Leaving Mae Sot with a sad heart, we flew to Bangkok and then to Yangon. Took us all day with a big wait at Bangkok airport. Then we arrived in Yangon at 5.45pm. We were waiting at Immigration and able to look at the people waiting in Arrivals. Three tall guys strode in and I wondered if one was Khaing Maung Maung’s brother, Thaw Thaw. I pointed them out to Geoff and sure enough they waved and we felt excited to have people who are like our extended family to meet us.
Thaw Thaw, Htoo Htoo and another cousin had organised a taxi to take us to Traders Hotel where we are staying for a few days. It was like a minivan and it set off on a road they called Peepee Road (I think) into Yangon. We saw small songthau like buses with about 40 people squashed in and hanging off the back and some CRAZY driving. No seat belts of course, as we noticed when our driver had to do a wee emergency stop in the middle of this 3 lane road. A bit further on, the minivan petered out and we cruised to a halt at the side of the road. Had we run out of petrol? No, the driver lifted the whole of the front seat to reveal an engine with something wrong. Trouble was it was dusk and he couldn’t see the engine. Geoff puffing on his pipe (of course!) noticed the problem, went to his bag and produced a battery lamp! Why was that in his bag?????? No idea but well done Geoff. The engine was fixed and on we went…..
We passed names we’ve heard for many years, Inya Lake, University Avenue Road where Dau Aung San Suu Kyi lives, another lake full of courting couples and finally the magnificent Shwegadon Pagoda before pulling into our magnificent hotel. Traders has 22 floors. We are on the 16th and can look over to Shwegadon Pagoda. After settling into our room, we went to eat with Khaing’s family.
We set off to find the Allen/ Lee family who are staying at East Hotel directly across the very busy road from us. We did find them and we all sat down to catch up with our news.
I can’t begin to explain how strangely wonderful it feels to be in Burma after learning about it/her for the last 8 years. I am so used to feeling like Burmese are a minority group – in UK and in Mae Sot/Thailand Yet here EVERYONE is Burmese….. when we say Minglabar, that’s normal…… gonna take some time to sink in…… feeling so privileged to be in this place…