Friday, February 12, 2016

Myanmar - One last ride

We were all sad to leave Myanmar, the country which we had enjoyed so much and yet realised we also understand so little. We really need to spend more time here and yet that wasn't possible as it all needs to be done with visas and guided tours. We had met such friendly people and such a lovely way of life that we all wanted to stay. The enthusiasm and lust for life here is so inspiring. Right up to the last metres Myanmar is beautiful. The friendliness also continued at the border where with a minimal of fuss we were stamped out of the country.

We stopped along the way for a cold drink at a family who ran a small shop but didn't speak a word of English. They showed us their fridge where we could take what we wanted. Food and petrol are cheap so we filled the bikes up as well. After a bumpy start of the day, on broken roads which reminded me of Georgia but then in tropical landscapes, we found the last bit a beautiful swooping smooth road and loved every minute of it.

We could have ridden on for hours, or better still days(!), but all good things must come to an end at some stage and so did this :-) Passports were stamped out, no need for a Carnet de Passage here (thankfully) and then it was on to Thailand... after saying goodbye to our guides for having given us the time of our life! Having seen this amazing country we all vowed to be back here. Vince and Karen are planning a world-wide Ox-cart tour which will start here with a traditional Ox-cart with wooden wheels and see them through Myanmar in about 6 months we reckon. In China they will exchange the Oxen for Yaks and continue west... To emphasise there intentions they have already purchased their mascotte, which for some reason has been called 'Marmalade', and attached it to their BMW (to be continued...)

Border procedures on the Thailand side were chaotic and confusing. Of course we didn't get the 30 day on arrival visa, which the officials in Bangkok had said we could get, which frustrated me at first but then again who cares? Entering Thailand was strange. It's so much more modern than we had seen for months now, that it struck us as strange. We saw a huge supermarket as we rode into Mae Sot, can't remember when we saw the last one that big! We dropped into the hotel and had already decided to stay a day or two... which became 4... but that's another story. Still, despite all the benefits of modern Thailand, we all longed back to Myanmar... the country of smiles! We wanted to go back into Myanmar and ride north to the Chinese border... I guess that'll have to wait until next time.