It was not one of those deserted white sanded beaches, where we would sit under parasols with tropical fruit cocktails in our hands. It was more moderate. The palm trees were there, the sun was setting in the sea, but the sand were not white, the beach was crowded and there were no cocktails on the menus of the sea side resorts. (Once we actually walked in every single resort restaurant on the beach, looking for cocktail menu, but it was nowhere to be found. We ended up buying beers and sharing them with our guard and host Mya.)
It is a weekend beach for locals and those living in the area of Yangon. On 5 to 7 hours ride with bus… What does a good beach-weekend for a Myanmar family include? Going for a bicycle ride (tandems and tandems for 3 are very popular), playing beach football, going for a swim with their clothes on, eating a lot of fresh sea food that is widely sold directly on the beach, drinking a lot of beer and whiskey (starting breakfast with one of the two is quite common), finishing the day with discharging ridiculous amount of light fireworks on the beach and rounding the day up in one of the local karaoke bars. Next day – repeat in the same order.
We had our real beach time once. We found a remote corner behind the main curve, where we could lie our selves down for couple of hours undisturbed. Almost. We had rolled our selves around for the third time or so. I was on my stomach, as I felt something touching my big toe and then the other. Disturbed by the tickling, I got up and was about to say Stijn to stop it. But then I realise it had been a local man already walking away! Whaaaat??? Was he disturbed by my bathing suit? Or he just found it funny to touch toes of a very white girl on the beach? I would not know, but it was definitely weird…
Although I was dreaming of having more of those do-nothing-on-the-beach moments, we could not. Because we were too careless with applying sunscreen evenly on our bodies, we ended up having abstract skin burns here and there on our bodies. Having a second sunbathing session the following day was not an option. Instead we had walks on the beach and around the town.
Following The Holy Lonely Planet’s suggestion, we found our breakfast in the restaurant of Swe Ya Minn Guest House. Freshly baked bread with jam and butter, an egg, fruit juice, teo or coffee and puffy local pancake with honey. All that for 2 euros and few cents. We did not have to look for another place to eat. The rest of our meal we had in the restaurant of Shwe Hin Tha resort. It was not spectacular, but they had avocado and tomatoes salads (my new favourite mix since times of Goa), OK prices and a little roof covered terrace on the beach. The staff was speaking very little English, that made ordering complicated few times.
Our room in the little house
Our room was one of three in the little house away from the main road. We had a bed and a mosquito net (very important), a little IKEA hanging shelves and a bathroom with no hot water. The electricity for charging devices was available only from 6 to 8:30 pm. The rest of the time the small led lamps were powered by a battery. We and the house was surveillanced by Ms Mya. A Myanmar woman in her midlife, who was chewing one of the paan substance, that makes her teeth red. She made sure we had everything we needed, was ready to cook us meals (she was disappointed that we did not have a chance to try the traditional Myanmar breakfast fish soup made by her), washed our clothes and made sure we have the right bus tickets back to Yangon.
The House we stayed at was located distant from the rest of the resorts, but close by to everything. We were living on a somewhat border of the area of big holiday-makers hotels and the real town with the simple lifestyle of the locals, living in bamboo shelters close by one another. The holiday makers did not care much about us. Drinking their day away was their main concern. The locals on contrary were very curios, asking us different questions, even proposing to share a meal. The kids as always were the most active to show that we have not passed their homes unnoticed. Hellos and goodbyes were screamed our from every house we walked by.
After spending moths on the road we missed a little bit of the lazy Goa times. For few days we took the chance to do and see less, to restore for new impressions in new countries. But before that we returned in Yangon, to meet our Hsipaw trekking friend Katie and see a tiny bit more of the city.