My Oh Myanmar Part 2

Greetings Friends & Family,

Thank you for following us! Here's the second part of our Myanmar adventures.

Josh had his second doctor's appointment while in Bagan. We walked past this sign and thought it was quite fitting for the situation.

The doctor removed all but "three" stitches and informed us that Josh had an infection. That's not the word you want to hear from a doctor in a third-world country. He told us to get the remaining stitches removed in three days at the next town we were headed and gave him more antibiotics. When we asked how much his services were he said, "For you...only $20." That was definitely not the response we expected. If felt more like we were buying a t-shirt instead of seeking medical care. Were we supposed to haggle over this price? 

With the doctor's visit behind us we could focus on having some fun again. We were especially excited because our friend, Dave, whom we met on the Komodo trip, met up with us in Bagan for several days of traveling together. Dave is a fellow Coloradan so it was nice to hang out with a friend with a similar background and we really enjoyed having him around. He became our roomie for the next five days. 

We headed to Mt. Popa, a temple at the top of a mountain about an hour outside of Bagan. To be honest, it wasn't all that it was made out to be. We climbed approximately 1,000 steps all the while dodging monkey pee and poop a.k.a peep. We will spare you the picture of the monkey peep. Just so you know, we had to climb to the top barefoot. Gross!

This little guy was a peeping machine.

This picture does not make any sense but we thought it was cool. Click to enlarge the picture and you will see the baby monkey.

The highlight for the day was a random stop off the road at a palm liquor distillery. It was an amazing process. We learned all about how they made palm wine, beer and liquor.

We drank palm liquor, ate snacks and Josh and Dave even smoked some local cigars. Do you remember that we mentioned in our last blog how kind the Burmese people were? They wouldn't allow us to pay for anything. They were just happy to have us. It was an unbelievable experience!

We finished the day with one more sunset in Bagan. Our driver, Pyu Pyu, had seen enough sunsets so this time he waited below.

Dave met a local woman by the name of Me Me on his first night in Bagan and she invited all of us over for dinner. Before arriving at her hut for dinner we all had mixed emotions as to what we should expect. Me Me made us a feast of local Myanmar cuisine. The amount of food was overwhelming considering she and her family were desperately poor. We conversed for several hours and she even dressed us in traditional Burmese clothing that her sister had made. We had moments of laughter, awkward silences (Myanmar citizens are forbidden to speak to tourists about any topics related to the government) and sadness. Me Me has had one heck of a hard life and wants to give her sons a better opportunity than she had. After dinner, we all left her enough money to send her sons to school for the next eight months. It really wasn't that much money but meant the world to her. We are not 100%  certain that Me Me's motive for having us over for dinner was to get us to help her family but it did feel that way. Regardless of the intention, we know that she will use the money towards her sons' education. It was heartbreaking to witness such poverty and desperation. We walked away with heavy hearts that night and reminded ourselves just how lucky we are.

The next afternoon we returned to her hut so Leanne could give her some nail polish, a skirt and a shirt. It was quite sad saying goodbye considering we don't know if we will ever see her again. If any of our friends travel to Bagan please let us know so we can have you check up on Me Me and her family for us.

The next day we caught a 6:30 am bus to Inlay Lake. Check out this dead scorpion we saw while waiting for the bus. Can you imagine what it would be like to get stung by this thing?

Views from the bus window.

We arrived at Inlay Lake. Unfortunately, we had to skip trekking because of Josh's hand. Dave went ahead with an overnight trek while we rented a motorboat and driver for the day.  It was touristy but made for a good day.

Inlay Lake is known for one-legged rowers and fisherman. It was a pretty spectacular sight. This kid wanted to sell us a fish for $1 but we didn't have a way of cooking it so we just gave him a few kyat (local currency) for his efforts.

Seaweed farmer

Cutie and mom on boat

Bamboo farmers

Traffic jam at the market

Fresh pineapples


It started to rain but Josh was prepared with a bag to cover his wounded hand. No rain is going to stop this gimp!

Floating villages

Grandma gettin' her weave on!

No ladies allowed at this alter

But Josh was able to go inside and he made sure Leanne knew her place.

Next time Leanne will get in with her mustache disguise.

Learning how to make silver

Jumping on the floating garden. It was like a waterbed. Josh stayed in the boat for fear that he would fall through the floating garden.

One last glimpse of a fisherman before calling it a day.

We went to a puppet show. Aung is a fourth generation puppeteer. It was actually quite an impressive show.

Josh visited his third doctor while in Inlay Lake. The doctor removed the bandage and with a scour on his face said, "Not good." This is another phrase that you do not want to hear from a doctor in a third-world country. The doctor removed the "three" which turned out to be four stitches. He gave Josh antibiotics for seven additional days. It was an interesting interaction between the doctor and patient. He had his arm around Josh the entire time like they were best buddies. He is a good doctor and did his best to take care of Josh.

That night we hung out until 3:00 am with Dave and his trekking friends. When we left our room earlier that day, we only had two beds. When we returned, we had three beds. Josh and Dave thought this was the funniest thing ever. Leanne was excited to have her own bed since she and Josh were sharing a twin for the past three nights.

Too bad we were only able to sleep for 4 hours since we where heading to our next destination by taxi early the next morning. We made a stop and Josh and Leanne got some Fire Dragon energy drinks.

Dave did not.

We changed taxis in Mandalay. This one was a newer model. 1989 was a good year!

We made our way to Pyin Oo Lwin so we could experience riding the Myanmar Railway. We didn't have the chance to do much exploring in the town but we did have some wonderful experiences with  locals.

We went to the train station to inquire about buying tickets. A man approached us and had obviously been drinking. We thought he wanted money but he was just showing us how to buy our tickets for the following morning. When we offered him some money for helping us out, he refused to take any payment. Instead, he invited us to his shop for tea and samosas. This was one of those moments when we knew we should not eat the food but it was offered to us and we couldn't be rude. We decided to only eat one small somosa. We asked him how much we owed and he said, "No payment for friends". We couldn't believe how nice the Burmese people are to tourists.

Later that day Josh went to a tailor to have new velcro and buttons sewn onto his shorts. This little boy was helping his father move the fabrics in the shop. Leanne asked if he wanted his picture taken. He loved looking at his picture on the camera. The owner of the shop refused to take payment for fixing Josh's shorts. The generosity of the people was unreal!

 Motorbike taxis to the train station.

Representing Colorado in Myanmar!

Adorable kids at the train station. The face paint is sunscreen.

All aboard! This train ride is known for being one of the craziest train rides in the world with the highest railway suspension bridge.

The train carriages rocked like a horse and tree branches came through the open windows

Right about here is where Leanne's food poisoning kicked in. Do you recall us talking about the nice man that offered us samosas and how we knew we shouldn't eat them? Well, the remainder of the train ride and the next few days were awful for Leanne. Luckily, all of those antibiotics that Josh was taking came in handy because he did not get food poisoning. Food poisoning aside, it was a beautiful sight.

We made our way to Hsipaw. Hsipaw is in Northeast Myanmar and is less traveled by tourists. There were only a handful of other travelers besides us. We sadly parted ways with Dave as he made his way back to Yangon. We had a blast being roomies and traveling with him. We know we will see him back in Colorado.

After a few days battling the revenge of the somosas, we ventured out into the rain. It had been raining for several days so everything was flooded.

The river swelled to over two times its normal size.

We had our laundry done at our guesthouse. When we received our clothes back they smelled so bad and were slightly brown in color. We later found out that they were washed in this nearby dirty river.

Leanne wound up rewashing everything in the sink and using her hairdryer to dry them. She has only used that hairdryer once on her hair but it has come in handy for drying clothes.

Naytun worked at the guesthouse and was such a nice guy.

Rain = reading several books. Leanne can now go back to reading books on her Kindle instead of paperback copies.

We left rainy Hsipaw and made our way back to Yangon via a 15-hour bus. Josh was super excited to head back to the land of danger and peril but he made amends with that hole in the sidewalk.

Eating at Feel Myanmar. This is the restaurant we were headed to that fateful night that Josh fell through the sidewalk.

We said our goodbyes to Myanmar and made our way back to Bangkok. We will forever have a place in our hearts for Myanmar and its wonderful people. It's amazing how people with so little can offer so much.

We were only in Bangkok for two days before leaving on a flight to Cambodia. This was enough time for us to get a few solid meals in our bellies. We each lost five pounds in Myanmar. Leanne was also able to get a pair of jelly heals...all the Asian women are sporting this look.

Meanwhile, Josh drafted his Fantasy Football team making it 13 years in a row with the same league. Traveling around the world won't stop this guy! He was able to write so his had is on the mend. A pharmacist in Bangkok told him to take a stronger antibiotic for five days and gave him some special cream. Within one day the infection was gone and has not returned.

He Skyped with his buddies in San Antonio. They sent us this picture. Oh the joys of technology!

Goodbye Bangkok, hello Cambodia!

We will have an update from Cambodia soon. As always, thanks for following! 

Leanne & Josh


  1. I love, love, love reading this blog. Thamks for keeping us posted. josh, i look forward to giving you a beat down from across the globe in FF. keep that hand clean buddy. Can you imagine if you had to have some kind of surgery in a third world country? I wonder how much it would cost, "for you only $25.00". Leanne, I hope you are feeling better after "the revenge" and I love those jelly high heels!!! Love you guys, stay thirsty my friends

  2. Such cool stories. It is awesome to hear about kindness and love coming from different types of strangers all over the world. Gives us hope, ya know :) And yes Leanne, a lot of us are more blessed then we will ever know.