Neil’s Wheeling #11 Feb 5, 2014 (a day late on my part)

Tim writes, Part1:

I found a keyboard in town, so a few more details of recent stuff. Sorry for the 6 [repetitive] previous sends, it’s that darn phone thing.

All is very well, both of us appear to be in reasonable good and improving health. Neil’s bowel stuff has not turned into a critical issue, as he is getting some movement, just not what we both think should be moving through given the amount of food he is eating. Of course, all this is from details he relates to me, so I’m trusting him on this.

The cold we have both shared is minimally a problem by now, both with scratchy throat coughs, no movement to our lungs though. woohoo!

The trip continues to be awesome beyond expectations / actual imagination (especially on my country bumpkin part) and I think it’s fair to believe from Neil’s reactions that it really is an incredible experience for him also.

The partnership is holding up well. Of course I couldn’t have done any of this on my own, and Neil is, at least daily, grateful for what we can accomplish working together. Our “street level” m.o. (modus opperandi/method of operation) is very comfortable for us both, and always yields amazing results.

In addition, I have no pride when it comes to being his foil. Lord, does the ‘stand-up routine’ get predictable and repetitive, but it is almost infallible!

Anyway, gonna try and get a general note out, so stand by for more. tim

Tim writes, Part 2:

Greetings from the ancient tribal area of Inle Lake.

Things are going swimmingly here now, another completely unimagined experience, especially from the country bumpkin perspective (mine). I am convinced the same is true for my worldly-traveling pardner.

Mandalay was very interesting and many “street level” rewards and touching stories from our 2nd, very urban, experience.

After an emotional farewell from the hotel staff, we were ready to head out into the hills. And man, was it a kick in the pants.

Started with an all-day (7 plus hours) ‘taxi’ ride with 4 passengers and driver in a Toyota Corolla. The two locals riding got the back windows, Neil got the front seat, as always, and I got the hump in the back seat, stooped over and bouncing the whole way.

Up into a pretty impressive mountain range, even for a couple of Oregon boys, following a ‘highway’ that wouldn’t even qualify as a decent logging road where we come from.

The 4 cylinder Toyota got a tank of bad petrol on the way and some of the 10-12% grades were almost comical. We even played leap-frog with a probably 125cc scooter, fully loaded with about 400 lbs of produce. We would catch him on every down-hill, then give it back on every rise.

Got into the mountain community of Kalaw (elev 4200 ft.’ and cold as can be) late in the day. Checked in to the “Honeymoon Villa” and will remind folks that the Asians love to give greatly inspiring, hyperbolic names to restaurants and hotels.

I also recall when Dorene went to Korea with Luc and his girlfriend, they stayed a couple of times in places simply named “Sex Hotel”. Some people just do not get to kid us about this one.

Very early the next morning (we didn’t even get to see what honeymooners in Burma get served for breakfast) we showed up at the local bus hub for all those mountain folks. Of course, it’s Toyota pick-ups, and retired buses from someplace in India.

Another totally awesome experience, no joke, and worked our way over the morning to the Inle Lake region, got checked-in to our huge room (from probably before WW I) run by a wonderful family, with lots of kids running around, laughing and screaming and fighting, and you can’t even think about shutting the windows because we’re back into the tropical clime.

Crashed until evening and got up enough energy to go into town for a marionette show. Puppets had a very important cultural, story-telling role amongst the Burmese until the Brits made it difficult and then the advent/arrival of TV sometime in the very recent past.

So, today we took a boat ride in a very Burmese fashion, down the length and all across Inle Lake, giving us perhaps one of the most dramatic days of our entire trip.

Right now, neither of us can imagine anything topping this day, though there might be some close seconds in store.

Oh, and though I used the descriptor “swimmingly” at the start, we did not get any wetter than occasional rooster tail spray from other passing boats.

The Internet cafe needs to close.

gsn. Best to all, tw

Steve adds:

Many people have asked me, what does “tw” stand for and why does it appear at the end of Tim’s messages. I checked. Apparently, Tim is using “TW” as a disguise so that he will have plausible deniability if someone questions what he was doing with Neil in Asia. Of course, Neil in Asia is different from euthanasia.

Some have also questioned why the title of these epistles is Neil’s Wheeling. Why doesn’t Tim get the blame? There is a simple answer: Tim paid me to keep his name off the title. I think he told his wife Dorene that he was at an educational conference in Nebraska.

What is it about travel that makes people want to describe their bowel’s output?

As for the hotel names, what happens in Myanmar, stays in Myanmar.

-Steve

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