vickygoestravelling

my journey to health and well being via exotic destinations


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Burmese days 3 – the road to Mandalay

Myanmar blog114

The Gokteik railway viaduct, built 1899. Spectacular

BY THE old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin’ lazy at the sea,
There’s a Burma girl a-settin’, and I know she thinks o’ me;
For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say:
“Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay! “
Come you back to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay:
Can’t you ‘ear their paddles chunkin’ from Rangoon to Mandalay ?
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin’-fishes play,
An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay!

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Burmese days 2 – trekking from Hsipaw to Pamkam

Shan countryside, planted with maize and rice

Shan countryside, planted with maize and rice

We arrive in Lashio, gateway to North Shan province, after a short delay due to fog: the planes all do round robin-trips so one late start puts the whole day out of synch. Our bus takes us to Hsipaw, where we will begin our trek. It meanders alongside a big river for two hours, past groves of oranges, papaya and the odd pagoda; we stop and watch men extracting pebbles for building from the river using an ancient form of technology. It seems time has stood still. Continue reading


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Burmese days – first stop Yangon

Shwedagong pagoda at dusk

Shwedagong pagoda at dusk

In Myanmar at last, what a way to celebrate Ross’s birthday! We trickle in from our respective destinations, all 10 of us, friends and family – Christine, Diego, Hilary and John, Jane and Trevor, Rick and Lucille –  who have come together for our tailor-made ‘off the beaten track’ adventure. Continue reading


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Back from Myanmar – taster of the travels

Meanwhile here are a few photos to keep you going until I get down to writing…we had a simply wonderful time!

 

Balloons over Bagan

Balloons over Bagan

Scenery on the trek up to the Palaung village of Pamkam, in North Shan

Scenery on the trek up to the Palaung village of Pamkam, in North Shan

Palaung woman in Pamkam village

Palaung woman in Pamkam village

Lotus flower seller outside temple in Mandalay

Lotus flower seller outside temple in Mandalay

The most sumptuous of allBagan pagodas

The most sumptuous of all Bagan pagodas

Fishermen at Inle Lake

Fishermen at Inle Lake

Pao woman and baby at Inthein weekly market, Inle Lake

Pao woman and baby at Inthein weekly market, Inle Lake


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Diving with mantas, sharks, seahorses and birds of paradise in West Papua

A giant reef manata circles overhead

A giant reef manta circles overhead

V&R window

peering through a window in the reef, current surprisingly strong so quite difficult!

In front of the Dewi Nusantara, sails unfurled

In front of the Dewi Nusantara, sails unfurled

The 10 days in between the two Indonesia trips has passed in a flash and suddenly we are boarding a plane to Bali where we spend two nights. The hotel, the Puri Santrian, is rather tired, décor definitely more 90s than noughties, but the people are friendly. But we hit lucky with the taxi they book to take us to the ancient temple of Uluwatu. Widi speaks good English, but even better Japanese. He tells us he spent four years in Japan working in a factory. When he returned he had enough money to build a house, buy two taxis and start a business, plus educate his four children. Now he wants to go back so he can put them through university. His wife gets up at 3.30 am to go to the market – every day! He is a good guide, and even helps some silly tourists who have their prescription glasses stolen by the notorious temple macaques. We are forewarned and he is forearmed with a big stick!

Continue reading


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Hati! Hati! Biking round Borobudur

Lame lady on bike - Hati! Hati!

Lame lady on bike – Hati! Hati! – danger! danger! too right!

Surely it can’t be almost a whole month since I last wrote a post? But I check the blog and it is a fact. And, no, its not because I have been doing anything fascinating; rather more prosaic than that – just head down, writing, getting an agent and finishing the book!

I had two offers on the table and was weighing up the pros and cons of each, when the little voice in my head (ie the Society of Authors and former agent and friend, Jo) kept niggling at me to give the agent one more try. So I sent off an email and received one by return saying he would take me on. Ian Drury at Sheila Land, v respectable agency. So now we wait…it’s the story of my life!

Also been busy putting the finishing touches to the website, with Ross’s help of course, www.healthylivingwithcancer.co which I launched about 10 days ago. It’s a slow build and I keep it out there by publishing a recipe every day. It will be word of mouth, or click, and I think it will gradually grow as nothing gets people going like cancer. If you haven’t looked at it already, click and see. Would love to hear any feedback. Continue reading


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Speedo – 5 days in Bangkok & on the Burma Railway

The reclining Buddha

The reclining Buddha

Five days in Bangkok leave me breathless, yet full of energy! We are here to meet up with Dr Fi and her family, and also to catch up with another old uni chum, Patrick Brooks, who has been living a Somerset Maugham-type of existence for the past 30 years or so (actually an ex-dip and now consulting for the EU, trying to teach them diplomacy – the EU that is, rather than the Vietnamese or the Thais, who seem perfectly good at people skills if you ask me). Continue reading


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And now – it’s diving in Sulawesi!

Enormous greenback turtle, as big as me!

Enormous greenback turtle, as big as me!

Two national parks within a week, four days to be precise! From Mana Pools, Zimbabwe to Bunaken island, North Sulawesi, via Joburg and Singapore! I barely had time to unpack before taking advantage of the long Eid el Fitr weekend and setting off to chart new territories. Continue reading


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Solo sightseeing: the hutongs of Beijing in 42 C

 

The shady market scene in one of the backstreet hutongs

The shady market scene in one of the backstreet hutongs

It’s the anniversary of Dad’s death two years ago,  and I need to do something positive to take my mind of all the losses of recent years.

So I decide to branch out and see some of Beijing on my own: the hutongs beckon. Hutongs are the very core of the city, vibrant and thriving communities, which date back to Mongol times. In the 1950s there were as many of 6000 of these streets crisscrossing the city – all east to west for good feng shui – but the bulldozers moved in and razed many to the ground in the name of progress. Now around 2000 remain, and the government seems to have realised that they are good tourist attractions and can feed their coffers with tax; the destruction seems to be on hold. Continue reading


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Lame Lady limps round the Forbidden City and other Beijing Imperial sites

Golden roofs of the \Forbidden City

Golden roofs of the Forbidden City

My second tour, to all the classic sites – Tian’anmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace – is far less fun than my trip to the Wall. As I said before, it’s all about the company you keep: the two German girls of Turkish origin were perfectly nice, but kept to themselves, and the guide – who proudly showed us photos of him with Daniel Craig, Bill Clinton and other celebs – was, as a result, rather big for his boots and decided that the three of us did not merit any more than a cursory whizz around. He also had a smartass answer for everything, which grated after a while. Continue reading