Saturday, July 26, 2014

MARCH 7, 2014: GOODBYE MRAUK U, BOAT BACK TO SITTWE, ARRIVAL YANGON


March 7, 2014

     We are up at 5:30 am to leave.  Settled hotel bill. 200k for some drinks from the mini fridge in our room.  Said our goodbyes to staff, took some last minute pictures.  We have really enjoyed our stay at this hotel.  It is a place we'd stay again.  www.shwethazinhotel.com
Reception

Breakfast room

Breakfast starts at 6:30 am

   





   







     Since we have an extra passenger in the Jeep with us our luggage is placed on the vehicle's roof.  I forgot to take the video camera our of the camera gear carry on as I had wanted to video our departure going through town.  I'm tired and still recovering from my respiratory illness so I'll blame it on that!  When we get to the jetty area I take a picture of our driver who has been with us since we arrived in Mrauk U and give him a nice tip.  (Usually I bring little thank you cards with me on these trips and I write something about our time with the person and put the tip in that card all in a sealed envelope but I forgot to bring them with me on this trip.  I think it's a nicer way of saying thanks than just handing over the money.  I only do the cards for a person that has been with us longer than a day or so.)  I see that there is a gov't ferry departing also.  Much bigger boat and full with people.  I have my video camera so I take some movies of the action around the jetty/boat dock.  We have breakfast boxes from the hotel even though we didn't ask for them.  They include hard boiled eggs, bananas, toast.  It's hard to say goodbye to MRAUK U as here we have experienced an authentic view of Burmese life and culture.  You really need 3 full days here and I would recommend that.  It didn't happen for us as we saw so many other places and didn't have that 1 extra day available.


Driving to the jetty in Mrauk U





The best driver in Mrauk U!!

Our boat-a different one this time going back to Sittwe

Walking through a boat to get on ours

     The Kiccepandi River is much busier in the morning so I take more pictures as we go down river to SITTWE.  I only eat 1 slice of the toast and some Nescafe 3 in 1 coffee from a packet.  And you know what, it doesn't taste all that bad.  Now I'm not a big coffee connoisseur but I know when coffee tastes horrible!  We leave at 6:45 am.  The gov't ferry passes us!   We arrive in Sittwe at 11:45 am so the trip back is faster-only 5 hrs.  This boat was not the same one we had before.  This boat is ok but the first boat was nicer.
Leaving Mrauk U




Mrauk U Princess Resort boat-very nice

Making coffee





Richard will sit outside the entire trip






The gov't ferry






The gov't ferry is passing us












Arriving to Sittwe



   














     U Than thinks we should stop for lunch since we have the time.  Our flight doesn't leave until 4:10 pm.  If I had known we'd be in Sittwe so early I would have arranged with One Stop to do some sightseeing here.  I didn't think to ask U Than about it until we were back home in the US!!  We do see some sights as we drive through town.  This place is very busy and I think spending time here would be good.  There are some very nice houses here.























     Lunch is at RIVER VALLEY SEAFOOD RESTAURANT which is a very large place.  No other tourists there.  In fact I haven't seen any other tourists since we arrived in Sittwe.  We order fried rice with chicken, steamed rice with vegetables, coke, sprite. Cost 5500k.












     We see more Sittwe sights as we head to the airport.







     We arrive at the airport about 1:00 pm.  U Than handles the immigration process but I watch.  He gives our passports to the guy.  That guy the looks up our passport info in this ledger and makes a check mark next to our names.  Means we are leaving.  That's how they monitor you coming into the area and then when you leave.  I take a picture of our great guide and give him a nice tip for all that he has done for us.  He has shared so much of his town of Mrauk U with us.  He was so worried when I was sick insisting to let him know if I needed a rest while sightseeing.  He says he can wait with us until we board but we tell him we're fine.  We let him know how much we appreciated and enjoyed the time we spent with him.  We wish him and his family much success and happiness.
The most wonderful guide in Mrauk U!!
     We check in with AIR KBZ.  Our flight is K7 423, departing Sittwe at 4:10 pm and arriving Yangon at 5:30 pm.  Our bags are weighed and checked through and we are given boarding passes-no seat assignment-and our stickers.  I'm going to miss these stickers.  This is our last flight in Myanmar/Burma.  The waiting area is full of locals and -there they are-other tourists.  Not many but at least it's not just us.  All seats are taken so we stand around and I look to see if there's anything I want to buy.  I buy some postcards.  By 1:30 pm the waiting area is almost empty.  Finally our plane arrives, we wait a bit, and then we start boarding.  We walk to the plane.  We're able to get 2 seats together this time.  We leave on time and before you can blink the attendants are handing out drinks-sprite, coke, or orange.  Then a small meal box!  Inside is a slice of yellow cake with  pineapple on top and a croissant.  We also get water and I opt for tea..  It's very good.  These flight attendants are very efficient as the ones on the other airlines in this country were.  I'm impressed.  The only negative about this flight was the air cooling system not working that well and I felt warm, almost, hot, the entire trip.  Good thing it was a short flight.





Sittwe Airport-seen from the plane











     We arrive in Yangon, collect our bags.  I'm thinking I need to call One Stop as I don't know when we're being picked up tomorrow morning for our overnight trip to Golden Rock.  I thought that info was on my papers but it isn't.  I'm on my way to get a taxi when I see a guy with a sign with our names on it!  I had no idea we were being met at the airport.  A nice surprise.  His name is Kyaw Thann and he has the greatest smile.  He will be our driver to Golden Rock.  He will turn out to not be just our driver but will relay all sorts of info/stories.  He was great!  His contact info    e-mail   kyawthann@gmail.com,     phone   +959 450046047,   facebook   www.facebook.com/Kyaw Than.  We discuss our itinerary.  We want to stop at the Allied War Cemetery and Bago for some sightseeing.  He says no problem and he will pick us up at 8:30 am tomorrow.
Arriving in Yangon

Air KBZ shuttle



Kyaw Thann

     He drops us off at the SUMMIT PARKVIEW.  This is the second time we're staying here and the staff remembers us!  Welcome drinks, cold towel, etc.   We make arrangements to leave our bags as we will be back for our final stay on March 9th.  We will only take a backpack for Golden Rock.  I also ask reception to make a reservation for us for Karaweik dinner show for March 9th evening.  Now we are in room #323 which has an even better view of Shwedagon.

























  Dinner at the hotel.  We both order the minestrone soup (it's that good!) and and mixed green salad to share.  Drinks and food with 10% service charge added 14000k.
Watermelon art

Minestrone soup


Mixed green salad
  

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