Posted by: facetothewind | March 2, 2012

“Well, what did you expect?”

Here in 5 parts are the videos of our month in Burma. The clips are just strung together. I didn’t do any fancy editing. But if you want to take a peek behind the iron curtain in an hour here you go. It will save you having diarrhea and having to fly 30 hours.

One note, you’ll see us say, “Well, what did you expect?” a few times. The backstory is this: Our first night in Burma, Sebastian and I were looking for a restaurant which in Yangon is not an easy thing. There are lots of food stalls and people cooking on the street but few places resembling a restaurant where you wouldn’t get seriously sick. So we found a block of streets with a bunch of chaotic looking places with people dining on little chairs amid the chaos of the street life. We were both like, “Oh dear. Which one will not get us sick?” Then I saw a western couple with toothpicks who looked like they’d just finished eating. Great. I’ll ask them. So I went up, “Excuse me do you speak English.” “Yes, yes we do.” I detected a European accent but wasn’t sure exactly what/where it was from.

Me: “We’re looking for a good restaurant. Can you recommend one?”
Him: “These are ALL restaurants.”
Me: “Yes, I can see that but is there one you’d recommend?”
Him, sternly: “Vell, wass did you expict?” Throwing his shoulders up and smirking at me.
Me: “I’m just asking for a recommendation. Nevermind.”

And we walked away. I then knew from which warm and fuzzy country he hailed. I think Sebastian probably found it amusing being a fellow countryman who always keeps his nationality secret when he travels.

I think he read my mind. Yeah, we were a little dismayed to see that one had to dine in what looked like a viral nightmare. Yeah, we were expecting to find old Asia. And so that became the little running joke of the trip…”Vell, vass did you expict?” Every time we got on a horrible bus ride where we were shaken to the bone on the potholed roads we recited our little motto and laughed. When we lay down to sleep in a hotel with heinous noises outside, when the mosque started chanting at 4:30 am outside our window, when the train was 4 hours late, when we sat in a cloud of diesel smoke in the back of a pickup truck, “Well, vass did you expect?”

This is the old Asia. But it’s not the ancient Asia. Old Asia has potholey roads, belching diesel trucks and motorcycles with heft hornage. The “ancient” Asia with ox carts and bicycles…well that has been gone for more than half a century.

So here you go. The journey begins on the jet from America and to Yangon. Part: 1…

Part 2. On to Bagan by train and a horrible bus ride to Mandalay…

Part 3: Mandalay, Pyin Oo Lwin, Hsipaw and Mrs. Popcorn…

Part 4: The amazing train ride across the 1901 Goktiek Viaduct and then on to Inle Lake and a silk weaving village…

Part 5: Finally to Ngapali Beach then back to Yangon and on to Thailand…



  1. Ox carts aplenty south of Yangon on the itinerary I gave to Larry and Carol. Shame you missed the beautiful ancient part of Burma.
    Hugs, Deb x

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