landscape image - Burma, the golden shadow
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  • Fly to: Yangon, Burma

  • Internal Transfer: 4 flights to Thandwe, Heho, Mandalay & Bagan

  • Visa required: Yes if British

  • Currency:Myanmar Kyat (MMK)

  • Time Zone:+6hrs30mins GMT

  • Journal:Click here

Day 11, 16/02/11: Burma - The Golden Shadow

Up for the 3hr bus journey to Inle Lake; on arrival we took up our positions, five to a long, thin boat single file.

Early afternoon we stopped off at a pagoda situated on the lake, as we sat in the temple I started to feel drowsy, a wave of lethargy enveloped me, I'd hit the proverbial wall. I sat trying to concentrate, trying to stay focused but my mind just wasn't into it and my body became unsettled, fidgety; if I'm honest I couldn't wait to get out of there.

Our hotel was amazing, a wooden complex that rose on stilts above the Inle waters. For some reason I'm feeling out of sorts today, a feeling further exasperated when I was taken to my room. Now anyone else would have gushed with excitement but the location of the room surfaced a lot of my insecurities.

My little stilted house couldn't be further away from the main complex; seriously I'm the last house out before the great abyss. Like I said I'm sure anyone else would have been thrilled but as I looked out I just felt trapped, isolated. The floating gardens were stunning, breathtakingly so but right now they just serve to remind me of how trapped I feel, trapped in a swamp. If I wanted to break free; step out I'd just sink, sink like poor Artex did in the swamp of sadness.

This place is so beautiful, so much so that I'm astounded at my reaction, my inner discontent. Since arriving here I've busied myself intently, I've done all my washing, showered (removing four giant wasps first!), I've accidently pulled the bathroom roman blinds off the wall, I've written my journal... but none of that changes the fact that I'm surrounded by a giant 22km pond.

As the sun sets to my left behind the distant mountains, I regain a sense of me, a sense that my reaction is not about this place but about my own insecurities; those insecurities which remain present even if they're usually somewhat buried. Here, in this pond, my reptilian brain is compromised; my 'flight' mechanism restricted which in turn has triggered my sense of feeling cornered.

After dinner & an evening where once again Whitney Houston's 'I will always love you' played in the background; I headed out for what felt like ages... the long walk back to my room.

At midnight I awoke, my mouth watering, my body shivering cold. With a surge of activity I leapt, trying to fight my way out of a fly net cocoon. As I reached the bathroom I opened the door and vomited across the floor, desperately trying to get to the toilet. The waves of nausea kept coming and coming with little, if any respite in between. Paired with sickness came dysentery; things in this picturesque stilted house were not pretty tonight.

Looking at the scene before me I'm amazed at how much food I must've eaten. Shivering cold I climbed into the shower, washed the floor, brushed my teeth & climbed back into bed; feeling much better now that I'd been sick.