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ferry trip to pakokku

i lay in bed this morning after waking up early, listening to the loud clicking of the ceiling fan in my room speed up (with power surges) or slow down and stop (with power failures). the room also had AC, but it was switched on and off according to a pattern that i never understood.

it's amazing to still see ox-carts in general service within a town like this. the river's water is a very muddy brown, clotted with trash on the edge of the boat landing. after a quick stroll down the slope, the usual game of "walk-the-plank" to get myself and my gear onto the boat without falling into the water, and i'm on.

hopefully the festival (pwe) i heard about in pakokku is still happening, because like the ferry there, no concrete written evidence of its schedule was available, and verbal reports were conflicted about whether or not it was happening today, whether the pwe lasts a month, or whether day would be a good day to go. luckily my own schedule is

it's has just struck me that this fairly rickety ferry has no safety equipment or life jackets of any sort, and we're on a fairly choppy river. this thought came into my head as a smaller boat just cut right across our bow, almost hitting us, prompting outraged honking from our captain, and indifference from the passengers. but like the cars of southeast asia, with their occasional seat belts but never the receptacle to actually plug the seat belt into, safety is a tertiary concern at best.

it's funny the mix of reactions i get here -- sometimes my arrival is ignored, sometimes it seems like the biggest event for blocks around. but for the first time in a long time i don't mind being the focus of attention, because of the friendlinerss of the people of myanmar. sometimes a wave or a smile to a staring stranger is greeted with an even bigger one in return, or occasionally i get a stone-faced stare in return. (i've gotten both reactions on this boat) best of all, quite often a "hello" from someone is simply that, or a request to chat and practice their english (honestly!), and only a few times is it the opening to a sales pitch.

there is no other country in the world where people are like this.

Comments (1)


I've been reading your VietNam travel reports. Looks interesting.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 7, 2006 11:26 AM.

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