practice their English. From what I could understand a large majority had only started to learn English within the last 12 months.

building.jpgSoon enough we became an attraction, with people giggling and pointing to us. Rowan had been Twirling his boisterous moustache each morning to raise awareness and support Movember – I think it was his charismatic moustache that has everyone giggling. I even Turned around to see him being asked to pose for photos with locals!

We wandered to the lake and around it’d bordering walk; which had definitely seen better days. This area seemed to be where couples would flock to in hope of a little privacy, however with so many of them having a similar idea, there wasn’t much space between them. ( especially with young boys gathering to very sneakily drink vodka out of plastic bags!) To wander around particular parts of the park you have to pay an entry fee, it was only about 1000kyat ($1).

palaceWe had lunch at the Floating Palace Restaurant (Karaweik Palace), it was good food, not great, but it was a very fun experience! Upon entry a lady blessed me by painting Thanaka on my face, and once seated we were greeted with a traditional puppet show and we were able to listen to some local instruments being played. Lunch time meals were around 6000 kyat ($6 AUD) not the cheapest meal but also very affordable- we didn’t mind because it had air-conditioning and cold beer, which is actually surprisingly difficult to find! There is a dinner buffet and show that would be great to see also! it is approxx. 35 000kyat ($35 AUD)

pray.jpgShortly after we took a taxi back to our guest house which cost about $10 (Try and catch the local busses for 20cents if you can) the journey was about 20mins, we got lucky with the traffic! We had a few hours to kill and went to the local grocery store, which is actually a quite a grand plaza!  And we purchased some snacks for the overnight bus, a few bottles of local beer and came across Myanmar whiskey! for a 750ml bottle is cost us 1200 kyat ($1.20AUD) Cheaper than beer! and I rather enjoyed the flavor! We then took a car ( which was organized by motherland inn 2) to the bus stop – which was 90minutes away! And it only cost $10. Another reason why I thought Motherland Inn was so great.

jade-and-rowan