Wednesday, October 31, 2012

the journey "home"

steven and i flew home at the end of september.
it was a bit sooner than we had thought
(we did all of our budgeting using lonely planet prices and it turns out those are not to be trusted).
though it was earlier than expected, we felt great about coming home,
and to us it seemed as though we had been gone for at least six months.
we never made it to nepal liked we had planned,
but that just means we have reason to go back! (soon?!)

we flew into SFO 
and got to spend a couple days visiting with our wonderful friends
who didnt care that we were recovering from jet lag and not very exciting to be around. 
we then bussed up to santa rosa to spend time with more friends,
enjoying the sunshine, western pub food,
and making wonderful dinners using ingredients 
picked from diana's incredible garden...

for some reason i only have this one picture from our time in san francisco. getting over jet lag is lame. pretty amazing moment though. watching the space shuttle fly over the city from our friends rooftop.

mmmm pub food. we missed you.

visiting our friend diana's garden. i could have spent all day here.

enjoying the sunshine in santa rosa

fresh veggies and funky nails.

Friday, October 26, 2012

flight(s) home

it may not seem like it from the last month of posts
but steven and i returned to the USA safely at the end of september.
we had very little access to internet in myanmar so our posts 
had to wait until we were back.

it was quite an epic journey
and it seemed as though we were gone forever,
though our friends and family have said it felt like we just left.
we flew back into san francisco 
and have only made it as far as arcata ca.
we have yet to see many of our friends and family in the seattle area.
i feel as though our trip won't feel complete until i get to hug my mom and dad.

here are some pictures from our flights back.
most notable was the airport in taiwan
where each little waiting area was themed. 
it was amazing.
somehow i only seemed to really photograph the
hello kitty room...


when is a waiting area at an airport ever this empty? at 8am at the yangon international airport.

the library themed waiting room at the taiwan airport

hello kitty room. the best

hello kitty time zones

every waiting room was this elaborate. it was so great.

well hello san francisco. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

last supper

i can't believe it
but the time has come.
this is a post about our last meal overseas.
sure there was a small breakfast the next morning,
some Burger King at the bangkok airport during a layover,
and several in-flight meals while traveling over the pacific ocean,
but this was our last true meal.

after five wonderful and sunny days in ngwe saung
where we did nothing but lay on the beach, read books, and try not to worry about life once we got back home,
we took our final myanmar bus ride (we are not missing those)
and spent the last 12 hours back in yangon.
after getting to our hotel we realized that we had a plethora of burmese kyat left
so we decided to splurge on a super fancy dinner.

it was a meal to remember.
with fabulous drinks, 
tasty food (quite a rare find for us in myanmar)
and great company,
including the wait staff who, of course, 
wanted to hang around and speak in english during our dinner.
i will never forget it,
and i especially will never forget how we were able to make it happen...


the view during dinner. the shwedagon paya

turned out we showed up during happy hour when drinks were buy one get one free

so we got a couple...

steven's lamb, which was cheaper than the chicken.... we didnt argue

my comfort food. 

us. 42 hours later we landed in san francisco...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

elephant camp

on one of our last days in myanmar
we decided to rent a scooter and go see an elephant camp.
i had been very excited to see some elephants 
ever since we landed on the other side of the plant
and couldn't wait to see a whole camp of them.
we showed up and there was a building full of burmese men
who told us to wait and the elephants would come to us.
we waited for a bit and finally saw the head of a giant magnificent animal
heading over a nearby hill.
the elephant came right up to us!
i was surprised at it's size
yet how gentle it was as we got close and said hello.
we spent some time getting comfortable
with the elephant and finally i felt eager to see more,
specifically a BABY elephant!

we asked the building of men if there were more elephants
and they said yes.
if we spent $10 and went on an elephant ride
we would get to see more elephants. 
so we agreed and watched nervously 
as the men strapped a small wooden seat to the top of the elephant 
and motioned for us to get on.
the elephant walked us slowly through the forest
and at one point even took us through a nearby river.
it was an extremely uncomfortable ride
but on the other hand it was incredible to see the power and 
precision of this great animal up close.

the ride took about an hour
and never once did we see another elephant.
we started getting the feeling that maybe there were no other elephants
and i think we were right because after an hour the elephant
brought us back to the building of burmese men 
who accepted our money and suddenly spoke
no english when we inquired again about seeing additional elephants...


Sunday, October 21, 2012

ngwe saung

our original myanmar "itinerary"
had us spending our last couple days
visiting yet another city full of payas, monks, and monuments.
near the end of our time in inle lake we were feeling a bit templed out.
each paya is stunning and magnificent,
but after weeks of visiting city after city full of them,
we were longing for an endless white sandy beach 
more then another golden paya.
we asked the friendly owners of friendly inn how to get to ngapali beach,
myanmars most stunning plot of waterfront on the shores of the bay of bengal. 
they were regretful that at this particular time of year there was no way of getting there,
and even if we did get there nothing would be open.

the owners didnt even give us enough time to have our hopes smashed
before instantly suggesting we visit the town of ngwe saung.
he said that is where his family loves to vacation and we would be going at the end of the rainy season,
when beds were cheap and rain was sparse. 

we immediately booked yet another amazing day of myanmar travel!
i'll spare you the details.
in short, it took us 24 hours,
a mixture of sketchy taxi rides,
overnight buses, 
a day bus which got a flat tire and spent the remainder of the journey
trying to catch up for lost time by weaving through traffic at about 100 mph,
and finally a three hour ride on the back of a scooter,
an hour of that through a monsoon...

but yet again, we found it hard to complain
once we got to our destination.
a small beachfront resort
where we got to stay in a duplex bungalow (for $35 a night),
falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves directly outside our door
and waking to sunny days full of walks on the beach and endless hours to read.
not a bad place to end an epic adventure...


looking towards the beach from our little private porch


we lost two of our cribbage pieces but found out small sea shells work just as well...

right outside the front door

sunset through our little canopy roof over the porch


more stunning sunsets

taking a walk along the only road in town

animals rule the road here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

kaung daing hot springs

if you ever find yourself near inle lake in myanmar
with an extra day to do absolutely nothing with,
i would highly suggest renting a bike,
riding for half an hour,
and spending the day doing absolutely nothing...
at a hot springs resort....


view from the springs

steven's version of doing absolutely nothing

a hive outside the building. it was HUGE