Note: This is really late b/c once again I didn’t have decent wifi until now. Will be catching up in the next few days!
Today was a big exercise day.
I woke up at 6:30 to run the 4.3 miles to Zwekabin Mountain.
I finished the run at at Hpa An Lodge, this super upscale, full-of-old-white-people hotel near the base of the mountain. It was the easiest place to meet up with Hannah and Arno, and was actually a really good decision. The staff was really nice and the bathrooms were top-notch (you come to really appreciate nice bathrooms when traveling).
We all hopped on the back of Arno’s scooter to ride the rest of the way to the mountain. There was a 4000 kyat (about $3) entrance fee for foreigners, which I kind of expected. We started the hike around 9:30, but it was already hot at that point. We hiked pretty slowly, taking our time to take breaks and pictures.
Sooooo many people asked for photos of Arno and Hannah, it was insane/hilarious. Once one person asked for a photo, there would be a line up of about 5 other people asking for photos. And after the group photos, there would be selfies and individual photos. It went on like this all the way up to the top of the mountain, and at the pagoda at the top as well. Once again, no one wanted me in their photos because I am Asian…. lol.
We reached the top around 11 am and just walked around for a bit. We eventually sat down. I was sitting with my knees up, toes pointing out, and a couple locals approached us to let us know that it was disrespectful to show your toes toward the pagoda. I felt bad, but I was also really happy that they said something. God knows how many times I’ve done that before and unknowingly offended everyone around me… oops.
We headed back down to meet Marlijn for lunch. I essentially ran the rest of the way down since it’s easier on my legs if I run rather than try to control my steps by walking.
We had lunch at Hpa An Lodge. It was more expensive than our normal meals ($5 as opposed to $2), but the service was really great so it was worth it.
We assumed we could use the hotel pool since most hotels will let you dip and dine, so we headed over to the pool area. It was GORGEOUS!! I will let the pics speak for themselves.
After a few minutes of wading around and taking pics, a scary white manager dude came around and told us, “The pool is not open to outside guests,” and promptly walked away. We were like uuumm ok and gathered our stuff and left.
We drove to find a waterfall but couldn’t really find our way. We asked 3 different locals where the waterfall was, but no one could understand us and kept thinking we wanted to go to the cave. We eventually gave up and drove back toward town.
We went to Wadee for the third day in a row. I got a smoothie and split a veggie stir fry dish with Marlijn (she’s vegetarian).
Arno tried to teach me how to drive a scooter, but it was MUCH harder than I thought. It’s really difficult to control the power of the engine. It made me a bit afraid to rent one now– I think I need at least an hour of practice before I go on actual roads.
We then drove (by we I mean Arno drove and I sat on the back of the scooter) to the grocery store to get some alc. We bought a few wine coolers and a bottle of VERY cheap (like $1.50 cheap) local rum. The grocery store was weird, though. They had a bunch of alcohol, snacks, no produce of any kind, some soda, and a lot of home goods like plates/silverware, TVs, couches, and then a whole section of cosmetics. I guess Burmese people don’t buy their groceries at the grocery store…?
We chilled outside the hostel, drinking rum with pineapple juice, just chatting. It was actually really nice. We talked about traveling as women, different experiences we’ve had in the countries we’ve visited, what it’s been like to travel solo, and so on. It’s nice to talk about these kinds of things because there are very few people who understand what it’s like to travel for an extended period of time as a solo female backpacker.
We got hungry so we went back to Wadee for dinner. I had a really delicious pumpkin curry, and we finished the rest of the rum there too.
We gave the last bit to Jo-dan, our amazing server for the past 3 days. He told us a bit about his life: how he studied English in Thailand, came back to work at the restaurant, and wants to be a programmer. We BOMBARDED him with questions about life in Myanmar: how important religion is (basically everyone is religious), how often Buddhist people pray (twice a day), at what age women get pregnant (around 16 or 17 years old), how many days a week he works (every day). It was nice to get a local perspective on life there, since it’s not so often that you get to pick a local’s brain.
After dinner we were pretty tired so we went to bed.
Funny things that happened:
- Monks on back of truck
- Families on back of truck
- Loads of cows crossing
- Getting kicked out of pool
- Tried to show what ice cube means to local guy by googling “ice cube” on google images, but getting a bunch of pics of Ice Cube instead.