A Travellerspoint blog

Burma has the Internet, or at least that's what we've heard

Sorry for the dearth of posts in the past couple of weeks. Myanmar/Burma does not have the "best" internet. Every guesthouse outside of Yangon/Rangoon, said they had wifi and internet access. After agreeing to stay at these places, we find out the internet doesn't work so well from 8 am to about 10 pm. Not sure why, and no real explanation was ever offered. One place, the wifi was just some guy using his cell phone as a hotspot. It did not work so well. Later i discovered how Myanmar has truly conquered the information superhighway.

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This man delivers internet data packets at 8 am and then 10 pm from his ox carriage. Maybe the modernization of Myanmar will be a good thing. Now on to the new posts.

Posted by Scatman 09:44 Archived in Myanmar Comments (0)

Quick Confession Time...

After 6 weeks on the road, I broke down and gave into temptation. I am hear to confess, "I cheated." After years of never straying, I gave into weakness and cheated with this guy. No words were exchanged, as he didn't speak English and I didn't speak Vietnamese. I pantomimed what I wanted done, and he pointed to how much it would cost.
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I knew being away from home would require me to see another, but I never thought it would be with this guy.

Of course, I am talking about my barber and getting a haircut. I've been seeing the same barber, thanks Steve, for at least the past 9 years and no one else has cut my hair in that time.
With this guy it was a little surreal at times. Being a Hanoi barber, he spoke basically no English. I am used to having a conversation while sitting in the chair. There was none of that. I was also WORRIED that I would end up with a cut like his. Being unable to communicate left me at his mercy. Ultimately, he gave me a decent cut, slightly flattened out one side of my head, but all in all not too bad. All for 6 bucks.

Posted by Scatman 09:38 Archived in Vietnam Comments (2)

On the Road to Shangri-La...

Adventures in Tiger Leaping Gorge

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After getting some needed downtime in Lijiang, we decided to hit the trails again in Yunnan Province. But where to go? Like other travellers before us, we went in search of Shangri-La. We had heard at the local lamasery that the man who knew the true location of the Shangri-La from the James Hilton novel could be found at the middle of Tiger Leaping Gorge, short 3 hr, 88 km, bus ride from Lijiang. What the damn monk didn't tell us, is that it would involve 22 km of hiking! As we found out more, we realized we needed to stay over night on the trail due to the timing of the buses. We had our work cut out for us. Once the bus let us off, we were confronted by the beauty of the wilds of Yunnan Province.
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Ashley is smiling there because that is before we reached the land of 28 switchbacks. About 2.5 hrs into the hike, you reach a sign that let's you know you've got a new ascent ahead of you consisting of 28 switchbacks. Considering the hike started at 2500 m of elevation, it was definitely challenging.
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The one positive piece of such a challenging hike, was the vistas. Since we were hiking a path below mountains at 5500 meters and a river at 2500 meters, it made for some natural beauty and not nearly enough oxygen in the air for me to ever catch my breath. You guys better enjoy the pretty pictures!
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Once over the switchbacks, it was pretty level hike into the guesthouse called the "Tea Horse" which would provide our lodging, food, and beer for the evening.
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Clearly, the beers were medically necessary at this point, as all the views reminded Ashley of only the Coors Light can.
From this guesthouse, the views across the gorge were amazing.
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You can see the guesthouse in the left hand side of the picture. All the positives of the view and location, were trumped by what the guesthouse lacked, any functioning heating, insulation, or hot water. I wasn't expecting the Ritz in literally BFE China, but man was it cold in that room that night. The mountains were blue!
The next morning Ashley and I rose early to making down to the rock in the middle of the gorge. We still had about 6 km to go until the descent into the gorge.
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For proof of me actually getting up early, I submit to you a photo of the first light breaking out over Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
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We finally make it to the next town to begin our descent into the gorge. I find out its 1.5 km down (and eventually up) and 10 RMB a head to pass. We press on. Lighter by 20 RMB and 20 lbs of water from sweating, makes the descent relatively easy, as long as you don't mind 1.5 km of descent via hastily cut stairs in the dirt and "high quality" welded Chinese ladders.
At the bottom, the river's torrent creates such a white noise, that normal conversation is impossible.
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We find the old man who know of the real Shangri-La, but alas he only speaks Naxi, a local language. Those damn monks, again! Then Ashley turns to me and asks, "Is that what this is all about? Figuring our where Shangri-La is? ". "Of course, it is our quest!" I hastily retort. She craftily replies, "Uh, you illiterate ass, it's in the guidebook." We start the trek back up, out of the gorge. If it's 1.5 km down, it's 1.5 km back up. Not fun.
With quads and calves afire, we make it out of the gorge and to lunch and WiFi. We find out Zhongdian ( China's claim as Shangri-La) has an expected high of 40 F and low of about 15 F for the foreseeable future, weather wise. We choose the bus back to Lijiang.
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Posted by Scatman 08:40 Archived in China Comments (4)

Hong Kong is for the Shoppers!

Three Tiffany's in 1 city? Not a problem! Prada, Gucci, and even better places that I have never heard of? You got it! Hong Kong is all about the shopping, making me blissfully happy there. Also the food is delic' and the views are top class from Victoria Peak. I loved walking around along the lengthy and criss-crossing elevated pedestrian-only sidewalks (almost like streets!) and also adored the edgy Art Museum. And (since I know some of you have been tracking this) it was our first chance to be warm on our Round The World trip. Yay!

Here are a couple of shots of us riding up the funicular to the top of the peak in Hong Kong. You can see the other car at the other end of the cable on its way down the peak in this action packed photo.
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Three days in the city were fabulous and I super enjoyed the chance to meet with long time friend Diana Li and her pals as they made their way to Thailand. Poor Dave was one guy among too many gals...who all enjoyed talking about weddings throughout dinner. Maybe in this case Dave really was a martyr??

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Posted by Equatorials 09:26 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Hong Kong is for the Shoppers!

Three Tiffany's in 1 city? Not a problem! Prada, Gucci, and even better places that I have never heard of? You got it! Hong Kong is all about the shopping, making me blissfully happy there. Also the food is delic' and the views are top class from Victoria Peak. I loved walking around along the lengthy and criss-crossing elevated pedestrian-only sidewalks (almost like streets!) and also adored the edgy Art Museum. And (since I know some of you have been tracking this) it was our first chance to be warm on our Round The World trip. Yay!

Three days in the city were fabulous and I super enjoyed the chance to meet with long time friend Diana Li and her pals as they made their way to Thailand. Poor Dave was one guy among too many gals...who all enjoyed talking about weddings throughout dinner. Maybe in this case Dave really was a martyr??

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Posted by Equatorials 09:26 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (2)

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