Apologies again for the late updates, as we mentioned communications in the part of Myannmar we were in were tricky. But we are now back on track (no pun intended), and all safe and well.
Today we said goodbye to John T. who has faithfully guided Neil M, from Vietnam to Myanmar. We thank him for his good company and wish him well on his flight back home.
It is also a special day for Sheila celebrating her birthday, which we toasted last night with Andy.
Today is also a special day because tomorrow Neil M. will be celebrating his 70th Birthday. But instead of celebrating tomorrow (well maybe a little bit) Neil decided to create a charity event in which we can share. Bruno and Zani have a plantation nearby growing mangoes which are sold to raise money for a local orphanage. The Burmese way of celebrating your birthday is that you don’t receive gifts – you gift others; so Neil bought 40 Mango trees for us all to plant and these will bear fruit in 3 years time – the fruit will be sold and proceeds as mentioned will go to the orphanage. Some 25 Rallyists rallied to the cause of planting 40 new trees paid for by Neil. A touching and worthwhile way to celebrate his birthday, there will be an enduring memory of Neil’s 70th left in Myanmar.
It proved to be a good Karma, of which more later.
So we had a late start for our short 159kms trip to Namsang and stopped at the Shway Yan Pyay wooden monastery built of teak in the 1900s.
We retraced our route back to Highway 2 and turned east on Highway 2 which ascended into the hills until we reached the Htem Sann Cave which is an extensive cave system devoted to any number of Buddha statues and monuments. Fascinating and blissfully cool.
After the cave we continued east on a route that few visitors use. In fact the route has been closed to foreigners for about two years and only the special efforts of Zani and “Inspiration Myanmar”, we got permission from the Presidents office to use the road.
The road was a typical mountain road of twists and turns, ascending to 1680 meters before starting back down. The contrast on the other side of the mountain was stark. The region seemed much poorer, the weather was much cloudier and the road condition less maintained.
Our arrival at the Golden Fish Lake Hotel was the usual hive of activity with bonnets up, jacks under cars, wheels off and spark plugs being cleaned, and a puncture repair for Molly Porsche.
One mystery involved birthday bot Neil M. who lost his phone between the petrol station outside the hotel and the hotel carpark. No amount of calling the phone, searching the petrol station forecourt and the cctv revealed where it was lost. We all know what losing a phone does to your psyche but on your birthday that is cruel.
However, during dinner, Bruno announced that two boys, 10 and 5 years old, had found the phone on the ground and taken it home. Their Dad said they should return it to where they found it and not only the phone appeared at dinner, but the two boys and their Dad. It was a magical moment and several suggested it was good Karma for Neil.