As I type this I’m flying over the East China Sea while simultaneously watching a documentary about medieval torture methods thanks to Cathay Pacific’s festive in-flight entertainment. They’ve just covered the crucifixion, and I am now blessed with the knowledge that Jesus did not die a happy man. To be perfectly honest, I’d rather be watching Home Alone – after all, Joe Pesci’s head getting set on fire is much more fun than an in-depth reconstruction of someone dying in abject misery. But hey, I don’t call the shots here at Cathay Pacific, so I should just eat my complimentary packet of peanuts and shut up.
I’m en route to Bangkok via Hong Kong – the first of seven flights I’ll be taking over the next fourteen days. On Christmas Eve, after a short stint in Thailand, I fly to Yangon, the capital of Myanmar (Burma) – a country I’ve never been to before. From there, it’s another flight north to the majestic Temples of Bagan before flying back to Bangkok via Mandalay for NYE.
I’m excited about seeing Myanmar for the first time. By all accounts, this could be my last chance to see the country in its true naked state before it gets swallowed up by the SE Asia backpacker trail. Logistically, however, the Burmese don’t like to make things easy. There are no ATMs in the whole region, so I have to bring a wad of mint-condition $100 bills with me to change on the black market. It’s this kind of thing though that makes a trip like this so appealing: not really knowing what you’re getting yourself into.
I seem to thrive on the unknown. So let’s see what the next few weeks have in store.