Oct 15, 2012

Pagoda WiFi FTW

God damn I love the modern world.

Here I am, in Old Bagan, a 42km square world heritage site containing 2237 pagodas, stupas and temples... And there's a free wifi hotspot.

The Irrawaddy River 'Boomer Cruise' as I've come to call it is progressing nicely. There's a punishing schedule of relaxing, eating and sight seeing everyday. It's a bit unfair - for at least one meal a day I actually have to choose my main course. That requires actually making a decision. And it's all delicious. Talk about a white man's burden.

Jokes aside, this is a beautiful country with lovely people. Bagan is an absolute wonder, rivalling Angkor in Cambodia in scale and beauty. (Similar eras, but different styles).

In the tourist attractions like this, the touts and spruikers are relentless. Getting through them to a temple entrance is like running a trinket gauntlet. My best strategy is ignoring them, but I feel horrible doing it. They are tying to make a living and nothing is very expensive (although I do have limited backpack space).

Yesterday we visited a couple of local villages, reasonably untouched by fat white westerners like me and the Boomers. The kids scrambled about us, holding our hands, laughing and playing. One little girl refused to let me out of her sight. She even grabbed my camera strap whenever it slipped from my shoulders. 'Watch out, watch out,' is what she seemed to say.

I felt like a pudgy Angelina Jolie.

The ship's crew ask that you don't give gifts, so the children don't come to expect presents from tourists. Nevertheless, I felt so guilty receiving this fandom, I felt I had to do something. So I may have started a high five craze, and the old 'breaking thumb' trick got a good workout. I wished to Buddha that I'd learnt how to pull things from behind people's ears.

I tell you what else happens on a Boomer cruise - early nights. Everyone's in their cabin by 9:30pm, and as yet nobody's been keen on my suggestion of a Texas Hold'Em tournament.

Maybe somebody can teach me bridge.

I bought an iPad before I left Australia, but all I loaded onto it before I went was True Blood Season 5. That's about old people too, in a way, so I guess it's kind of appropriate.

Still, I am getting a fair amount of sleep, which is grand.

Ok, WiFi is fading. Mingalabar.

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