Neil’s Wheeling 6 Jan 29, 2014

(This is way more exciting that anything I’m doing lately…) Here’s number 6!

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Tim reports: [Steve adds clarifications in brackets]

So far it looks like my most recent and lengthy post went out OK. I’m gonna stick around on the computer here for a bit just to see if I get one of those incredibly stressful “failure notices.” So will finish up for today, and look forward to maybe more Wi-Fi in Mandalay in a couple of days.

Getting much better sleep, still a bit deprived, will catch-up in March (sorry Dorene).

This is Weds a.m. here, and Nvs just returned from his hot-air balloon ride over the Bagan plains, the plateau where the 3000 to 4000 ancient pagoda/temple ruins are located. [The price was] About the cost of a U.S. plane ticket to someplace very cool, but he did it and is soooooo glad. A one hour flight, and he had a glass of CHAMPAIGN after the landing. He was really pumped when he got back (maybe a bit high, I don’t know). Steve will wince when he hears I mentioned Neil and hot-air in the same sentence. So be it. [wince, wince]

It was a sunrise lift off, so he got up real early. I was enjoying a leisurely breakfast, lots of tea and amazing little dried and fried fish, beautiful Burmese women in long gowns serving me, and behold between the palms and acacia trees, appeared 4 or 5 of the balloon fleet, floating over me. Very cool.

He is resting and journaling now, soon we will head back out to some villages or usually un-tourist-visited locations, like the docks and jetties, etc.

Tomorrow, (Thurs) we get up very early again for the all-day boat ride up the Irrawaddy river to Mandalay. We’re still in the [river] delta region, so it’s very flat, calm and brown even though we are many hundreds of kilometers from the ocean now.

We have discovered also that we aren’t nearly the negotiators we were starting to believe we were. We have learned a couple of modestly expensive lessons (here $10 US is a modestly expensive lesson) and yesterday around the pagodas were starting to feel a bit cocky about being able to walk away with a last best offer, and have the vendor “cave.” Hah!

At the balloon facility, starting price for the same exact item was well below our final price yesterday! Woohoo for supporting the local economy.

Anyway, suffice to say Mutt and Jeff are back on track, baby, and I’ve been ignoring some French (pronounced RUDE) backpackers who want this terminal pretty badly, and dammit, I am paying my $1 an hour fee. gsn and let them have it.

Wish every one of you could be here, somehow, to see all this. Neil and I both admit to having tears of joy at some of the moments, and then we laugh like lunatics.

mr. tim

Steve adds:

gsn??? I looked it up on Google. It stands for either:

1. The Game Show Network – a cable TV channel full of game shows.

2. The Global School Network – an educational program developer.

3. The Global Seismographic Network – a system for monitoring earthquakes.

-or- 4. Going to Sign off Now – internet-speak for good-bye.

gsn, Steve

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