|Our first Burmese Buddha of many!|
At this point we waved goodbye to our Chinese guide Jason and met up with our new Burmese guide Myo Win Tun. But Myo is not going to be our only travelling companion in Myanmar. Because we are a foreign group travelling independently, rather than using Burmese companies, we are a bit of a new experience from the country, and this is only the third time a Dragoman truck has been here. So we have to have special arrangements. Not only do we have to provide a plan of where we are going and where we will be staying, which cannot be altered, we also have to have an escort.
So we were introduced to Mr Khaing, who will drive the little white car that will be our shadow for the next four weeks, and Tang, the government official from the Ministry of Tourism. These two will be with us wherever we go. As I am posting this towards the end of our time in Burma, I can tell you that in fact this was not nearly as bad as it sounds, and in fact they were both great guys who clearly wanted us to enjoy our trip. Of course they didn't speak English, so there was no real conversation, but we all got along very nicely.
Now that we were out of China, we just needed to get in to Myanmar. That actually went quite smoothly, albeit slowly, until we discovered that one of our fellow passenger's visa was not quite right as it didn't cover the whole time here. And so began a series of lengthy discussions and negotiations about whether he could be allowed in. Eventually someone who had sufficient authority decided to allow it, and we were in.
Once released from photo duty, we took a short drive to grab some lunch. Despite gaining an hour and a half in the time change, it was well after 2pm, and we had a long drive ahead of us to get to our campsite at a Monastery in Hsipaw.