I’m writing this from the comfort of our new apartment in the North Loop in downtown Minneapolis. We’re both back at work, we’re getting settled into the new place, planning our wedding, and getting on with our “normal” lives. We were both amazed at how easy it was for us to adapt to the travelling lifestyle. Transitioning back into the working world was a little harder, at least for me, but I think we’re back into the swing of things now. Myanmar seems so far away — both in time and distance. And I guess it is. But that’s not going to stop me from writing another blog about it. We set up our blog with two goals in mind: (1) to keep our friends and family updated while we were gone and (2) to serve as our trip journal. Although we’re not exactly current with goal (1), we’re hoping to keep plugging away so we can complete goal (2). Plus it is really fun to reminisce about our former lives!
Thanks to Camille for her great blog about much of our time in Myanmar! As she mentioned in her blog, we were able to take a wonderful multi-day hike from Kalaw to Inle Lake. That hike will be the focus of this blog entry. The journey was 3 days and 2 nights. We paid about $50 each, including a guide, a traveling chef, accommodations, luggage transport, and a boat ride at the end. (I’m not sure we can Uber across town for that at home). So it was definitely worth the price. Instead of providing a chronological recap, I’m going to categorize a few groups of pictures and mainly let the captions tell the stories, hopefully giving a bit of flavor of what we were able to do/see/experience.
After having been on a bit of the tourist trail in Asia, we were really craving a more authentic experience, and this trip certainly gave us that opportunity. During our three days, we had the chance to hike through rural villages, giving us the chance to see the local people in their everyday lives – playing, cooking, socializing, lounging. We were amazed at how happy everyone was, and it was a good reminder that while fancy homes and shiny toys may be nice to have, you don’t necessarily need them to live a full life. It was also obvious that these folks hadn’t been completely jaded by the constant stream of tourists, which sadly you notice in certain other parts of SE Asia. Hopefully that doesn’t change as more and more visitors flock to Myanmar.
One of the most interesting, eye-opening, fun, memorable, you name it, parts of the trip was that we had the chance to stay in villagers’ homes each night, eating food from their kitchens, using their facilities, and getting a glimpse into their everyday lives. It was incredible how different their lives are from what we are used to at home.
It’s always fascinating to see the customs and traditions in other cultures. Below are just a few of the many customs we were able to observe and/or participate in.
I wouldn’t say Myanmar was the MOST beautiful country that we’ve been to — looking at you New Zealand, Thai islands, parts of Chile, even the good old U.S. But it certainly had enough to look at to keep your eyes exercised – tea fields planted on steep slopes, terraced rice fields, and villages situated on unique landscapes. I think it might be even prettier if we weren’t there in the dry season, but of course then it might have been harder to do our hike.
I’m so glad we got to experience this trek and see a different way of life. Thanks to Camille for organizing! It was really fun to look back at these pictures and have the memories rush back. It is amazing how vivid they still are. As time begins to dull the memories, I’m sure that Ashley and I will turn to these and other pictures anytime that we need a good smile.