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Salinda Resort Phu Quoc Island

The Motorbike Diaries Part 5: This is 'BURMA' (Take II)

With Nemo the motorbike en route to Bangladesh by sea, Matt Dworzanczyk continues his journey across Asia north via Myanmar.

 

DAY 73

Martini Shaker

 

Overnight train to Yangon. Bodies piled on top of each other. Broken seats left and right. Stench and garbage everywhere. Not a single working fan. Air con? What’s that? Let me find my seat… oh there it is — the only piece of floor available, back to back with a sack of durians… Maaan..!

 

Then it moves... Shaking like an earthquake. People are getting thrown out of their seats. Is this damn thing on springs?!

 

Only four hours… I can do it… I can do it… 12 hours later, finally get to Yangon. Sick like never before, everything rattling inside me for another three days.

 

DAY 78

North Korea Déjà Vu?

 

 

Silly! Bizarre! Eeh?! Whoever thought this was a good idea? Capital City? Haha! A mad dictator’s insane little dream, more like! So Weird! (in the voice of the photographer from Holy Motors).

 

There’s little else here but roads. Massive, wide roads — you could land a jumbo jet here! You could land two! No people. No traffic. No houses. No culture. Welcome to Nay Pyi Taw!

 

Went to a ‘museum’ — closed. Went to a ‘water fountain garden’ — no water and three broken fountains.

 

I convinced a lone taxi driver to rent me his bike for the day. Not like he was gonna find any other clients here anyways.

 

Spent the afternoon doing donuts in front of the ridiculous parliament building. I still wonder if it’s an Oz-like façade for some little shack hidden behind it.

 

DAY 80

More Temples

 

Long ago, before I ever heard of this country called Myanmar, I saw a picture of Bagan and I was mesmerized. For years I’ve been hurting to visit and now I finally get here and I feel... unimpressed.

 

Those birds-eye view pictures you see in magazines — you just don’t get that here. There are barely any high viewpoints, all the temples are quite spread out and once you’ve seen two, the rest are just… more of the same…

 

 

DAY 82

Kenbo

 

With Nemo, my bike, away on a boat, I’ve been riding rentals through Myanmar. I collectively call them “Kenny”. Their gauges are typically all dead, shocks worn out, the brakes don’t work, mirrors are gone and the wood-hard seats… maaan…! Why so rough, Kenny? Uh, can’t start the thing again… Kenbo, work, dammit!

 

I miss my Nemo.

 

DAY 83

English Summer Getaway

 

Took a bus to Mandalay. Didn’t know where to get off. Ended up in Pyin Oo Lwyin instead. I like it here, am staying a while. Weather’s cooler and it’s so nice, green and European-style countryside.

 

 

DAY 86

Chin State

 

Checkpoint procedure:

 

1) Visor Down

2) Slow down, but don’t stop

3) Look the other way

4) Hope Nobody chases me!

 

That’s how I got into Chin state. Halfway there, Kenbo crapped up, engine went up in smoke. Got help from a local from Falam and followed him to town. Spent the afternoon watching Bon Jovi music videos in the guy’s purple, wooden house and feeling strangely touched with 1990s nostalgia. This whole town feels like a colorful, ultra-Catholic, old English film set somehow dropped in the middle of Asian mountains.

 

The local hangout is the old hospital on a hill. Vivid, painted slogans proclaiming love for Jesus on every tree, on every bench and house-front. I’m not fond of religion, but this place actually feels warm and welcoming. Well, except for the ultra-heavy police presence.

 

No power in whole town tonight and my guesthouse’s generator is broken. The hotel owner stops by for a candlelit chat, excited to be hosting the rare foreigner. This whole place reminds me of my great-grandfather’s old house in rural Poland. This is awesome!

 

For more on Matt’s films and travels, check out the Etherium Sky Production Blog at EtheriumSky.com/ProdBlog

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