Messages From Myanmar #08
21 December 2015
Photo Update Alert:
“Yangon River Cruise”
Hello there… Rodger French here.
I love port towns. As a kid, I spent many hours on the Belle of Louisville, a 1914-vintage steamboat, on the Ohio River. But a true appreciation for ports and maritime cities emerged as a result of sea duty during my hitch in the U.S. Navy. My first ports of call were Port of Spain, Trinidad and Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), Mozambique, and I was hooked. So when the CLO announced a sunset cruise on the Yangon River, A.J. (who grew up in a port city, Mobile, AL) immediately signed us up.
It should have been easy. We got a taxi at The Shang to take us to the American Embassy, where we planned to join our compatriots for a bus ride to Batahtaung Jetty, hence to our designated vessel, the “Dora.” Small problem. Our driver, a young man of limited experience, began taking us to the American Center, which is in a completely different part of town.
And then it gets worse.
By the time we realized what was, indeed, up, we had missed the bus and had to alter course to make for the harbour. (Hindsight being 20/20, that should have been Plan A.) Now we’re stuck in Yangon’s horrible traffic, trying desperately to maintain a Zen-like outlook on the situation. Mercifully, after about 90 minutes, we spotted our landmark, Batahtaung Pagoda, and arrived with a few moments to spare.
The Dora is a lovely small cruise boat and comfortably accommodated our party of 30. (Photo, not mine, in the link above.) We had a wonderful excursion, lasting - like our taxi ride - about 90 minutes. Our hostess, and boat owner, Ce Ce Htwe and her crew could not have been more gracious.
The Yangon River is a bustling place. On the north/east bank are a floating hotel, numerous party barges, and docks for commercial river cruise vessels as well as terminals for large container ships. Across the river are ship repair facilities; basically places where boats are dragged out of the water to be (a) restored to working order or (b) abandoned. Larger ferries and countless small water taxis crisscross constantly, transporting people and goods. We had a terrific time and look forward to further exploration of the area.
Back at the ranch, the holidaze are upon us and we have actual plans. Well, a plan. Anne has serendipitously scored an invitation to a Burmese wedding, so we will join about 1000 other guests in a hotel ballroom on Christmas morning for what promises to be a memorable spectacle. Otherwise, we’re maintaining a low profile, especially on New Year’s Eve, when alcohol-enhanced revelers reportedly turn out in large numbers.
[Annual Shameless Commerce Sidebar - In the spirit of the season, I’d like to remind you all that the first three collections of these postings - from Ghana, Pretoria, and Buenos Aires - are still resolutely for sale at Amazon.com. Entertaining, yet cheap; perfect gifts for any occasion… except perhaps a wedding.]
Whatever your plans may be and wherever they take you, I hope you’re able to keep calm, remain sane, and enjoy. As for us, we intend to take fewer taxis for a bit.