Getting There is Half the Fun

Sue and I enjoy river breezes on deck on the river ferry Yamone Aung.

In Myanmar, getting there is half the fun, whether on their hand crafted roads or on the river. Especially the river. Even though Thingangon was a major village (it even shows on Google maps, but in the wrong place) it was accessible only by boat. The nine in our party were based at Pathein, and required a fast boat to reach the island and return within the day. The only boat fast enough was a 20 knot 120 foot river ferry that normally transports 160 people. This allowed us a one way time of five hours. It was a bit pricey for Myanmar, about the same as renting a 19’ runabout in the North Idaho town from where I come, but our price included the fuel and the crew!

Our boat was too long! Throughout the trip I tried to get a photo of the entire boat. I never could back up enough to do it without buildings or too many trees getting in the way.

Even so, we had to start at four AM on December 14, which turned out to be a great time. It was still completely dark by the time we got away from Pathein. There were no lights of any kind along the river, and no light pollution visible anywhere in the sky. This is one nice thing about being in a country which has large areas without electrical power. There must have been a meteor shower going on, because some in our party saw six. I saw four, as many as I saw near Waco, TX when I went out to see the Perseid shower earlier this year. I never could get away from the light pollution of Waco or nearby towns that time.

I just checked on the internet, and found that the Geminid shower peaked the nights of Dec 13 and 14. How about that? The first time I’m in good night seeing in years.

The first few hours in the dark were definitely the high point of that trip. I could see many more stars than I could even in Thailand. I don’t remember stargazing like that since I was a kid out in the country in North Idaho. The weather at that time was a bit cool due largely to our 20 knot speed, requiring a windbreaker. Once the sun was up for awhile we no longer needed the jackets.

Coming into the village where we took a morning coffee break.

Inside the village “coffee shop” on the pier. Clockwise from the foreground. Dave Leuthold, Carolyn Leuthold, Sue, Lyda Adair, Bill Cochran, Dennis Taylor, Daw Ah Win. Arm in the lower right supplied by Dr. Thant Thaw Kaung.

After sunrise Sue took a nap on deck. We passed a few small settlements, but only one or two of what I would call a small village. We stopped at one of these for morning coffee and a snack, after which we resumed our trip to the far south.

When we got to our destination there is only one boat landing which already had a boat at it, so we tied up beside and debarked through that boat to the pier. After a short walk out Nargis Library Recovery group arrived at our first new library building, which I describe in the previous post.

Thingangon Village. We landed through the open area in the center of the large boat on the right.

Our captain and crew.

The return trip got us back to Pathein after dark, in time for a late candle lit dinner under the stars and then to rest for our next day with World Vision to the east.

  1. Carol Kerr
    January 4th, 2011 at 03:01 | #1

    Hello Sue and Jack! I’m so happy to see these recent postings.
    We visited with Betty and Clark Thomas in December and they are
    very happy to have me print off your blogs for their private reading.
    What fascinating lives you two are leading!

    All the best to you from California!

  1. March 27th, 2015 at 21:00 | #1