2015
05.22

TransitTHE JOURNEY BEGINS

Transit days are the worst. Nearly 36 hours on the move can dampen if not kill anyone’s appetite for travel. At best it is an exercise in patience. At the worst it gets you sick right off the bat. The guy behind me has been coughing non-stop!

Watch movies, drink water, snooze (if you can). Stand in line, walk endless corridors, sit and wait. With two stopovers and two custom clearances, there was plenty of all of this. I am always grateful that I can do this just by myself and without any responsibility for others. On the first 13-hour flight there was a young couple with 3-year-old twins. On the last 5-hour stretch a couple with four young children, a set of twins included. How do they do it?!

The descent towards Beijing was one of the bumpiest and most drawn out ever. I can’t even remember when last I had to resort to one of those “travel bags”… And I was by far not the only one. Weak, dehydrated and humiliated, after a long line clearing the international transfer checkpoint, I found myself standing longingly in front of a vending machine with real Kirin milk tea! I have never seen this tea at home. But I discovered it last year in Japan and had it practically every day. Sweet, cold, comforting, energizing milk tea. What would I give to have a bottle of that! But I had no Chinese currency… With a long face and a crisp, single dollar bill in my hand I stood before Sesame (1001 Arabian Nights) and could not open it.

Two people passed me up on offering them my dollar for 5 yuan. And then came a businessman, who got himself a Sprite and gestured in sign language asking: And which one do you want? Really? I pointed to the tea and seconds later it tumbled out. No, he did not want the dollar, not even as a souvenir. My tea manifested itself!

And if you are a first-time reader of my blog you might want to search “manifest”. It is one of the most amazing travel phenomena: there will always be a way, there will always be a helping hand, there will always be what I truly need. Some call it God. I call it manifesting and I know that the pantheon is with me when it happens.

I will arrive in Yangon close to midnight. Not a good time to be traveling alone in a new country, in a big city. Ideally, I need a travel companion to share a taxi with. And as I found my seat on the half-empty airplane from Beijing to Yangon, across the aisle sat a young couple, Kelly and Ryan from Minnesota. I struck up a conversation with them and five minutes later had an agreement that we would ride together into town. Their hotel was only a few miles from mine. It would be no bother for them. In fact, it was a win-win for all of us as I offered to pay for the entire ride. Manifesting! I am telling you.

Via a NoDoze caffeine pill I am staying awake at any cost. If I can pull myself through tonight, I might be on Myanmar time by tomorrow. That would be a good start.

Go Myanmar!