Grateful

Finishing up in Perth, walking one more time around the city, From Northbridge down near Yanan Square, following King Street to the Rio Tinto Building, over bridges to Elizabeth Quay, then over to Barrack Square,  back through London Court, taking the new connecting bridges from Carillon City to Forrest Chase Square to Perth Train Station to the Art Gallery of WA (Western Australia – Not WA (和) the Japanese cultural concept of “harmony”).

November has been cold for Perth, one of the coldest on record.  Last year, we experienced one of the coldest Octobers on record.  I guess we are just lucky.  Nothing even close to freezing, but most places are set up for sizzling summers in 35-40 deg C range (95-105 deg F).

One last restaurant to try was the Annalakshmi on the Swan at Barrack Square by Elizabeth Quay. It overlooks the harbor, serves Indian buffet everyday. Patron’s pay what they feel. I just took a small spoonful to taste and yet was stuffed. Walked all the way up to Northbridge afterward.

This place exists in a central tourist spot with a beautiful view. Knowing that there is a place like this just inspires me.  I was happy to pay what I felt.

 

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Simple Vegan fare with Cumin Water

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Coffee and a pudding overlooking the Red Baron biplane

 

 

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More Gardens, More Parks

One of the delights of Perth is coming across private homes with stunning gardens.  Marvelous is the word that comes to my mind looking at the stunning colors and the detailed planning and cultivation. Here are highlights of our last few days that were favored with some clear blue skies.

Besides catching the free CAT blue line bus in Russell Square, we wandered around the waterfront between Elizabeth Quay, the Convention Center, and Barack Square and Jetty.

The bleak environment of Heirisson Island is a contrast to the gardens.  We walked the entire island in late morning.  It may be possible to see Kangaroos in the reserve earlier in the day.

 

 

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Perth: What’s not to Love

Two weeks in our neighborhood discovering.  Every walk is an adventure.

We stay in a converted brewery that is a 20 min walk to Hyde Park.  Other directions take us to Stuart Street Reserve, Ivy Park, or Russell Square. The free CAT buses are really convenient.  Sometimes we walk out and take a short bus trip home.

 

The streets are filled with interesting art and unique coffee shops.

Here are links to some of our favorites:

Places that we enjoyed twice:

And finally, one of the best natural food stores in the world:

Kakulas Brothers has bulk foods that allow us to purchase just what we need for our limited time at very reasonable prices, better than many popular grocery stores.

What’s not to love?

 

 

 

 

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Catching up in Perth

We flew to Australia from Singapore on Scoot Airlines. We caught up with Daughter who arrived in Perth from Cairns a few hours before us. It is the third time for us in Perth so I’m searching for the unique

This post uses the new editor from WordPress.  A few features such as sharing are missing. More importantly the output of the new editor does not display correctly or usefully in Safari on an iPad.

 

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Singapore Lights

After Kuala Lumpur, we spent 24 hours in Singapore. The contrasts with my first visit in 1981 (Gosh, almost 40 years ago) are stunning.  We stayed in the Geylang district which prides itself in retaining and refurbishing many of the old style shophouses.  The Nanyang Old Coffee captures some of the nostalgia (Nanyang meaning South Sea is the Chinese name for Singapore). The grungy apartments converted into hostels of Bencoolen street are long gone along with the night markets selling bootleg cassettes of “Donny and Marie’s Greatest Hits.”

Here are some photos of the lights on our walk.

Answers from previous post:

The cars are driving on the right side on this road.  Malaysia follows UK standard of driving on the left side. At this location, the connection between one way streets and the  building construction resulted in the reversed lanes.

Singapore memories:

On my first journey around the world, Singapore was my third stop on the continent of Asia after Korea and Hong Kong.  All other stops were on islands: Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Borneo.

The stories by Catherine Lim in her book, O Singapore! (1989) provided an introduction and an understanding to Singapore.

The Singapore Dollar used to be on par with the Malaysian Ringgit (1 SGD = 3.031 MYR), now it is on par with the Australian Dollar (1 SGD – 1.003 AUD).

In the last 50 years, Singapore’s area has increased by almost 25% due to land reclamation.

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Kuala Lumpur Recovery

During our short stay in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I captured a few new views. The first two are views from Genting Highlands, a casino, hotel, and entertainment complex North of Kuala Lumpur.

 

 

 

One of the places we stayed was connected to public transport so well that several days I never touched street level.  Walking was safer with no broken sidewalk obstacles, no need to carry Umbrella during rainy season, there was a seat on the LRT for me.

Answers from previous post:

  1. Playwright: George Bernard Shaw
  2. Activist: Gandhi
  3. Saxophone: John Coltrane
  4. Beatle: George Harrison
  5. Detested Fascist: Hitler

Others can be found on Wikipedia: List of Vegetarians

A Visual Question: What is odd about this road in the Brickfields / Little India district of Kuala Lumpur?

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The Accidental Vegan

An inspiration for this post comes from noneuclideansofa blog. I enjoy his observations on life and living.

An inspiration for the vegan traveler is the Cook the Beans blog: Ubud on a Scooter and Punkin Soup are recent posts.

I should probably create an entire blog about my journey and transformation into a Vegan.  Devra Gartenstein already wrote a recipe book called Accidental Vegan. It is hard to know where to start, what to tell, and how to avoid boring my audience.

Growing up in a small town in Minnesota in the 1950’s and 60’s, pizza and McDonald’s were exotic foods.  Here are some memories and influences.

  • My mother teaching me how to eat with chop sticks when I was 12 years old.
  • My introduction to tacos and Tabasco sauce at a Foreign Exchange Student conference.
  • Katherine Gustafson and all the friends from around the world who met at her house on Saturday evenings.  Many interesting foods.
  • Frances Moore’s Diet for a Small Planet that taught how to get complete proteins from grains and legumes.
  • Living a year without meat.
  • Traveling the world and discovering oysters, raw fish, uncooked steak tartare, and cannibal toast made with uncooked pork.
  • Finding more vegetarian and natural food restaurants in America. I’m thinking of the Mud Pie on Lyndale and Seward Cafe on Franklin.
  • Discovering Asian vegetarian cuisines in Japan, Malaysia, along with India.
  • Discovering I am allergic to eggs; later finding that I’m less sensitive to duck eggs (The difference between jungle fowl and waterfowl).
  • Reducing meat and cheese in the diet to control gout.

In Turkey this July and August, my joints began really hurting, first pelvis, then shoulder, then toes, then wrist.  In Ankara, the good doctor diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis. Her prescription: Some vitamins and no more meat, chicken, fish, or milk products.  Not even fat free yogurt. Eggs were OK, but with my allergies: I’m a Vegan.

Ethically, I’m happy with the result.  Physically, all the pain is gone, only an occasional tightness in the shoulder.

In the past 6 months, it was easier to find Vegan options in tourist areas: Siem Reap Cambodia, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in Thailand, Amman Jordan, Cairo Egypt, and Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Myanmar/Burma, Mongolia, Turkey, and Tunisia were hard. Many Vegetarian options have eggs or cheese. I’m flexible when necessary.

Here are some particularly delicious meals:

 

Answers from previous post:

  1. For leeches, a little salt makes them fall right off.  A mixture of liquid soap or detergent and salt rubbed on the shoes makes a good prevention.
  2. For first aid, Wife always carries bandages, neosporin ointment, airline wetwipe packets, a Swiss Army card with scissors, tweezers, toothpick, file.
  3. We did not enter the Buddhist Sri Dalada Maligawa Temple, Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. We walked around the outside looking for hiking trails and viewed it from a distant hill.

Some Vege trivia:

  1. Who is my favorite Vegetarian Playwright?
  2. Who is my favorite Vegetarian Political Activist?
  3. Who is my favorite Vegetarian Saxophonist?
  4. Who is my favorite Vegetarian Beatle?
  5. Who is my abhorred Vegetarian Fascist?
Posted in Egypt, living, Malaysia, memory, Thailand, Travel, Vegan | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Kandy is Sweet, Back to Mount Lavinia

I can’t resist the title for the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka.  We see many of new places, but in Kandy I had a new experience. We went walking in the Udawatta Kele Forest Sanctuary.  See the photo of the giant liana.  I don’t remember touching any greenery or leaving the path. On the way down after seeing other hikers checking their legs, I found a leech had attached itself to the back of my thigh.  Wife who has experience with these things, grabbed a stick and knocked it off.

After Kandy, we returned to Colombo staying south of the city in Mt. Lavinia.  I’m not sure how many seashore pictures my considerate audience can handle.  Here are a few.

Walking along Hotel Road in Mt. Lavinia, I began to remember my trip back in 1987.  I think, I was returning to Japan after two weeks doing computer network support in Saudi Arabia. I was able to book stopovers in Sri Lanka and Korea on the return.

PIA, Pakistan Airlines picked up passengers in Sri Lanka on their route from Karachi to Seoul, Korea.  I don’t know why the airport near Mt. Lavinia was used instead of the main airport north of Colombo. I remember very tight security.  When I left, I was frisked entering the airport, going through immigration and customs, entering the boarding area, and finally, on entering the airplane.

Answers from previous post:

  1. Kottu – Paratha or roti bread chopped up with other ingredients and stir fried in oil.  All the vegetarian ones we found used egg or cheese, so I only tried pieces of the paratha on wife’s plate.
  2. Hoppers and String Hoppers are breakfast dishes.  The first are crepes formed in a bowl shape usually with an egg and maybe other delights inside.  String hoppers are soft white noodles served with curry.
  3. Wood apple is a pungent fruit similar to a passion fruit in tecture with a tough skin.  We had both wood apple fruit and juice.
  4. Arthur C Clark, author and scientist, emigrated from England to Ceylon in 1956.  Ceylon became Sri Lanka in 1972.  He co-wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968.

Things to know:

  1. What is the best prevention and removal of leeches?
  2. What does my wife always carry for first aid?
  3. What famous temple did we miss in Kandy?
Posted in memory, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Leaving Tunis – Arriving Colombo

We left Tunis on a rainy day.  It started with me standing on the main street corner trying to hail a taxi.  One let out riders just across from me.  I zipped over, confirmed he would take me to airport, jumped in, and gave him broken directions in French to our hotel on the back streets where Wife waited under an awning.  At the airport I tried to change back my Tunisian Dinars.  Impossible without a receipt from a bank exchange. My ATM receipt was not accepted.  It’s not the first time ending up with extra cash.  We bought snacks and the international edition of the New York Times (I miss the International Herald Tribune).  The cleaning staff received the remaining dinars.

We flew Emirates Airline arriving in the evening in Dubai.  After a two hour stopover, we boarded our flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka, arriving at 7 am. Many years ago (maybe 1987 or 1988) I visited Colombo, but nothing looks familiar.

We stayed in Colombo for a week visiting some of the historic areas.

 

We left Colombo by train.  We took second class in the intercity express as first was totally booked.  We had reserved seats. Not the same experience as the packed commuter train shown in the banner.

Answers from previous post:

  1. Hannibal was born in Tunis. During the Second Punic War, led an army with war elephants through Spain, over the Pyrenees, then over the Alps to attack Italy.
  2. Claudia Cardinale. She did speak Sicilian as her father came from Sicily.  In 1967, she was my favorite Italian Actress. She is well known for her roles in The Pink Panther and Felini’s , but my favorite is Fitzcaraldo, opposite Klaus Kinski.

Time for Trivia:

  1. Besides being famous for tea, Sri Lanka is known for these famous dishes.  Guess what they are? Kottu, Hoppers, String Hoppers, Woodapple.
  2. What does 2001: A Space Odyssey have to do with Sri Lanka. (No, it’s not about Zoroaster – answer 4).
Posted in memory, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Travel | Tagged | 1 Comment

Tunis turnaround

After Cairo, we continued on west along Northern Africa to Tunisia.  We stayed within a few blocks of the Tunis medina, the old city with its markets.  One day, we took an hour train ride up the coast to the historical city of Carthage. We got caught in a heavy downpour.  The first since Ulaanbaatar.

Answers from previous post:

  1. A rope with thirteen knots equally spaced can be used to lay out right angles.  Knot 1 and 13 are anchored with one stake.  Then a triangle is formed by stretching out knots 5 and 8 so the rope is taught.  Fixing these knots with stakes creates a right triangle with legs of 4 units and 3 units and a hypotenuse of 5 units (I’m sure you all remember that on a right triangle 4² * 3² = 5²).
  2. In 1799, a French soldier stationed at Fort Julien (the name the French gave to Fort Qaitbey) discovered the Rosetta stone in the original walls. Ruins of old temples were used as building materials in the 1400’s.
  3. This is an authentic Chinese restaurant in an area where there are many Chinese Muslims residing.  Many are Uigher Chinese emigrating from the Western Provinces of China.

Time for Trivia:

  1. Who is the most famous military commander born in Tunis (remembered for elephants)?
  2. Who was the most beautiful Italian girl in Tunisia in 1957 (although she only spoke French and Arabic)?

 

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Cairo: Coffee with Cardamon

After Amman, Jordan we continued on to Egypt to see the pyramids.  Booking a hotel for three days in Giza with a view of the pyramids included free airport pickup.   Giza city on the eastern side of the Pyramid Necropolis does not feel like a big city.  With horses and camels in the dusty streets, it felt like we were exploring a little village.  The pyramids are magnificent.  What I enjoyed most about our day exploring them was meeting some school boys aged about ten or eleven.  They climbed 30 or 40 meters on the great pyramid and took photos of each other.  They were headed higher when some official yelled and they decided to come down.

After Giza, we booked a place in the center of Cairo.  It was an easy walk to the Nile and the Egyptian Museum.  September is still hot in Cairo so we spent the whole day in the museum.

I love Egyptian coffee.  It is brewed like Turkish coffee but they roast it with cardamon.  Almost every other block near our Cairo hotel had a coffee roaster. In the evenings, we could find them by the coffee cardamon smell in the air. Unfortunately, the Internet has not evolved yet to allow me to post the aroma.

Answer from previous post:

I don’t know yet.  T E Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia certainly captures the imagination of the 14 year old school boy inside me.  As a traveler, it’s Gertrude Bell who inspires.  Maybe, I will have an idea after reading Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom and Wallach’s Desert Queen.

Some Egyptian Trivia:

  1. Why was a rope of thirteen knots useful in constructing the corners of the pyramids?
  2. Where was the Rosetta Stone stored by the Ottoman engineers building the Fort of Qaitbey?
  3. We did not eat at the El Hawary Restaurant, but it is an interesting neighborhood.

 

Posted in artifact, Egypt, memory, Travel | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Stairways to Amman

From Ankara, we flew Pegasus Low Cost Airline to Amman, Jordan.  It was a bit chaotic getting checked in.  The agent was very efficient once he saw just one bag to check and all our papers in order.

Amman streets are wonderful for exploring ancient Roman, Greek, and Ottoman temples, fountains, and other ruins all in the shadow of the Amman Citadel (see banner). Our place had a beautiful view of the old city which was walking distance away.

I love how the streets and neighborhoods are connected by stairways.  I wish I would have started photographing them from the first day. These are mostly in our neighborhood.

After Burma, Mongolia, and Turkey, it was finally very easy to get vegan food. I enjoyed it all in many delicious restaurants: Falafel, Baba Ganoush, Homous, all the different breads, olive oil, Fuul. The doctor in Ankara said, “No meat, no dairy.” I’m allergic to eggs.  On the positive side, this Vegan diet is showing positive results in controlling joint pain.  Keeping my fingers crossed carefully.

Just one today: Who is more interesting: Gertrude Bell or Thomas E Lawrence?

Answers from previous post:

  1. In the meat section Turkey is called Hindi. (It’s complicated why English calls the bird turkey.  Basically, the birds came to England by way of Spanish traders who said they came from Turkey because some of the birds came from Madagascar by way of North Africa (then under the Ottoman empire).
  2. Bruce Wayne of course likes the South Eastern city of Turkey called: Batman.
  3. Demre is the ancient Greek city of Myra where Saint Nicholas lived. Patron Saint of Amsterdam – Sinterklaas, known as Santa Claus.
  4. Hard decision.  Mount Ararat lies about halfway between the two.
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On to Ankara

We spent the first week of September in Ankara, capital of Turkey.  With a lot of planning and organizing to do, there was only one day for serious exploring.  It was a clear day, so we headed to Ankara Castle.  A taxi took us to the neighborhood and we walked through the old town streets up to the entrance.  Climbing up on the walls revealed views of the sprawling city.  They don’t capture the feel of the shops and the Saturday morning activity.

Here are some random trivia and jokes:

  1. What is turkey (the bird) in Turkish (Why does English call the fowl turkey anyway)?
  2. What is Bruce Wayne’s favorite city in Turkey?
  3. How is the southern city of Demre in Antalya province connected to Christmas?
  4. Would you rather drive a car to Kars or a van to Van?

Answers from previous post:

  1. Turkish Bath – Hamam in Turkish or Hammam in English, Steam bath and spa originating in the Ottoman empires.
  2. Turkish Coffee – Who needs a filter or expensive machine.  Just boil it up strong in small pan.  Lately, I don’t even need a small pan, just stirring boiling hot water into coffee grounds.  Works best at sea level.
  3. Turkish Delight – Lokum in Turkish.  Sugary gummy sweet.  The best ones have flower, fruit and nut flavors.  Edmund in Chronicles of Narnia introduced many of us to Turkish Delight.
  4. Turkish Towel – This is not the fluffy towel from Bed Bath and Beyond.  This is a thin, absorbent cloth with tassels, called a Peshtemal.
Posted in Travel, Turkey | Tagged | 1 Comment

Moda Days, Back from Baku

We returned to the Asia side of Istanbul on returning from Baku, Azerbaijan.  This time we stayed in the heart of the upmarket neighborhood of Moda in the Kadıköy district.

Cats are popular here, too.  Here are some that try to capture streets from our neighborhood.

We hiked around a little bit, walking along the Marmara Sea and up Camlica Park (sitting next to a large new mosque).

Stopped by a nice little vegan restaurant a few blocks from our place, called Manca Ev Yemekleri. We have cut back on meat in the last six months.  At this point, I had stopped eating carcasses but still ate dairy: yogurt and cheese, mainly and duck eggs when found.  New culinary adventures began at our next stop.

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A cheery little restaurant.

What’s your favorite thing that starts with Turkish:

  1. … Bath
  2. … Coffee
  3. … Delight
  4. … Towel

Answers from previous post:

  1. Freddy Mercury – Born: Farrokh Bulsara on September 5, 1946, in Zanzibar, Tanzania of Parsi parents practicing Zoroastrians
  2. Amahl and the Night Visitors – The three Magi on their way to honor Jesus in Bethlehem are Zoroastrian Priests.
  3. Ateshgah of Baku – Fire Temple – Originally a Zoroastrian Temple with natural flame.
  4. 2001: A Space Odyssey – Music theme is Richard Strauss’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (Thus spoke Zoroaster). Reference to a philosophical novel by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.
Posted in Travel, Turkey | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Baku Photos

I’m experimenting with posting more photos, trying to show unique perspectives of our travels.  So look out for a post a day until I catch up with my camera roll.

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Evening walk by the open air archeological museum near our place in the old city. It was late as I was delayed at immigration getting my visa in order. Wife got our bag and independently got herself to the apartment.

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Heydar Aliyev Exhibition Center, named after current president’s father. This is the least spectacular view.

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One of many nicely renovated buildings

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Famous Flame towers lit with LED flames.

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One of the many Baku cats

 

What’s your favorite Zoroastrian reference:

  1. Freddy Mercury
  2. Amahl and the Night Visitors
  3. Ateshgah of Baku – Fire Temple
  4. 2001: A Space Odyssey

Answers in my next post.

Posted in Azerbaijan, Travel | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Grandmother’s Lavash

Our first days in Baku we wandered around the old city.  I tried my hand at balancing teacups.  Looking for new adventures, we wandered around the outskirts of Baku taking a local bus out to the Fire Temple.  Originally, a temple around a natural flame worshiped by Zoroastrians.  Later, it was taken over by Sikh immigrants.

On the way back, we stopped at a small shop near the metro station.  I got a Lavash and a small tea (Lipton in a plastic cup).  Lavash is a type of flat bread common all over the lands of the old Ottoman Empire.  This one reminded me of my grandmother May. It had a slightly crunchy texture and yeasty butter taste that took me back to my childhood.

Afterward, I thought about how did my Grandmother learn to make Lavash.  Was it something she invented, or something from the Norwegians in Windom, Minnesota like Lefse.  Maybe some of the Russian immigrants from Mountain Lake made it.  I still remember the Borsch suppers at the Mennonite Church.  An even better story is that she learned about it from Azerbaijani or Armenian immigrants during the times she lived in  California.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reincarnated in Şişli

After our time in Mongolia, we continued west for another go round in Istanbul.  This must make seven times we have visited, but the first time to spend time in summer.

Walking the streets and snapping photos of cats put me in a metaphysical mood.  I happened to run across this story about the Dalai Lama:

Skeptic Carl Sagan asked the Dalai Lama what he would do if a fundamental tenet of his religion (reincarnation) were definitively disproved by science. The Dalai Lama answered, “If science can disprove reincarnation, Tibetan Buddhism would abandon reincarnation… but it’s going to be mighty hard to disprove reincarnation.”

from The Boundaries of Knowledge in Buddhism, Christianity, and Science”, by Paul David Numrich, p. 13, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, ISBN 9783525569870

This idea appeals to me. Some beliefs might be able to be disproved by science, but it will take a long time.  According to advanced geometry, any given angle cannot be trisected (divided into three equal angles) with a straight edge and compass. However, given sufficient time and effort (possibly centuries), a straight edge and compass can trisect any angle to any precision required (±.1 or ±.005 etc), just never exact (± 0.0).

I digress. What I really want to know is this: if reincarnation exists, will I come back as human or animal or some other entity. If so, how do I live an imperfect life just bad enough to come back as a cat in Istanbul, preferably in the Fulya or Cihangir neighborhood.

While I ponder, here are my recent photos of cats all over Istanbul:

 

 

 

 

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Finding our Nomadic Roots

“We’re Mongolian. We adapt anywhere.” Our friend in Ulaanbaatar explained how she and her family had no problems moving to Washington, DC and then back to Mongolia. After four years wandering the road, there are no roots to find but it was fun to imagine riding with the Mongol horde a thousand years ago.

We hung out in the capital city for four weeks, exploring four different areas (Central, East Side Soviet Style, South New City, West – a step away from the gers (yurts).  Some things to know:

  1. Genghis Khan (or Chinggis Khaan) is the big name here: avenues, parks, airports, beer.
  2. Almost all museums charge extra if you want to take photos.  Good for them: less distractions and fewer selfie sticks.
  3. We found only one traditional Mongolian restaurant that was vegetarian.
  4. In contrast to wide open spaces, new housing developments are all walled, gated and no shortcuts.  The older parts still maintain the openness with footpaths, bridges and interconnected parks.
  5. Ulaanbaator is the coldest national capital of the world with average annual temperature of -1.3 C. Even colder than International Falls, Minnesota at 2 C.  That’s why we visited in summer.

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RGN-PEK-ULN (Travel notes)

We flew from Yangon in Myanmar to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia with a 36 hour stopover in Beijing as both flights were in the middle of the night.  Three times in the past three years, we have flown over this part of Asia at night.

Some say long night journeys can save on hotel.  Not in my case, see our itinerary below.   I booked two nights in Beijing at the Aulympic Airport Hotel so we could check in at 8 am instead of 2 pm.  I’m getting too old to spend 14 hours trying to rest in an airport.  Things we learned (each one was an adventure):

  1. Chinese is useful to talk to front desk.  Google translate is the next best thing. Download simplified Chinese to allow offline use.
  2. Hotel email is usually not divulged from hotel or booking websites.  We used fax to alert hotel on our unusual schedule.
  3. Google translate worked pretty good at converting English to Chinese characters for the fax.  Tip: Use simple Subject-Verb-Object sentences with common words.  Limit adjectives and prepositional phrases.
  4. After a little discussion and explanation the staff was very kind and allowed a three hour late checkout for our flight on to Ulaanbaatar.
  5. The Chinese Visa free stay for up to 144 hours in Beijing takes about two hours in line, two sets of fingerprints taken, and a good helping of confusion.

Below you can see the map of our journey and the horizon as we neared Beijing. I did not even find a single cat to photograph in China.

Map-Asia

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Itinerary

Depart: Wed, 13 June 23:50
RGN Rangoon, Yangon International Airport

Flight: CA906   Operated By: Air China     Flight Time: 4h30m

Arrive: Thu, 14 July 05:50
PEK Beijing, Capital International Airport

Depart: Fri, 15 June 21:10
PEK Beijing Capital International

Flight: OM 224 Miat Mongolian Airlines    Flight Time: 1h30m

Arrive: Fri, 14 July 23:40
ULN Ulaanbaatar Chinggis Khaan International

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From Burma to Myanmar and back

In 1981, I flew from Bangkok to Rangoon on Biman Bangladeshi Airlines.  In May, we flew Air Asia from Bangkok to Mandalay.

The first time, only one week visas were issued.  I just stayed in Rangoon as it took a lot of hard travel to make Mandalay and back in a week. This time we spent three weeks working our way south by bus. After Mandalay, we explored the temple city of Bagan and then to Yangon (current name of Rangoon).  It is hard to know whether Myanmar or Burma is the more politically correct.

There are way, way too many photos for me to post.  I started this post with about thirty but finally reduced to some significant experiences.

Mandalay

Kipling’s poem, Mandalay, is neither about Mandalay nor the road, but even today I think it captures an old soldier’s nostalgia for youth and adventure.  We stayed just across from the fortress.  The Kuthodaw Pagoda complex on the East side has a shrine for each tablet of the Tripitaka Buddhist Scriptures.  We walked over to the Irrawaddy river, the principal river of Myanmar.

Bagan

Some two thousand temples standing of the original twenty thousand.  After several earthquakes, access to the upper levels has been prohibited.  We still found many inspiring panoramas and interesting artefacts.

Yangon

We spent an entire afternoon at the Shwe Dagon Temple complex, avoiding thunderstorms and watching both tourists and locals.  Compared to 35 years ago, it is much better organized, cleaner, and worthwhile spending extra time to see the exhibits. Another day, we spent four hours riding around the city on the local circular commuter train, seeing both countryside and the hectic pace of city markets.  Finally, we wandered along the lake at Inya park coming to the house where Aung San Suu Kyi was kept under house arrest for many years.

 

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