A reminder of home
I’m almost thankful our night bus from Hpa An dropped us at a bus stop in Yangon at three o’clock in the morning. It reminded me what an interesting country I was soon to be leaving, a thought I was extremely saddened by. Myself and Jaimie caught a taxi to our friend Courtney’s house whom we had met up with on our previous visit. For some reason, which I blame on lack of sleep rather than stupidity, we were unable to follow Courtney’s well laid out directions to her home. As we struggled with the map I managed to lose my purse (it was later found hurrah!) got chased by dogs and got eaten alive by mosquitoes. After nearly an hour we were approached by a security guard who rounded up his colleagues to help us find Courtney’s house. Exhausted, we finally arrived in her gorgeous townhouse thanks to the very helpful security guards.
It was the first time I had stepped inside a western-style home in four months and I took great pleasure in opening the fridge door to see what food items were inside and then reopening it a moment later just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, just as I do as soon as I step into my parents house in Portsmouth. It was a delight! Shelves full of fresh salad, cheese (yes REAL cheese), coffee (yes REAL coffee not 3in1!) and most importantly porridge oats!
Tired from the night bus Jaimie and I slept in until midday completely missing our chance to visit the famous Shwedagon Paya, but one of my all-time favourite breakfast of apples and porridge whilst watching BBC World News more than made up for it. I relished the feeling of being at home and spent all that was left of the afternoon lounging about before it was time to head out for dinner.
Courtney and her friends suggested we go to L’Opera, an Italian restaurant over-looking the lake. It was way out of my backpacker price range, but it was quite possibly the best meal of my trip so far so it was more than worth the splurge. I had missed fresh bread so much I must have gone through nearly a whole bread basket single handedly and the creamy walnut pasta I had was just as tasteful as the blueberry cheesecake. L’Opera is a perfect place for a date (I even enjoyed a fabulous glass of red) and although not up to scratch with some fancy Italian restaurants I’ve dined at in London, it is certainly a cut above the rest in Myanmar. That evening we returned to The Lab for more splurging on red wine and espresso martinis before heading to a club. My last day in Myanmar was spent lounging on the sofa and ordering takeaway of Shan noodles before heading to the airport to catch a flight to Bangkok.
Five minutes before boarding the plain I heard news that Sam was in Bangkok that night (you may remember him as the guy I started my travels with). I hadn’t seen him in over three months and he’s soon to move to Sydney so I decided to catch up with him that evening which was spent sharing stories of our adventures. I had less than 24 hours in Bangkok to gather vital western supplies (just in case they didn’t have it in Manila – how wrong was I!) and collect my fourth replacement credit card of this trip from my friend Aree. I spent four hours on foot and the Bangkok Sky Train, carrying all my luggage with me so by the time I met Jaimie at the airport I was a ruined woman.
We left the bright lights and McDonald signs of Bangkok and arrived in Manila which was surprisingly just as developed as where I had just taken off from. After nearly four hours waiting for a yellow metres taxi (which are a quarter of the price than the white ones!) I arrived at the lovely Wanderers Guesthouse (formally Friendly Guesthouse) and enjoyed a much needed San Miguel Beer with a Swiss couple, Eric and Jenie who I met at the airport.
The following two days were spent doing absolutely nothing apart from planning the next leg of my trip, which not only was a stressful experience – as any backpacker will know, the less planned the better. I also felt incredibly guilty because I saw so little of the city. The reason for planning ahead is that the size of the Philippines makes travel somewhat difficult, especially compared to the rest of South East Asia and internal flight prices jump up each day, not to mention irregular boat schedules and overbooked buses. So my first two days in the Philippines was spent much the same way as my last two days in Myanmar; doing nothing and enjoying some western-style home-comforts like oatmeal, chocolate and a good cup of tea. You can’t beat a good cuppa.
Living life, loving travel,
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