So it’s been another year since my last journey over the holiday period. I did fly across to Japan (I’m based in Melbourne) a few times this year, but visiting your hometown hardly qualifies as ‘travelling’ so there was really nothing to talk about here. But over the last few months I have been feeling the itch, and I knew it was the bug that is raising its head again… I need to get out there, on the road, again.

The first destination that came to my mind was Burma. I thought about going there about 5 years ago. The country was still in a more tricky situation, and Aung San Suu Kyi was still under house arrest, I think. Reading the editorial message on the first part of Lonely Planet, I figured… there are two ways to look at it: One, the money you spend in that country was feeding the military regime. Just accepting the immigration stamp of the country whose control was taken by force by military regime is a form of your endorsement, that it is okay and I recognise that state. The other, which editorial quoted as Aung San Suu Kyi’s other view (both her views, actually), is that even if military regime made revenue from foreign visitors, some money or job will inevitably benefit the local residents in some form, and they are starving, after years of sanction from western countries. So that was that. At that time, I did not have the mental capacity to deal with it, and I picked up a destination which was in a similar book in terms of my destinations – Luang Prabang in Laos. That was a fun trip, and I still feel I need to go back there, and sit down with that young monk again. I was there the day he became a monk from a novice. I would want to tell his story, a story of many young people just like him in that country. Perhaps if I could monetise that story or my photography, perhaps I could assist him in some way.
Putting on the new robe as a monk for the first time
I dropped off course there. Burma, yes. I looked up on Lonely Planet website (does anyone actually like that new website?), and did a quick google search and came out with everyone saying it has become one of not-so-cheap destinations since it’s formal opening to the outside world. That is not what I was hoping to hear. Surely it is still as under-developed and genuine a place to be, and you can probably avoid the tourism rebuilding everything with plastic and coke cans, but I cannot really afford a not-so-cheap and it may make sense to go once the commercialism takes off and more people start running guest houses, bringing accommodation rate lower… So I crossed it off, for now.

Words of wishes to those above

OK. Rather than making a long single entry, let me cut it off here… I have a few more things to tell you before the idea becomes a plan. It occurred to me 1 hour and 20 minutes ago, but now it is almost a makeable idea. I have asked my boss whether I’d be allowed to go for a long trip… I’ll tell you more about it next time.

See, finally, something other than the Maly train info (everyone seems to come read that on my blog – isn’t there somebody writing decent material about that, with more up-to-date content? My log is ancient now!)

Passengers for over-night train