There is so much that I regret about my brief time in Burma.
I travelled through the country for two weeks at the beginning of 2011, at the very end of the first part of my round the world trip. But I barely scratched the surface. My good friend Alicia had come all the way to Sydney met me in Bangkok just in time for us to board an Air Asia flight to Rangoon and I felt horribly guilty that she’d travelled so far and I was being, let’s face it, a horrible travel companion.
Our itinerary I left completely up to Alicia. I did no research about the country and spent most of the time there moping and wondering when the government in Myanmar was going to turn the internet back on – I was on the cusp of heartbreak and desperately wanted to be able to log in to Gmail and – sigh – Facebook.
I was tired. I was sick constantly and so done with being dirty and smelly all the time. I was nine months in to my round the world trip and – gasp! – bored of travelling. And poor Myanmar copped the brunt of my listlessness.
It is an incredible place to travel to. In February 2011 there were barely any other foreigners in the country and those that were were French or German. The temples were amazing, the people never stopped smiling. The dictatorship was a constant, invisible presence and changing money felt like participating in a drug deal.
But I didn’t do the country justice and I was numb to most of it. It takes 12 hours to travel 300 kilometres in Burma and so poor planning meant that we only had time to visit Rangoon, Mandalay and Bagan before making it back to the airport in time for Alicia’s flight to Bangkok and onwards to, of all places, the faraway Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan.
So because Asia is on my mind lately, over the next couple of weeks I’m going to be posting some of the photos I took in Burma, those that I’m rediscovering now I’m back in Sydney and have a year of distance from the way I felt last February.
Don’t worry. I will write more about Peru. And Bolivia. And Argentina. And maybe even what it’s like to be home. And where I’m going next.