Egil’s Travel Log

Travelling Asia, one country at a time

On the Road in Marvelously Friendly Myanmar

On the Road in Marvelously Friendly Myanmar


Well, form Thailand it was time to travel to Myanmar (Burma), ans I was actually a bit nervous about going in here, as I had the impression it could be difficult to travel around. Also I heard the people here was really friendly, - but anyway, I felt a little unsafe before going into Myanmar. (also because I had iniatially plans to travel inlands Myanmar from the Thai border to Mandalay, and then down to Yangon (Rangoon) before flying out to KL(Malaysia), - but have to fly direct to Yangon, since inland travels was not allowed anymore..!!!)
And furthermore, I could not not have the safety of having mobile/sms to the outside world, - as this was not possible in Myanmar...

So.... I entered Myanmar by flying in to Yangon from Bangkok (had to fly from Chang Mai to Bangkok first), with a nervous smile, and did not really have any big idea of where or when to go in Myanmar from Yangon.

At the airport in Bangkok I startet talking to a girl from Japan going to Yangon too, and I quickly adopted the first part of her plans as my new backup-plan. (since my original plans had been aborted..) there is one thing I learned on this travel... a bad plan is better than no plan... no plans only leaves you doing,... well nothing (just as planed))

Well landed in Yangon, I got hang on another guy to a hotel mentioned in the Lonely Planet guide.. so I got free transport to this hotel, as I from experience know the drivers always overcharge the newly arrived from the airport... (happened in basicly all contries I'd been to...).

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Well - my first impression of Yangon was that the people here really tried to help you, and I felt a little surpriced by this overwhelming helpfulness, as this usually by experience is followed by open hands wanting tips for doing any small things I normally do myself with no trouble.... but many here actualy just helped to be helpful, and as part of the service... not to get tips.... no need to explain why I really started to like this place... Also my 10 usd hotelroom was the nicest I've seen since my delux singleroom in Cambodia (then I took over a vacaint place in a packagetour arranged by www.bikeforpeace.no) . the room was Huge!!, and had two big doublebeds, and a bathroom just as big as many hotelrooms I've stayed in before., and 6 towels ready for use :D Surpricing luxary :)


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First I took a trip to the marked, and walked around here, trying to take in all the new impressions. Surpricingly do almost all the men in Myanmar use a leg-garment the call "Longy" - basicly a sarong for men... I heard about this from before, but still was surpriced about the number of men using this.I guess the feeling of needing a pair of pants is just a fix idea the rest of the world has got...

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And the girls almost all use a form of clay facemask, to protect their face against the sun, - and keep this mask on all day long... This seams really strange to me, but after some days I got so used to see it I did not notice it anymore...

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Since travelling in this country can be a bit timeconsouming I decided to take first bus north from Yangon to Bagan ( and espesially the last half of the road was on really bad and bumpy roads), and I did a whole day here looking at some of the 4000 temples. ... Its impressingly many temples here, but most of them are quite small, and not so impressive in them selves, but its the share number of temples thats impressive... One day was enougth here... Remarkeble about Bagan is also the big number of horsestaxies here, - many, many hundreds of them...

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Next day again it was time for anouther long busride on bumpy mountainroads, - beeing shaken in all directions..., this time to Inle Lake, and on a local small bus.... let me also mention the roads in Myanmar.... they are NOT of the best standard in Asia.... !

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At Inle Lake I got ne anouther nice room, for 6 usd a night this time,. good value, even I had to wait for 20 minutes for the water to get warm...

The first day in Inle Lake I and a other from Australia took a boatride across and around the lake of Inle Lake ( Inle Lake is both name of the lake, and the town). And this was truley a very good daytrip... Inle Lake are espesially known for the fishermens special foot-rowing techique, and its part impressive, and partly funny to watch... :) Also thay have a floating market every 5 days, but not this day... so we visited a regular Inle Lake market instead. (and I got me some Longys and some xmas presents here) Also we visit some Lotus-treadweavers, a fishfarm, a silversmith (more xmaspresents), a longneckexhibithion and weavers, a temple, a monastary and many more interesting places., - and on the way back - more fishermen and a sunset from the boat... Very nice.

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Internet is a different store, gmail, yahoo, hotmail and other western (american?) popular sites are beeing blocked from use in Myanmar, and the internet lines are, if exicting..., call-uplines of not very good quality... and mobiles, well not possible....

Next day we took a little hike with a guide in the mountains around Inle Lake, It was nice to get around by foot again (as compared to be bumping upanddown and sideways on the bus), and walk through villages, temples, caves and nice landscape. The most memorable on the trip was the people living here, and espesially the young girls , already beeing mothers and married at age of 14... As always in Myanmar, - people were extremely friendly and smiles were plenty. It was a very nice trip, but I wished it was longer... :)

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The next day we had to take a long, slow, humpy 21,5 hour bus back to Yangon. This was a new record for me in long (bumpy) busride... - and normally the driver would drive 4-4,5 hours before stopping for wc and food/supplies... Did I mention the roads in Myanmar... ? They are really not very good.... ;)

Well back and still shaken, but not stired, we had a day in front of us, whitch I used for hunting down any possibility for getting from Yangon to KL (Malaysia) , since there was no possibility to order by net (since the net refused me to stay logged in to Air Asias webpages... and some hours later, and quite a bit us dollar in commision I had a ticket to KL via Bangkok the next morning... so my last day I could have used for sightseeing, but used for tickethunting instrad...

All in all Myanmar has to be one of my top favourite destinations, - Im really happy I took the chance to visit this country, in which has people with wonderful big smiles, and really helpful and serviceminded attitude. Myanmar also has very good hotelstandard compared to what you should expect compared to the rest of the standard of infrastructur ( did I mention the roads? ) Also many things in Myanmar are not the same, same as other countries, whitch gives it a spesial touch.

Food are cheap and good, hotels are a bit more expencive, but really good, Postcard ar cheap, and stamps are rediculusly cheap, girls are cute, but relationships are not possible, - the internet are expencive, SLOW, and restricted, and may be on line, if lucky... Mobile cant connect and money comes in small bills, and big stables, or in USD... And I have to at least once mention the roads... which are not to good....

Myanmar is highly recommendable
(but the roads are not..)
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Short visit in Thailand...

Short visit in Thailand...


Well, to be honest, I only was in Thailand to get into Myanmar (Burma)... so I only planned a few days there to get my ticket. but as I was there, I had to see a little bit... so I decided to see Chang Rai, and Chang Mai (whitch many decribe as a Mekka for travellers).

Anouther reason I did not plan much travel in Thailand this time was because I was travelling alone, and I expect plenty of oppurtunities later to go to Thailand on a beach holiday later with friends, so I would rather use more time in all the other more "unusual vacation-targets" like Myanmar.

I decided to give at least northern Thailand a chance a few days before I went to Myanmar...

Comming into Thailand from across the Mekong River from Laos, I want straight to find the local bus to Chang Rai./ Thailand seamed like a half world apart from Laos, even it was just on the other side of the river..... Thailand was really much more developed, and happily, there was no much sales pressure here, so it was really pleseant to walk around. (Even it was hot :) )

The busride went with no problems, and then I came in to Chang Rai, I decided to follow one of the hotel-sellers who promiced the lot (you can always trust to at least not expect half of what they promice). I was really positively surpriced then I saw Bernard (an Irish I met on the slowboat and villages up the river from Laos) and "his two girls". :) So after some nice hours strawl in the nice and relaxed city of Chang Rai, we all decided to take a tour around the aria next day, arraged by the hotel.

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So next day we + a japanese girl all went around to see the Golden Triangle (Where Myanmar, Laos and Thailand meets in a triangle, the opium museum, and the facinating Long-neck Karen-tribe. Also me, Bernard and Kana (the japaneese) decided to take a littel trip into Myanmar (Burma) for half an hour and a beer, - so I got a good chance to ask the officers on the border if I could travel inlands in Myanmar as I was planning.... and the answer was no... :(
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The trip was a nice one, and next morning I went to Chang Mai on a bus, and we was stopped by the police, who checked all asianlooking persons on the bus to look for burmeese run-aways.... Luckyly they didnt find me... ;)

Chang Mai was yet anouther positive surprice in Thailand, except for the really difficulty about finding a place to buy tickets to Myanmar. So because didn't find a ticket as fast as I wanted, I ended up spending my days in Chang Mai at the markeds, and talking with friends I met here... (from S-Korea, Puerto Rico and my "old friend" Aaron, with whom I travelled in Laos.) We even took our self a little trip around some of the bars in Chang Mai, and espesialy the last night was nice, going to a nightclub where there was more locals than tourists.
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All in all it was a nice little stop in Thailand, and I look back to see more in Thailand at a later time, then I go with friends, espesially to do some trekks around Chang Mai.

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Excitingly relaxing Laos...

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Excitingly relaxing Laos...


Then the time was come for me to visit Laos, a country I actuelly started to read about in my travelguide on the flight to Vientiane, - the capital...
 
First thought was that this was HOT! - I could feel meself melting on the runway...,  and that pretty much stayed like this rest of the day/week... It was much hotter in Laos than any place I'v been so fare...  maybe also the lack of closeness to the sea had something to that feeling? 
 
I met anouther lone traveller on the airplaine, Aaron, and we decided to join forces and share a room in Vientiene, and we got a good room in a very new hotel at the riverside.
 
I think there is no other capital like Vientiane anywhere in the world (even I only seen a few...) This city is so quiet, that anywhere else it would have been counted as a "dead" city...  Barely no activity in the streets, and little traffic...
 
I was relly impressed on hoe little pressure there was from shops and sellers, it was almost like noone cared to sell anything...  it was really a relaxing atmosphere :)  , and the sunset at the Mekong River....
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Really nice !!!!   Really a peaceful town, and maybe a nice place for lovers/couple, ... the town will leave lots of time to enjoy any friendship without to much influence... ;-)    Only real strang thing was that there actually were quite a few shemales... :s
 
next Stop was Vang Vieng, - a real backpackers heaven, especially for those intrrested in pure fun-for-fun-sake, happy pizzas, long hours watching reruns of friends with friends in horisontal chairs, partying and relaxing without any thoughts of the outside world...  I certainly want to go back there later, if I'm not travelling alone...  But I felt it was not my place to use my traveltime this time (especially while on antibiotics), so I took the first bus out next morning,
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 leaving Aaron a note... :)
 
I decided to go to Phonsavanh to the the "Plain of Jars" (Norwegian: Krukkesletta). (
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Actually there is more than one field of Jars, and in this city we (me and a chech couple) organized a tour the next day with a tourcompany to see the 3 main fields + a Hmong minority village...  Very nice tour, and me and an english traveller both took lots of fun photoes at/with/under/in/on top of/becide/over the Jars :) I turned out to be a really nice day at the Jars :)
 
Luckyly we (again we and the chech couple) got lift with a private car to Luang Prabang the same evening, so we saved one day of travelling (all busses in Laos goes in daytime, so I could not do as in Vietnam, and do the travelling at night, and saving the days...
 
So we came late to Luang Prabang, and nothing much else to do but going to find a place to stay the night...  pretty full the first places, so I basicly took the first offer. Took a stroll around the city, whith looked really nice, and used a couple of hours on the terrace together with the other travellers... sharing stories and fishing for info about what to do in Luang Prabang the next day... I already decided to only sta one day (two nights) here, and then take the 2 days slow boat to the Thai border the next morning.
 
So next day I used to walk around the city a little, get my 8.74 Gb with files burned on two DVD's, and visit the most impressive temple/wat in the city/town. There was many temples/wats in L/P/, but after soon two months in Asia,
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 temples is a bit same, same but different for me... But the streets in L.P are really nice and friendly.
 
The afternoon I used to take a tour to one of the waterfalls outside L.P, whitch was definitly a great decition :),  Really a nice experience to walk and swin at/beneat the falls, - really a beautuful place... - I only wish I had someone to travel with at this time,.. some places are just more suited to be visited by more than one alone ;) 
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I really enjoyed my time there, and wish I had better time to soak in the amazing water.
 
The last two days in Laos I used to take a SlowBoat to the Thai border northwest in Laos. It was really a peaceful journey, with a beautiful view over the riverside of Mekong all the way...  and some crazy FastBoats (speepboats) passing us time after time...
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 The boattrip was used to reading, playing games, take photoes, eating, study the views, planning ahead, tellig/listening to stories, jokes and so on...  Also we were 4 ppl having cardgame, where the looser had to sing a song for the whole boat....  and soon "Oppna landskap" was heard loudly on the Mekong River... ;)
 
The worst thing in Laos was the ending, - the SlowBoat the second day suddenly for no reason was S L O W E R  than usual several hours, so strangely we missed the chance to cross the border to Thailand by a short half hour... :(   Next time I take a FastBoat the second day... ;s ....   But it did not ruin the impession must, it still was enjoyable the last night... :-)
 
All in All.... Laos was amazing,  and I REALLY want to go back here (with friends) to relax and enjoy, and hike in this beautiful country....
 
So far Laos is as a country , - on the top of my list over positive adventures :)
 
 
Egil,
currently in Thailand
- going to Burma / Myanmar...

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Same same ! ( - but different... )

Same same ! ( - but different... )


Everywhere you go in Viet Nam, people are explaining most things by comparing things with other things... and most of the time you get the comparison " Same, same... or Same, same - but different... so the whole expression becomes a big internal joke, - both between travellers, and between travellers and locals. i.e. a GuestHouse is Same, same as a Hotel, while having to sit on the backseat of a moto instead of the bus you already paid for is Same, same - but different...

After shipping home my two tailormade suits from Hoi An it was time to move on... I met some really nice irish people at a bar there, and the last morning became a lot earlier than I had planned :( hehe

We (me and Matthew, whom I travelled with much of Viet Nam) took the morningbus to Hue, including a stop at the Marble Mountains - whitch were really a nice surprice... If you ever get the chance, bring a tourch/lights and wander around in the caves here, and explore both the caves and the marble statues inside it :)
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In Hue we matched up with a couple of german girls, and used the days there to relax, eat, and walk around the city, and have a couple of beers in the evening. Next day we arranged for an local guide on a moto + 3 motoes, and we went arond Hue to see some of the local attractions, among others we visited a buddist temple in the morning seromony/services/prayers. and some american bunkers from the war, and others sights... And I got finaly to rida a moto, whitch I actually NEVER had ridden before... but after 50 meters of practice I was ready for the vietnameese traffic :-) hehe
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( Mother ! - I promice - I did NOT hurt my self... ;p )

After Hue we took the nighttrain to Hanoi where Matt had a cousin he'd stay at, and me and the girls had an agreement with a guethouse/Hotel for free pickup, whitch we actually had to pay for, and I had to pay for more than agreed, and had no hot water, and thay put on 10% tax at the bill in the end, even I did not even stay a night there! ( I decided I wanted to trekk 3 days in the north Vietnamees mountains in stead of one night in Hanoi, - and I had to leave Viet Nam the 16th (no Visa)) I really had a good impression about Hanoi, and people there - but this hotelexperience really ruined a lot of my mood there...

I bought a organiced tour (usd 70,-) for nighttrains+bustransportation to and from Sa Pa + 3 days of trekking with 2 homestays included. it was great to use my legs for walking of track again, as I have not had the chance to do it home in Norway yet in 2006. We were 6 people in the group, 4 swiss people, an irish girl and me. The first day was were nice except for a lot of "pressure" from all the tribemembers to sell us things from their handcraft production. It became so "bad" that we ended up not wanting to meet their eyes / talk to them, because that only ment they would try to sell you things... even outside the first homestay we got "run over" by the sellers :( this ruined a little of the else very nice experience. The evening at the home stay was great, - all seven sitting around the table, playing an easy cardgame, and all the time the looser had to sing a song, or take a drink... :)

The next morning it was raining a lot, and the trail was very slippery, and most had a couple of turnes down in the dirt :)
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After we finally got to our lunshplace, the 4 swisses took the bus back to the hotel, and me and Rose (the Irish girl) contingued with the guide to anouther village and homestay. And this part became the best part of the tour. No sellers, and great landscape, no more rain, and nice colder temperature... and then we got to our homestay family, they even had a natural hot spring SPA ! near the river... ! Great ! So both me and Rose had ou almost an hour untill it was really dark, plungeing in the sap, and in the cold river, in the Spa, and in the cold river, and in the Spa again :D

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I also have to mention that on our way down to the final village on this day, we passed a young family started to building their house that same day, and they asked us if we could take a photo of them, and a memory of this special day for them - and send to them... Of course we did that :) Very nice moment.

This night it rained again, and we decided to walk the longer mainroad up to our pickup place, instead of take the long slippery train up again. I'm glad we did this, - as 2 hours of uphill on grouble road was pretty good excercise enougth :)

After comming home to Sa Pa we had a lunch, a shower, and a little walk in Sa Pa, before takeing the nighttrain back to Hanoi, where my morningflight to Vientiene, Laos was due 9 am..

but thats next story...
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Good morning Viet Nam...

Good morning Viet Nam...


Eveningmood over the fishingboats
Well, now its finally Viet Nam, which actually was my main country to visit in my Asia journey... and I'm really not sure what to expect, all though my expectations are quite high... so I was a little afraid I might be dissapointed because of this...

So, what do I feel now after less than a week here... both dissapointed and positively surpriced :)

View over the fishingvillage at Nda Trang
Actually - many things were different from my expectations, but it goes both ways.... First impression (in Chou Duc) was that all the smiles we were used to see all over Cambodia, were missing in Viet Nam, and in Saigon the people were friendly and busy in rushhours, but later on the evening not very interesting... (just another big city...) but then in Nda Trang and Hoi An we found both the general smiles and happiness we expected from the start... and plenty of it :-)

Of course, we found many smiles all along Saigon ( and Chou Duc) as well, but not so plentyful as here in Hoi an, and in Nda Trang...

and the girls... well their big (and sometimes shy...) smiles make them even prettier...

In general it feels like the vietnameese peaople is growing on you, and you start to feel the attraction more and more for this country, and the people... Basicly we like it here, and want to come back again... better soon than later.

On the Mekongdelta
I'd like to write a lot, but its hard to know how to explain, so here is some key words...
Mekong Delta - mighty, wet and impressive.
Cu Chi Tunnels - historical, impressive and narrow
Saigon - big city - busy(partly), hectic and diversed
Nda Trang - beachtow - beautiful, gentle and friendly
Hoi An - small city of tailors - busy with a smile

People are generally really friendly... no big problem at all, and many speak really ok english.

SO i've done some walking in Chou Duc, sightseeing and dancing in Saigon, beaches in Nda Trang, and now its some shopping and relaxing in Hoi An :)

I'll tell you more about the north of Viet Nam later...

take care
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A little report from Siem Reap...

A little report from Siem Reap...


Donating blood in Phnom Penh
Well because of a little trouble getting back my passport from the Burmeese(Myanmar) embassy in Phnom Peh, I was stuck a day to long in PP, so what to do....... Well I ended up in the hostpital, giving blood :)

Finally I came meself to Siem Reap, mainly to see one of the biggest "must see" places in the world....

and... Well, what can I say.... the Ankor temples and old structures are really magnificent and kind of mindblowing... :)

If you wonder if the Ankor Temples are wurth a visit... stop wondering, and start planning....

Ankor Wat just before sunrise
Angkor Wat is large and classical, this awesome site is the world's largest temple, with the world's longest bas-relief panels.

Angkor Thom is a cluster of sites is an another must-see, and the spectacular South Gate is the best-preserved entry to Angkor Thom. The central temple, the Bayon, is small in scale, but bizarre, mysterious, and imaginative -- the favorite of many visitors.

Ta Prohm-roots 2
Finally the jungle-locked ruins of Ta Prohm are romantic and spooky sites, covered by centuries of vegetation. The French left Ta Prohm untouched to give an impression of how Angkor looked in the 19th century, with tree roots and foliage winding through the stonework.

First I took the trip out in the evening to see the sunset, and then next morning I took a Tuk Tuk out to be there before 05 am to see the sunrise again... and then walking around amazed untill 14:00 (pm) and home again... Really felt like I was at a spesial place.

I the first evening I also enjoyed some Apsara (Khmer) Dancing at a hotel in the Siem Riep... Very nice I must say, and not only the girls :)

Children playing at the orthenage
I also visited an orphanage a little outside Siem Riep, and was shown around by Christian, a swedish helper there. At this o rphanage there were 48 cildren in total, from the ages 2 til 17... at the age of 16 they are been prepared to leaving the safeity of the orphanage and asked about what they would like to do to support them selves, and the wish is for them to be selfsupported as soon as possible afrer turning 17+. It was very interesting, and the o rphanage had a strong focus of keeping as much as possible of the Khmer way of living (and not push the western traditions on the cambodians). I also got to play soem football with the kids here untill the dark made it difficult to see the ball....

There is a lot of good and worthy prodjects that has good need for support here in Cambodia, later (then I get home?) I will write some more about this, and give those of you interested information on how to support the needy...

Take Care everyone.

Egil Viking
Chau Duc

(vietnam)

(PS: See more pictures from Cambodia in the gallery.)
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Hell and Heaven in Cambodia...

Hell and Heaven in Cambodia...


Smiles is the shortest distance toi the heart
Cambodia is truely a country that should give you mixed emotions. From the beauty of history long past, and the horror of history all to close to date... From the shineing and truely genuine smiles that meets you along the way, to the more desperate and handicapped beggars along the same way, wishing for a dollar, or at least a few riel from the "rich" tourists.."

So, how do you as a tourist deal with this situation...? Its not easy, and totally impossible to help everybody, so you go and help some, and hope this will easy your own mind enougth to not notice all the rest to much, so you still can enjoy all the beauty and goodness in this truely wonderful country.

Still I have not gotten to see Ankor Wat, the amazing temple site outside Siem Reap. I will go tomorrow...

AVIP ! cell in S21,  for the best treated victoums, (they all died, but some had a bed the last days)
I got to see the Horroble S21, Security21, a former school transformed for torturing all not suspected to agree 100% with the Khmer Roudge...

And then to the killing fields where they kill and dump the people they saw now use in let existing.
sculls - remains from the Killings Fieldsonly the holes in the ground left after some of the massgraves


Truely one of the darkes chapter in mankind history.

Also I see the beautiful smiles, and laughts of people, just happy for some attention, small girls smiling - overshining the sun, and the genuine happyness of meeting us.

And the beautiful beaches of Sihanoukville, and the nationalpark near by, where you feel it all has been contructed to please everyone, even you may find yourself all alone for a mile or two...

The most impressive is the genuine smiles everywhere, if you go a little outside the worst beggars and sellers places... they all feels interested in where you are from, and what you think, and maybe a little chance to speak some englich, and pick up some new words, or friends along the way... I truely would like to return to Cambodia, and hopefully with a little chance to help some of the wonderful people along the way... there are certainly need for it here... I tell more about that in next letter from Cambodia, then I get back from Siem Reap sometime....

If you concider going to Cambodia, there is nothing to concider anymore, just go, and bring your heart with you...

Tell you more next time :)
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A little hello from China

A little hello from China


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Now then I was writing this, It was actually my last night in China for this time, and so far I have not written any about china... I got problem with the connection, so the last bits are written from a hotel in Phnom Penh in Cambodia....

The size of china is so big, that I probably easily could have used many months (or years) here and still not see any close to everything... So I decided...
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to do the most typical touristspots, (summer palace,the great wall, the forbidden city in Beijing, and the terracotta warriers in Xi'an) and also a more typically chinese city, like Wuhan (not much tourists here), and I also had plans to go to Gui Lin for to see the very nice nature sight there... but after catching a cold on the nighttrain from Xi'an to Wohan, and finding out that Wuhan - Gui Lin - Guangzhou = 28 hours more train, I decide to prolong my visit here in Wuhan.
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the 21st I go by airplaine to Cambodia...

China has been a remarkeble experience, and a real mix of new and old, tradition and modernism... And all the time I find the chineese way to be much the same as back in Norway, just with a little (or bit twist/difference ;-) ) and other things are so different, that I have to learn it from the start again... like going to the toilet.... doing shopping in the right procidier, learn how to cross the road while the cars ar passing you both in front and behind you... and eating more than one dish at a time.... hehe some of this ideas I like so much I like to contingue then I finally will be home, and others are not so easy likeable :-)

I already stayed longer in China than planned, but I like to stay longer, - but in the same time I also want to see the "rest of Asia" so its soon time for me to depart for this time, but I travel out of asia from Beijing, so I will be back in January, and hopefulle have some more time here then :-) - and maybe a chance to meet friends again... :-)

Well its time to close of my letter before my time runs out here... as always I like to write more, but... I keep it short better tham nothing, - and also note me some keywords for later , then I get home to tell you more :-)

bye... ps I have some more photoes from N-Korea comming out soon on www.meihack.org + videoclips,... check the pages often, as Roar would help me post them almost dayly....)
(Webmaster Roar says: There have been added several pictures lately, check them out in the gallery!)


pss
other funny things I experienced in China,
* People (mainly chineese female tourists) stop me to be taken photo of together with me... almost feel like a celebraty sometimes.... hehe it feels funny, and results in a lot of smiles.
* Asians (used to the squat-toilet) staying at the youth Hostel in Xi'an don't like to sit on the "western sitting WC"there, so they sit/stand on the toilet seat, - leaving footprints all over the seat....
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Some small stories from North-Korea

Some small stories from North-Korea


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Just thought I'd write some more about my trip to North-Korea...

North Korea is a bit strange seen from a western eye... some things are really good over there, and some others tings are not so "normal"... and often there is a really strange mix of the two...

A little example is the "traffic ladies" as we used to call them...

Because of the electricity shortage they had no trafficlights in the cities, not even in Pyongyang, - and to control the traffic they had "traffic ladies" - girls/young women in a tight and really nice dark blue uniform, all looking the same, - with the same curly black hair in a ponytail under the hat, - and they were controling the traffic with firm, fast and efficcient movements... really an impressive sight... all in the group were really impressed and appreiciating the sight of these traffic-ladies ... espesially the men, maybe... ;-)

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Also, - the main roads in North-Korea was impressive... 2, 3, 4 and even 5 lines i both directions.... and almost NO traffic... that really made a strange feeling... and the drivers are always honking their horn then they are driving, - and often nessesary, - I almost think its because people are crossing the street in any way thay like... because they are mostly used to the roads to be empty...?

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Also we got to see and try the subway in Pyongyang, - really impressive... 100-120 meters under the ground, and the stations were grorious, with BIG chandeliers hanging along the roof, and hundreds of meters of mosaic along the walls... I was actually "lost" down there... as I was standing and photograthing the greatness, and didnt notice everyone else had left, or where they left.... so I was standing there... and didnt know where to go, or what to do... (english wasn't very usefull, and I didnt know what our destination was eigther... so while I was standing there looking kind of disorientated... out of nowhere a nice lady in her late 20'ies shows up out of almost nowhere... and poking my shoulder, and showing/following my all the way (5-700 meters) out of the subway station to the correct exit where the rest of:-) the group was getting ready to go into the bus again...... I idnt see her anytime else before or after... I felt really safe after this ;-)

I want to write more, but its end of my internet time, some more will follow... I'm now in Xi'an, have been in Beijing, and am going to Wohan tomorrow, so next time I write some about china

see also www.meihack.org for future plans, and photoes if I manage to upload some the next 30 minutes...

take care every one of you :-)

ps I have almost no postadresses with me this time (forgot the list), so any thet would like a postcard, - send me your adress on a mail to meihack@gmail.com , please..
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The North Korean experience

The North Korean experience


Finally I find me self a place (and time) to write you some words from my trip.

After some lonesome hours in Amsterdam, and some nailbiting as I could see no other Norwegians at the Beijing gate, but all went fine in the end. But after very little sleep the last days before my travel, and a hectic program in Beijing, suddenly we are biking to the airport in Beijing, and checking in our luggage to Pyongyang City - Nort Korea.

Already at the North Korean airplane we understand that we are not going to a normal tourist destination... I felt a little like I was in a movie..
The plane looked healthy, but really old style, like from the Sovijet 1980'ies. Really fun and different :-)

Then we landed in Pyongyang, we could se NO cars at the roads under us, only people biking, and walking... and ONE truck. And the first night we were not allowed to walk outside the hotel premices. So we could only stay there, looking out of the window....

After the first culture chock, we found ourself in a country where we were not allowed to contact people without permittion, not take photos without permittion, and always followed by guides... but the people we met, and also the ones we saw waved at along the way... were very friedly, and normally looked like they we re very interested in meeting/waving to us... I saw A LOT of genuine big smiles along the way :-)

What we got to see, was some nature, some people, some restaurants, some shows, and many monuments remembering their great leaders: Kim Il Song, and Kim Il Jong...

I want to write more, but its end of my internet time, som more will follow...

take care very one :-)
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