A slightly out of sequence blog post, seeing as how this happened yesterday, and we normally run a week or more behind. The timing is relevant, however…
The last of the elephants disappeared up the hill in the bright sunshine, dragging a one-ton teak log behind it on long rusty chains. We had been up since before dawn, waking up in a forest rangers’ hut before heading out into the jungle to track down the elephants which had been feeding overnight. There is another blog post coming on the teak logging camp; the relevance of the moment I describe is that logging with elephants is our last must-do in Myanmar, and therefore the end of this activity is the moment that we turn for home. We have been on the road for nearly seven months – the next formal stop on the itinerary is a cruise in Antarctica, but before that we have ten days at home with family for Christmas. Home. Family. Christmas.
To say we are looking forward to it is an understatement. We are loving our travels, but there is something strong to be said for knowing where the light switches are. So we are heading home, even if only for a few days before we fly off again. Our trip’s furthest point from home in terms of absolute remoteness was halfway up a volcano on a remote island in Vanuatu. Myanmar, on the other hand, is relatively well connected so all we need to do to get home is:
- Back of a truck to Taungoo (mattresses laid out in the open air – sunbathing and snoozing most of the way)
- Back of a motorbike at dawn to the bus station (actually, the back of two motorbikes, but who’s counting?)
- Bus to Yangon (stopping for dinner in the best restaurant in Myanmar, obviously)
- Short flight to Bangkok (picking up various items of tailoring and a cocktail or two on the way)
- Slightly longer flight to Hong Kong (and an evening with our friends Kean and Nyree in their new apartment)
- 16 hours of heavy drinking in new pyjamas courtesy of Cathay Pacific on the way to London
- Lucy is then home (for a long-delayed engagement party with the family – hooray!)
- For me, there is then a cross channel trip on Eurostar, a taxi across Paris, a further French train ride and 45 minutes in the back of my parents’ car to go.
So, seven full days of travel. It says something about the slightly schizophrenic nature of our trip that getting home includes both riding on the back of a tiny motorbike wearing 20lbs of rucksack and seat 1A on a Cathay 747. We wouldn’t have it any other way!