Despite our glowing experience volunteering, after five days in the dungeon (my name for our room in our Mawlamyine guesthouse), we needed some respite. We also needed somewhere to clear our heads because at that point in our RTW trip, we hit the wall. We were tired and about ready to go home.
It may or may not have had something to do with our bus ride to Taungoo, which involved not being dropped off where we were supposed to be dropped off, taking a taxi to backtrack, then taking an awful bus to our destination and being mauled by taxi drivers who came on the bus before we even got our bags to cajole us to take their rides. I know traveling around the world sounds glamorous, but often, it’s really not. (See Jeremy and Kathleen’s blog for their excellent post on the reality of long-term travel.)
So, yes we were tired, but we weren’t going to call it quits just yet. There were still some goals we needed to accomplish (i.e. a meditation retreat in India), not to mention the fact that some plans and flights had already been booked. We just needed a break, to go somewhere where we didn’t “have” to do anything.*
So we went to Taungoo and splashed out — relatively speaking, $40/night — on a big, comfy, TV-equipped, air-conditioned room at Myanmar Beauty Guesthouse, an all-teak setup located just outside the city amidst rice fields, banana trees and papaya groves. Staff was on the meh side, but that’s OK. Can’t win ‘em all.
We didn’t do anything except read, eat and excitedly hash out our plans for the future when we return to the U.S. It was glorious.
Betel tree and nuts.
The guesthouse is famous for its gargantuan breakfasts, and rightly so. We had more than a dozen plates of treats — mostly of the fried or sugary variety — brought out to us each morning. (Our favorites were the samosas and fresh mangosteen.) This picture doesn’t even show everything. Shortly after I took it, they brought out three more plates.
*If you like to, ya know, do stuff, our guesthouse organizes trips to working elephant camps. At $115/person, it was way too expensive for us. Plus, it involves a super early wake-up call and seeing the pachyderms isn’t even guaranteed. Just FYI.