Off to Myanmar. Almost.
At the airport I become A Man Without A Country. Okay, maybe a bit dramatic but a typo on my visa regarding the expiration date of my passport meant they wouldn’t let me on the plane. The woman at the ticket counter even said it was a typo, one number off on the year, but she couldn’t let me through with a typo. I love blind adherence to rules!
Then the whole thing became one of those SAT questions that goes something like this:
Sal needs to fly to Myanmar as soon as possible, he has a valid passport and no visas.
He can get a visa online from the Myanmar site when the government is open.
He can fly to Bangkok (half way there), but can only be admitted to Thailand without a visa if he has an exit flight booked.
The Myanmar government is shut down for a holiday for 24 hours – no visas issued.
The agent at the gate won’t let Sal buy a ticket to Yangon from Bangkok without a valid visa to Yangon and won’t let Sal buy a ticket to Bangkok one-way.
If your mind is blown, then you are in good company, so was the entire staff of Vietnam Airlines. Solving this problem took longer than taking the SAT and was approached with the same sweat-dripping-down-the-temple worry as the rookie bomb squad agent wondering to cut the red or green wire to stop a nuclear detonation.
Ultimately we won, if you can call it that, and boarded a flight to Thailand that afternoon.
Go to Bonus Country of your choice (300 points).
Now you understand why there is plenty of time to blog. In the spirit of the game, we spent zero time looking at info on Myanmar so instead swam with bats. The hotel pool came replete with a squadron of bats that skimmed the surface every dusk in search of tourist blood. Vi was terrorized, me amused. To quote Vicky Vale in the Tim Burton version, “I like bats.”
Dinner was Din Tai Fung, a Shanghai dumpling house that sprouts up, saprophytically, along the walls of high end malls across Asia. Their soup dumplings will never earn points, but are so tasty.
My cold is finally clearing. My plan on leaving a snail trail of mucous around the world looks like it won’t come to fruition. Instead, I’ll be dropping dirty clothes in countries like a bird marking cars on its flight south.
Our Ringmaster said there will be hiccups. Sometimes those hiccups are minor belches. And other times the world tries to vomit all over you. Nice try World, Vi and I just made vomit-ade and drank it down like champions.
Tomorrow, Myanmar, whether they want us or not.