Wake up. Eat breakfast. Put my mask on and walk to work in the brisk, early morning sunlight of New Jersey. My shift starts at 07:00. As I walk into the hospital, like every day, I am stopped for a forehead temperature scan and asked if I have any flu-like symptoms before proceeding to the ICU. I gather my one N95 mask for the day, a single hair net, shoe covers if available, a plastic gown and a pair of hospital issued scrubs. I reuse my face shield everyday.
I head down two floors to the makeshift ICU. The entrance is blocked off with heavy-duty construction plastic as an attempt to make the OR and PACU ‘negative-pressure’. [COVID can stay airborne for several hours with aerosolization and the negative pressure means particles will flow into the COVID area, not into other surrounding hallways]. This area is filled people, each crammed…
I love intelligent movies. But I am also weary of miserably realistic movies. I only want to be comforted by some positive vibes especially winter. I am glad that I stumbled upon the movie ” Colette ” from Netflix.
I found the movie very inspirational especially as a woman and a wanna-be-artist”. Colette was a young, innocent, strong country girl who fell in love with a well know author called Willy incidentally. Willy was 14 years senior and notorious of gambling, having an extravagant living and being promiscuous. He was also a talented artist who maintained his fame by employing various ghost writers who earned living by writing for him. Usually, he gave rough idea and plots to his ghost writers and got the benefit out of them. None the less, his lifestyle always exceeded his sporadic flux of various incomes.
It was surprising for Parisian community when Willy decided to marry a country girl. Colette was frowned upon by socialites for her choice of dresses in the beginning and her upfront personality. She detested people flirting with each other and people who take pride on adultery . Out of pleasing her husband, Colette tried to write short stories which were rejected instantly by Willy. Willy thought her stories were too honest to be liked by anyone.
When Willy’s financial problems became critical, bank people came and took their furniture to pay for his debt. Then only, they rediscovered her old writing and Willy decided to edit them for publishing. Eventually, her stories became wildly popular although the books were under the name of her husband. Willy also emotionally abused her and even locked her inside the room , forcing Colette to write more.
I really love the character of Colette. She was genuinely in love with her husband mostly because he was charming and very intelligent. At the same time, Colette was smart enough to her role and also beware of the mindset of her husband whose life was full of lies. Her mother persistently reminded her that Colette had a strong personality and nobody should be able to change her.
During the mist of financial crisis alternating with fame , they were invited by rich people and the wife of millionaire had an affair with Colette. At same time, Willy tried to muddle the situation and slept with the same woman. It became more interesting when Colette eventually fell In love with another woman who dressed like a man. She found someone who truly loved her unconditionally . The movie shows metamorphosis of Colette from an innocent teenager to a mature artist with confidence . It also gave us a glimpse of life style of cream layered people and artists in 1800s as the story is based on real life of Colette. The real actress Colette was also a very beautiful woman. Please watch the movie if you want to uplift yourself. It will not disappoint you.
I always think of writing dating stories, because these are very interesting and I love ” falling in love”. In fact, I focused too much on falling in love rather than maintaining that love. I know how Burmese hate cheesy stories, they will laugh when someone above thirty says ” I am in love” . They might laugh you behind as if you were feisty.
In fact, my favorite people in the world are people who encourage others to be in love. So this is the story to encourage people like me who have absolute faith in power of love.
I came to an island in Europe last year to work as a middle grade doctor. It was hard especially because of weather. I came in the winter time, and I was devastated to be in a place which is always wet, gloomy and cold. I only lived in South East Asia with temperature above 25C before. When I arrived, the weather was not really bad in late September, so I walked near my work place . I was also thinking may be I need friends to make my mood elevated. Unfortunately, most junior doctors at hospital want to drink till late night during weekends and I cannot go along with them as I need sleep most of the time.
Then I thought of opening my dating profile and decided to date again after three years without dating with anybody. ( well, I was quite surprised that I was asked out by a few guys from London instantly, and in Asia, I was not that popular though ). When he asked me out whether we can go out for a cup of tea, I agreed it instantly. It was mainly because I was lonely and miserable. It was only two weeks after I arrived in Isle of Man. I was pretty nervous and really wrecked my brain what to wear. But when I saw him for the first time, I was surprised, he was wearing very casual clothes .He behaved like he dint’ pay attention to me. He walked so fast , in front of me and made me so breathless, he didn’t even open the car door and restaurant door. And I was too nervous and I couldn’t concentrate much on his conversation. Mind you, I was not used to his accent in the beginning. We talked for about 1. 5 hours and he drove me back. When he didn’t call me again , I thought may be he is not that into me. We dated TEN DATES without touching each other. It was really a mile stone in my life. Finally, I consoled myself may be he just wants to comfort me as he is a nice person. He spent for me and took me to nice restaurants. I was not even earning anything as I didn’t have bank account. So he treated me most of the time.
I asked my European friend ” do guys from island invite girls just for friendship?” and she said ” no, Hnin, unless they really like you”. That day, he followed me into my house, suddenly, he held my hand and put it on his beard. Sincerely, I had never touched any guy with beard as my dad and brother don’t have beard and I had never dated any man with beard before. Instantly, I felt connection to him since that moment. We looked into each other eyes and I didn’t know how to behave. So I put my face into his chest and tried to calm myself down as I was shy and nervous. He patted my back so tenderly and kissed my forehead. Later, he told me he respect Asian culture and he himself felt shy to touch me or to tell me his feelings. But he decided he had to make a fast move otherwise he would never have guts to tell his feelings. He also thought a lot what would he do if I decide to go back. He noticed me as someone who is quite impulsive and might suddenly leave the place. In the end, he said ” can I date you as a girlfriend? I will date you as long as you wana date me even if it is six months”. He melt my heart and I felt his feelings so deeply.
He sends me simple , but meaningful messages everyday. These messages give me encouragement to go on with life in my new place. There are times I thought he might get fed up with my whining, but he was not, he was patient and said he would look forward to see Happy Hnin when my mood was terrible. And he told me that I can be completely myself with him and that’s what I am most of the time. Sometimes, I told him how much I miss Malaysia and how I cried when someone made me upset at work. There are the moments my heart beat so fast when I saw him standing at my door step after his work just to give me some moral support and some cuddle. I told him there are plenty of pretty girls in Isle of Man who are even younger and why did he chose me. He said ” Hnin , you made me impressed with your smile, I fell in love with you because of your smile and whenever you smile genuinely, you make me fall in love with you all over again”. He said he became a better person because of me, he went through tough times with relationship breakup and became cynical, but he said I am too innocent and accept everybody as if they are. He said he has never trusted anybody like that and he trusts me completely.
When I shivers in the wind, he makes sure he grips my hands tightly so that I can get warmth from him . If he sees me without any warm clothes, he drags me to nearby store to buy some gloves or warm attire. Weather is terrible, but he drove me everywhere on the island including beaches where we could watch wild life like otters and birds. We sat side by side, watching mountains and trees. He can read my face like a book and instantly knows whether I am happy or sad. One day he told me I can cry as much as I want and if I cry, he will just hold me and cuddle me.He will not tell me to stop crying.
We have watched movies together, went to the best restaurants on the island and watched the sun rise together. Yesterday, he held me so tenderly and asked me ” can I live with your forever, I wish we can be together forever” and I said ” yes”.
That does not mean we are going to marry. But I want to spend the rest of my life with him. We are just so happy together right now.
Isle of Man does not have many varieties of food like in London. But I need to explore more to know in detail. Definitely, Oriental food like sushi is not so popular in Isle of Man and so far, I have seen only one shop in Douglas ( capital of Isle of Man ).
On 19th November 2017, me and my friend decided to hunt for Chinese food, She wanted to go to a shop near her house, but unfortunately the shop was closed . ( the shop she wanted to go was called Imperial Dragon, the Chinese food at Imperial Dragon is ok, but it is not fantastic to my taste. There is another Chinese food shop near Electric train station called China Town which I think is horrible, the food was too sweet and too bland ) We were driving around the town and suddenly we thought of going for sushi, but again, the shop was closed at 5 pm and luckily, we ran into a shop with Chinese decoration near the corner around Tesco.
I told my friend that I am too hungry to find more shops and we should go in. The shop was dim lighted and carpeted the whole area. Surprisingly, although it looked small from outside, it was very spacious with many levels inside. I admire all the decoration inside especially the whole maps and intricate drawings of wall paper. There are rivers, sea, boats and people pictures on the wall. They displayed many statues which are glittering gold and silver and several Chinese writings hanging here and there.
As there was no customer, I doubted whether I made a good choice. Usually, my dad would say “ never eat at any restaurants with very few customers”. However, my thought was interrupted by the cheerful voice from a lady in her late 20s or early 30s coming towards us with a broad smile. She was carrying two menus and she greeted my friend “ are you not working today?”. We found out the owner of the shop has known my friend for two years. The owner Mrs Yang is extremely friendly and eager to give us advice what to eat.
I ordered platter with sea weed, pork rib, chicken satay and dampling. For the main dish, I ordered roast duck and my friend ordered sizzling sea basss.
While we were waiting for our food to arrive, we inquired Mrs Yang, who is the designer of the restaurant? She answered “ it was me”, I said “ wow”. I was quite impressed. The whole area gives me feeling of Zen like relaxation although colors are complex. The restaurant is extremely tidy and scented. Mrs Yang said she diligently chose each and every item of decorations at China and brought back everything by ship to Isle of Man.
She was working for airline and decided to start her own business. She recruited all Chinese chefs from Uk. She said “ nowadays, it’s difficult to recruit Chinese chef as they can earn very well in China as well”.
Contrary to my first impression, her place has been always fully booked except on Sunday. Sunday is usually less people.
I am a good addict and you should know by now if I recommend a Chinese restaurant anywhere, it must be as good as authentic Chinese food anywhere in China. The chef of Mrs Yang didn’t let us down. We enjoyed all our platters, sizzling fish and duck.
We especially like sizzling sea bass as it is fresh, very delicate and spicy. The fish melt in our mouth . Even Satay is really delicious and so are pork ribs.
Here are more photos of menus.
If you want to make reservation for MRs Yang, here is the address and phone number
Mrs Yang Restaurant
Clinch’s Court, Bank Hill, North Quay, Douglas
IM1 4QF, Tel- 01624-886886.
For European food, I would recommend Tandroagan Seafood restaurant. There website is http://tanroagan.co.uk/
The address is 9 Ridgeway St . Douglas, Isle of Man. IM1 1EW
Telephone number is 01624 612355, Email is email@example.com
I have been there only once,. The place is packed and it is a small shop. But the shop has been in Isle of Man for more than a decade. The fish and crabs are very fresh and delicious there. Some more, the price is reasonable.
IF you want to enjoy English tea in classic style, I would recommend tea junction in Douglas town center. You have to book for the place as tables are fully booked especially at tea time.
There are so much variety of tea and they give the timer to adjust the strength of the tea. I really like almost all flavor of tea. For me, the food is just ordinary, but tea is amazing. And the shop is lovely and the staff are very friendly. Here are photos of tea junction shop.
I hope I can come back and write another blog about dining experience. There are many more shops to explore.
Past two weeks has been overwhelming with preparation, traveling and coping with new environment.
For readers who don’t follow me before, I migrated to Malaysia from Burma in 2004 and decided to come back to Myanmar in 2016. It was really a painful decision as I really like Malaysia and already have many friends there. I settled in a cozy house which is owned by a lovely extended family and they looked after me like a real family member. The house I rented was only 15 minutes walk from a beautiful warm beach with a forest nearby. I had everything I need there. However, I had to move back as a hospital owner offered me a job in Myanmar where I bought a new flat. The move had lots of tears and regrets as I didn’t enjoy working back in Burma at all because of very unfavorable working environment and a totally different system. I was misunderstood by a lot of local doctors for doing different things. So I applied for a job in UK and I got a job in Isle of Man. I had never thought that I would need to move to another place after only a year of a major move. Moving from one place to another place is exhausting even in the same country, you can imagine moving from one continent to another continent.
I have mixed feeling of excitement about the new place and anxiety to face difficulties. I was born in a tropical country, Burma and lived in the same place for twenty nine years. I moved out to my second home in Kuantan , Malaysia at the age of 29 and learned new language and new working environment. It was love at first sight with Malaysia.I always told my junior colleagues that I only had 500 USD in my pocket when I migrated. I was naive, never been to any other countries and decided to leave my country with a luggage and a good attitude. Without my uncle’s help, it might had been a nightmare to start a new life with very little money in hand. But I was well accepted by warm Malaysian people and integrated into their culture easily. I can still say the quote that ” there is no place like Malaysia”. I left Malaysia as I know there are more local doctors every year and we would have less job market in the future as expats. And it was really difficult to leave after 12 years as I love beaches and wild life in Kuantan.
Anyhow I found a place in England which might suit my taste for nature. So, I finally am ready to work at an island owned by Queen Elizabeth. My cousin booked for me business class flight to fly from London to Isle of Man . But when I got on the plane, I realized the plane was a small one and managed by only one flight attendant. There was not even overhead luggage space. So, I shoved my hand carry under my seat and after less than one hour, the plane landed at airport. It was also a small airport and no security check. Mind you, the island is one of the safest place in the world. You can walk on the street at night and nobody would bother you. At airport, people were a bit curious as I was the only Asian among arrival. I asked an airport staff where the taxi stand was. He said there was only one gate and I needed to get out and stand at exit / entrance to wait the taxis which usually pass by. Luckily, my friend came and pick me up. I was smitten by the calmness of island. The weather is wet, windy and cloudy. There are lots of mountains.
The next day, the weather was clear with blue sky. I observed mountains where the sheep graze. I walked near the bushes with the aim of picking up berries. Suddenly the bushes shook violently and big rabbits jumped out of bushes. I was in awe.
Then when I was eating at a cafe, I heard the noises of big sea gulls. Although I am fond of them, I have a feeling that they can easily snatch food from your hands.
It was 12 C even in late summer. Last weekend, I braced myself to walk at the beach and observed some plants tangling at the beach. The water was icy cool and could not imagine to swim.
There was a tram carried by a horse at the seaside and the horses not allowed to work in other seasons apart from summer. The health of horses are well looked after and when they get sick, the tram business close down until they become well.
I have not been in other parts of islands where Vikings lived ten thousand years ago. Some legend said the island is linked to dragons. And I keep on imagining these legends in my mind.
Two days ago, I walked across the quiet roads and I felt very strong feeling of connection to the trees. I could sense they talk to each other ” look, there is a new person in this island. Lets greet her”. I also felt they were sharing information to each other. I had the strong sense of being watched and I could feel I am so liked by them and suddenly I became quite flirtatious. My my. I know I am crazy. So, I literally stopped walking, looked up at the trees and said aloud ” thank you for liking me”. No wonder Alice in Wonder Land might have felt the same thing
This morning, I was rushing and saw an elderly lady standing outside the building. I smiled at her and asked her whether she was alright. The weather was cool and it was drizzling. She smiled and said ” oh, I am enjoying. After a few days, fall is coming and we won’t be able to stand outside like that”. She continued ” I was born in island and still like this place after sixty years. Some people like it but they also hate the island for being too remote. It seems there is no mid way. But when I go to London, I cannot see beautiful stars and sky like here”.
Although I was in rush, I stood still beside her and enjoyed her definition of good weather, shivering. I looked up and saw the trees were shaking off leaves. At least, I am glad some people feel the same like me.
I will write more about island. Thanks for reading.
I think London is a place where you can see many friendly taxi drivers who are driving nice cars. They also try to talk to you during your trip as they are curious to know about other people.
I am a budget traveller and usually, I avoid private transport to save money except I need to carry lots of luggages. This morning, I am supposed to fly somewhere from London and I have two luggages with me, each nearly 30 kg.
So, my cousin arranged a taxi in advance. He arrived in time, but not so happy when he saw three luggages. I asked him whether he can give me receipt so that I can claim back. He said he has no idea about that. So, I called his office and he refused to talk to office as he was driving. It was a reasonable excuse but I could see he was upset for me having three luggages. I talked to my friend and she assured me that information about luggage was given to the office. The driver insisted that the office did not convey the message. Anyway, the small luggage was with me in the car and there was not a big issue.
To break the ice, I just said I am sorry and will keep in mind about number of luggage so that I can aware I need a bigger car with more than two luggage. He suddenly realized he was behaving not so nice and said ” its ok”.
May be I can guess people. He doe not sound like a bad person, he just seem disturbed. His thick accent gives me the fact that he is from Middle East. I was afraid he would ask me origin. So, I just said I am from Asia and not familiar with rules of taxi in London. He quickly replied with happier tone that “Oh, you are from Asia? I am also from Asia and I am from Iraq”. I was bewildered and asked back ” are you sure? I thought its from Middle East”. He then said ” Middle East but it also near to Asia”. So, I told him about my previous boss who is a very gentle physician. We used to think Males in Middle East dorminate Females unless you have seen my ex boss. He is such a darling and totally under the spell of his wife. He even told me he wants to buy Burmese Ruby for his wife. I complimented that Iraq is such a rich and beautiful country. A few years ago, I had met some Iraq cardiologists and they showed me pictures of Iraq which are green, mountainous and beautiful.
After my compliment about his country, his expression changed. He became melancholic and wailed that ” but you know our oil has been stolen all the time”. He then asked me ” do you know who are Daesh?”. I said ” you mean ISIS?”. He nodded and asked me ” do you know who created them?” He answered his question himself and said ” its created by Americans and Israel”. After a pause, I told him ” but the ISIS fighters are not American nor Israel”.He said ” oh yes, but they are controlled by Americans who follow Israel. You know people are stupid sometimes whatever religion are and these people join ISIS. Israel has to do unstable environment near his country so that Arab will not bother fighting for Palestine. But you know we are not giving up. Do you know what happened to Palestine right?'”
I told him I know a bit about Palestine struggle and how their land is confesticated by Israel. I assured him a lot of people now know that Palestinians are suffering. I told him some Jews do not like what Israel is doing to Palestine. He said.” oh. I know . Not all Israeli agree with their government. but remember the biggest terrorists in the world are Americans and so are the Saudi Arabia. Do you know why US and Saudi flocked together. Its because both are terrorists. Big terrorists”.
Suddenly I kind of agree with him and we both started to laugh . He said how Bush has planned to get into Iraq by planning on 9/11 . Previously, his plan to invade Iraq was not agreeded until the twin tower event.
He said ” do you think US care about Sadam Hussein and Iraq people? no. they don’t. They only care about oil and for that, they destroyed our country. We all know that. But our government cannot do anything now. I know Sadam Hussein is a prick. But he would never involve in terrorism.He was just a foolish dictator”.
My driver told me he came to London 20 years ago. Before that, he was a wealthy successful business man in Iraq. His extended family remain in Iraq. I told him that one day, I wana visit Iraq. He assured me there is not even a gunshot in common areas and I am safe to go there. I can hear his pride in his motherland and willingness to invite foreigners to Iraq. At the end of journey, he was wishing me well for my flight and smiling.
I thanked him for the lovely ride and he helped me with my luggage. I should have asked his name . I hope that one day, his pain about his country will be healed and so will be mine.
I just wish because’right now, I am still feeling the pain.
I have long wanted to publish this post as I think flat renovation is one of my milestones in life.
I have been working as a doctor and as you all know, doctors in Asian countries are not well paid especially when you work for government hospitals. I worked in Malaysia and my starting salary as a doctor in 2004 was around 800 us dollars per month that time. Although my salary increased regularly like other doctors in more than ten years, I could never manage to save effectively as I needed to sit for post graduate exams and they cost me a lot, a lot more than you can imagine. When I turned 39, I had a strong desire to have my own place. And you can’t blame me as I never had my own place before. I am originally from Myanmar, but I rented a terraced house in Malaysia for more than ten years. As I am a very homey person, I decorated the rented house as my own and even renovated the house and partially paid for it. But in the end, it is not your house and I know I would need to leave things behind once I move back to my country.
In 2014, I only had around 6000 us D in my hand. I had a notion that I could use it for house as I finished all my exams in 2013 and no need to pay for my further education. It’s quite pathetic because I worked ten years continuously overseas as a doctor and that was all I had that time. And I came back Burma on holiday in 2014 and tried to find a place to buy with that money. Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t buy any flat with that money in Yangon. Then my friend told me “ Do you know you can buy a flat with installment in Taunggyi? If you want, I will show you”. So I went to Taunggyi, 12 hours drive from my parents’ place for house hunting. Then the developer showed me the photos of the plan and the location they were going to built apartment building. They are small apartments and one is only 675 sq feet. I can’t imagine I can live in that small apartment, so I decided to buy two apartments together at ground floor side to side. I asked them not to do partition between two apartments. And the developer built the building for nearly two years without my presence. Within two years, I was very thrifty and save every penny to have my dream house. I could pay regularly for the house installment once I determined ” No, you can’t spend much. You have something to pay”. I think it’s the power of mind. If I had not bought that flat, I might have finished all I earn for my holidays. Luckily, my salary became better as I passed my post graduate exam and promoted as a clinical specialist.
When I came back to pay the last payment, I went down to the apartment to see my place. I was aghast. The floor is plain concrete and as they didn’t do proper foundation, the floor was forever wet. The walls were uneven and painted terribly. The doors had gaps . The toilets were very dirty and the floor was uneven . But my relatives told me that is the standard I will face in Myanmar as my apartment is not a condo and it is relatively cheap. However, I felt the developer should have done better . For a few weeks, I lived in misery as if my dream was shattered. I never had experience with renovation and I couldn’t imagine how to renovate the place. Some people advised me to sell it back , but I know it will cost more to build on my own as I need to buy the land as well as find a constructor. I don’t have that amount of money.
Then my brother in law who was a professional constructor offered me a helping hand. He asked “ how about I do this for you and I won’t charge you a lot?”. SO I handed him the remaining of my saving . We had to request the designer, the pipe man, the ceiling man, the electricity man from Yangon to come to Taunggyi. As a result, it cost me more as I need to pay for their transport although they don’t charge me a lot. Luckily, one guy called Thein Zaw can do almost everything including the piping and electrical wiring. So we requested him to stay at my flat temporarily. I went to the place to check every 3 days or once a week. I told the constructor I would not want a lot of colors in my house, rather I prefer only black and white. It made my brother busy because he needed to design floor in different patterns of black and white. For the pathetic looking toilet, I decided to break it down completely as I couldn’t stand the sight of it. Out of two toilets, we left the better one untouched except tiling the wall higher. The floors are blue color and I think it’s ok. But for the master bedroom toilet, we laid the completely new tiles and floor which cost me arms and legs. Anyway, I told my brother it’s always better to renovate before you moved in.
At first, I thought I would take only two or three months to renovate, but the renovation completed only after six months. It was partly because I ran out of money and needed to save again to be able to continue. We downloaded a lot of design . I was very thorough in finding lights and chandeliers. I don’t like chandeliers that much, but one may be ok. So we decided to buy only one which matches the color of our floor for the living room. It is also black and white color.
I chose cute side lamps in black and white. I even bought the plates which match the house color. I am that crazy.
We wired the whole house in to different electrical system. We made sure we have a lot of sockets in the house so that we can use electrical appliances. We changed sink and shifted the old one to the balcony so that we can use it when we want to water.
Above photo is the before and after renovation of balcony.
At first, I wanted to hunt the old furniture, but the old furniture cannot be bought in Taunggyi and to buy from yangon is quite costly if I include the transport fee.
We made our spare room into an altar room. I made that plain and simple with all furniture I have. I plan to hang some philosophy such as ” religion is not required if you have humanity”. I might probably be scolded by my parents for that.
Luckily, I got contact with furniture men from yangon as my friend introduced me. I invited them to do some measurement in my house. My aim is all the furniture should be functional more than once. For that reason, I made the sofa with drawers to store my books. The dining room has the hangers for pots and pens and the cardboard has wine cellar, etc.
I made the dining table with drawers and storage. Apart from that, I fix the wheel so that we can move the table easily. I asked them to pain all black and white.
The wood is rubber and not teak as I cannot afford the teak furniture. They asked me 2500 us D for a piece of furniture made in teak. While I was having a stroll in downtown, I caught a glimpse of Indian fabric. I made them into covers of my dining chair. I had to fight with the tailor as she didn’t know how to center the wheel . It was a pain to buy the fabric and redo again.
Outside, we can sit down at balcony and see the sunset or the sunrise as our house is surrounded by mountains. As a minimalist, I am trying not to put a lot of things into my flat as it’s only 1350 sq feet. I always ask question before I buy something
“ Do I really need it?”
“ Will it be functional for a long time?”
“ Can I maintain this ?” for example, I voted against getting some teak wood furniture from my parents as they are crafted things and tend to be dusty very often.
I stil think I am a minimalist. I try to minimize things as much as I can and decided not to hang a lot of pictures . I now feel that my house is a home because I did that with my heart and soul.
It is so cold right now, for a woman who has lived in hot places for more than 4 decades, I still cannot cope with temperature less than 15 C. Right now, the temperature is only 9 C in Taunggyi, Southern part of Shan State. The coldest hours are from 10 pm to 6 am. I am shivering while I am typing this. However, this time is the best time to travel in Myanmar, no rain and the roads are not wet and flooded. You can see lots of flowers in Shan State. They are all wild and seasonal flowers.
Today, I went to the place where I really wanted to go for a long time. The place is called “ Ywar Ngan” , in Burmese , it means “ salty village”, I have no idea why it was named like that. Lately, the place has been having attention from all over the world because of its beautiful waterfalls, caves and the blue lake lagoon ( Yay-pyar Lake)
There are so many legends about that village and it will be a good story for the curious travelers who also can trace the history. A lot of villagers are afraid to venture inside the forests and the caves for the fear of spirits and usually, people even local do not know much about the history. The local are superstitious and even tried to stop the tourists from venturing into unknown places. One time, a tourist tried to go inside a cave in Ywar Ngan village but he had to come out finally because the cave did not end after a half day and he became worried of safety.
I will tell you how I go there from Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State. Taunggyi is in Southern part of Shan State. At first, we went to He’ Ho ( a place where there is an airport ), then Aung Ban and from there, you have to turn to right . It is the same way you go to Pin Daya. But once you reach the junction called Kyone, you need to turn left ( or go straight) , instead of turning to the right .
If you turn to the right, you will reach Pin daya. But don’t go that way because the road to Ywar Ngan from that way is very rough and only bicycle can manage well to go. May be the road will change in a few years as the villagers are repairing the road. For us, we had to turn back as we don’t want to damage our car by bumpy roads with full of rocks.
We are lucky because we came across lots of beautiful scenery on the way, the view is full of yellow, because it is the time for sunflowers and sesame flowers to blossom. To add that, there are also wild flowers which are all yellow. We can see yellow, light green , red ( the color of soil is red) , dark green and white. I was so fascinated by the view and also thankful to my friend for driving there for me.
Once you reach Kyone, you need to drive another 34 miles to reach Ywar Ngan. On the way, We see the road lined by Euclid trees. The view is beautiful because all the sunflower fields and sesame fields are surrounded by mountains. The cold breeze tickled my hair when I started to walk along the road. I even went inside the field and observed the sunflowers and cabbages carefully, I could also see some pagodas built at the summit of the mountains.
On the way to Waterfall and blue lagoon ( Mya-tha-bait lake), you can drop in at Main-ma-ye Mountain.
The mountain is called “ brave woman mountain” , in Brurmese “ Main-ma-ye-taung” ( Taung means mountain )
I did not climb the mountain because I recently had ankle sprain and didn’t want to get another injury. But I am going to post photos of my friends who hiked it. If you are patient, you can get the nice view at the summit.
After the mountain, we went to the blue water lagoon ( Mya-tha-bait-yay-pyar-aing). I believe the water is blue because of some chemical in the soil. But contrary to science, a lot of villagers believe there must be some treasure such as emerald bowl buried beneath the lake by angles. The legend is that the angels kept the emerald bowl for the purpose of donating it to New Buddha. They also believe there are a lot of spirits guarding the lake and are extremely cautious not to offend them. For that reason, they protested the idea of a tourist who came from Europe with the purpose of diving inside the lake and measuring the depth of the lake . They believe once you disturb the spirits, the villagers have to bear the wrath of super natural beings. The lake was carefully fenced and you cannot throw anything inside the water including the bread for the fish.
The water is amazingly transparent and we could see fishes swimming peacefully around the branches of trees inside the lake.
It was fascinating and I lingered at the fence without noticing that foreigners were trying to capture photos and I was obliterating their view.
Finally we moved on and went to the Forest star water fall , in Burmese ( Taw-kyal-waterfall). The waterfall as well as blue lake have been looked after by the monastery nearby and they try to clean the lanes and make sure tourists are safe. They also offer public toilets for the tourists and travelers. I would like to advice to donate for a few dollars for the monastery if you can. There is a donation box near by. We also saw a few Shan children playing on the way. They are very cute and kept on calling me ” sister”, in Burmese ” Mama”. When I approached them to have a chat, I found out that they don’t speak Burmese . They only know the word ” sister”.
I wanted to go to the caves , but it will take a lot of time and you need to go with the motor bike in the early morning . So we returned back and think of going there again. There are more photos of scenery along the way.
Thank you for reading.
real live experience regarding travels, meeting strangers and daily life.