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After arriving in Yangon and checking into our hotel, our first two priorities were changing our money and booking the bus to Inle Lake. The post Tips for visiting Myanmar covers our money woes, so I shall skip to the bus.

Travel in Myanmar is quite lengthy, so the majority of (if not all) buses travel overnight. We were anticipating spending about 20 hours on the bus to Lake Inle and were prepared for this. We were, however, not quite prepared for there being no seats available on the direct bus. The balloon festival that drew us to Lake Inle, apparently drew many other people also. The bus was booked for days. We were told we could get an overnight bus to Metila, and then get a pick up (a ute) for one to two hours to Lake Inle. This sounded acceptable to us, so we paid for our tickets. Upon confirming the details, the time in the pick up extended to five to six hours. Ok, fine, no problem.

The bus left at 7pm. It was so cold. I left Australia just before winter, and have been in Cambodia for six months. I haven’t been cold in over a year, so I had forgotten what it was like to be cold. It also never occurred to me that I would get cold in Myanmar. I was wearing a skirt and t-shirt, and the only shoes I had taken with me were a pair of thongs (flip flops). I shivered away in my seat, was startled more than once by a spider that seemed to like my leg. I tried to sleep, but sleep on transport has never come easily to me.

We arrived in Metila at 4am, much earlier than we had anticipated. After asking around about getting to Lake Inle, we climbed atop a pick up very similar to the one below.

Thinking initially that we would be taken to the bus station, after forking out 10,000 kyat each (just over $10USD) we soon discovered that it would be taking us all the way to our destination. As the lower section of the ute was full, we were put up the top with four Burmese men who lay comfortably across half the space, and three other foreigners (two Germans and a girl from Hong Kong) who were squashed into the front half with the three of us.

It was so cold, and once the sun rose it became very hot. After nearly ten hours of driving up and down a mountain, wobbling precariously due to our top heavy load, sunburn, dehydration, and being squashed on top with over 15 people, we arrived at our destination. It was a wonderful adventure and one of the highlights of our trip. If not for that we would never have seen the beautiful countryside of Myanmar, and this beautiful sunrise (Vy’s first ever sunrise. What?!).

All that being said, we were very relieved to get seats on the direct bus back to Yangon.

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Have I ever mentioned how clumsy and absent minded I can be? How prone to hurting myself I am? Well I can, and I am, and I’ll give you some examples.

A few weeks ago I went to a birthday weekend in Kep. Initially I wasn’t going to go, but as I was in the village during that time anyway I decided to go. And I’m so glad I did. We went swimming in a secret lake, ate ice cream sandwiches, and stuffed ourselves full of crab.

I also spent an entire night dancing. Literally, it was 5am when I went to bed. A night of pool wrestling and dancing. It was wonderful, I never dance. It terrifies me and I always wish I could. That night I said ‘screw it’, and I danced.

Of course, the next day I had to face the consequences. I limped for a week and a half and couldn’t turn my head for a few days. Walking down stairs was nearly impossible.

When I finally recovered on a tuesday morning whilst walking to breakfast I scuffed my toe on a very sharp bit of concrete ripping a good amount of skin off the toe. That took about a week to heal.

Last week I went to the village again. I was staying in a different location than usual which is too far for my colleagues to pick me up on their way to work. So I hired a bicycle. It took me 30 minutes to ride to the office and it was a very enjoyable trip. The majority of the trip was dirt road with some sealed road towards the end. The ride home was quite different. My sit bone (nice way of saying my arse) ached as it had been unaccustomed to sitting on a bicycle seat. I also realised that one of the reasons the trip into work had been so enjoyable was that it was very slightly downhill. Meaning the return trip was very slightly uphill. I am not very fit, and it took me an hour and a half to ride back. At points I had to get off and walk as it hurt too much to sit on the bike (may I add that the trip is about 10km long).

Just as I neared my destination I noticed that it was slightly downhill. Excited I jumped on my bike again. I built up speed very quickly, it was so exhilarating! I turned the corner, slowing down slightly, and then noticed the speed bump. It was too late by the time I saw it and as I hit it I veered off the road and was stopped by a banana tree. A baby one, I broke it.

I wasn’t sure how long I lay there for, I was told later by one person it was about five minutes, another person said two. I felt winded in my head (if that makes any sense). I kept trying to stand but wasn’t sure which way was up. I was soon found and helped up.

The next day I was driven into the office and faced much teasing that I was guilty of killing a baby banana tree.

I suffered some whiplash and bruising to my legs. Now completely recovered. So you see, I am clumsy. And stupid for not wearing a helmet.

This week I fell out of a tuk tuk in Siem Reap and bruised both knees.

(By the way, the photo connected to this post is of secret lake)