It is a little surreal to be writing a monthly update for month 7! That means we are more than halfway through our trip… Feels very strange. In some ways it feels like we’ve been going forever! In others it feels like we’ve barely started… And when we think about our long break at home and then heading off to a brand new continent, it almost is like we really just started!
Here are our stats for this month.
Countries visited: 5 (USA, Thailand, Burma/Myanmar, Singapore, Indonesia) Though, Indonesia hardly counts because we just arrived on Jan 31.
Beds Slept In: 11 (This is a particularly high number in part because we had 3 different beds in Mandalay… all in the same hotel, but three beds all the same!)
UNESCO Heritage Sights Visited: 0 Total on RTW: 34
We traveled by 6 planes this month!
We traveled by 0 trains this month.
We traveled by 2 long distance buses.
We traveled by 1 long distance boat.
We traveled by 2 shared taxis.
~ We arrived in Mandalay not entirely sure what to expect. We had heard that it might be difficult to travel in Myanmar… However, the minute we arrived at our very first guesthouse we were overwhelmed with the kindness of the people. “Mama” at Yoe Yoe Lay guesthouse treated us as if we were family and was kind, generous, and fun to be around. Every other staff person there seemed unbelievably kind. The accommodations were also quite lovely and at a good price. It also didn’t hurt that the moment we walked in, we started talking to another couple who we really enjoyed and hungout with multiple times thereafter. The guests at the guesthouse were great and the staff was even better. It made Mandalay particularly enjoyable for us!
Della with “Mama” – the head of our amazing guesthouse – Yoe Yoe Lay
Eric enjoying breakfast at Yoe Yoe Lay
~ We knew we were going to take a boat tour on Inle Lake. It was a “must do.” However, we had read some conflicting accounts about the tours. Some people said they were canned and that the guides kept taking you to shops and trying to get you to buy things. Others complained about the limitations of being on a tour, feeling constricted in their freedom of where and when to spend their time. Some of those things were true on our boat trip, but somehow it didn’t matter. We spent hours floating through the lake. The destinations on the lake actually hardly mattered – we thought just being on the lake and observing the beauty and the way of life was wonderful. The day was gorgeous and we spent the time on the lake in quiet contemplation, enjoying our ability to do this trip and explore new places.
Families zipping through the waterways
People working their fields
Beautiful Inle Lake
Runners up for Top Moments:
~ Our second town in Myanmar was called Pyin Oo Lwin. We had heard that the town wasn’t really worth the trip, that it was only blah. However, we were interested in visiting because Della’s parents had visited on their rtw trip 35 years ago. They had many great memories of the beauty of the town, the old colonial buildings, and of the people out strolling the gardens under their parasols. We wanted to see what they remembered. We spent a whole day chasing the past in Pyin Oo Lwin! We ran into some troubles finding some of the places, but ultimately succeeded and really enjoyed the time biking through town. In additions, the gardens were absolutely gorgeous. We again had a lovely day! Unfortunately, we didn’t see any parasols.
The pagoda in the beautiful gardens of Pyin Oo Lwin
The beautiful colonial house Candicraig – where Della’s parents stayed when they visited 35 years ago
~ Our final day in Myanmar was in Yangon. We spent several days in Yangon, probably more than we really needed to, but it allowed for some relaxing days. Our last day, we headed to the National Museum and then to the nearby People’s Park. It is a lovely park with some strange attractions, like an old plane, trees with hanging bridges between them, and giant banana statues. It also has great view of the Shwedagon Pagoda. But the most fun part was that they decided to blast music throughout the park. When we first heard it, we thought it must be some sort of performance or event, but it turned out it wasn’t. Della was, of course, tempted to dance, though she didn’t because no one else was even moving to the beat. We enjoyed the music, the views, people watching, and the sunset as our time in Myanmar wound to a close.
Shwedagon Pagoda at sunset as seen from People’s Park
The sun sets on our time in Myanmar
Items Missing, Broken, Discarded, or Added:
See our posts on both Della’s and Eric’s packing update!
Books Read: (Have you read any of these??)
Della has read Snuff by Terry Pratchett (3), Animal Farm by George Orwell (4), The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (3), I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes (4), Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (4)
Eric has read Wild by Cheryl Strayed (4), Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind (3), Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling (3), No Birds Sing by Jo Bannister (3.5)
Eric and Della have BOTH read Burmese Days by George Orwell (4), Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (4), My Sister’s Bones by Cathi Hanauer (3.75), Hearts in Atlantis by Stephan King (4)
The rating system is for Della’s mom who is refusing to just go look on Goodreads. It is 1 to 5, 5 being the highest.
Make sure to catch up on all our monthly recaps: Monthly Recap 1, Monthly Recap 2, Monthly Recap 3,Monthly Recap 4, Monthly Recap 5, Monthly Recap 6