Monday, November 30, 2015

Holiday Plans

So who's got travel plans for this upcoming holiday? Where you going? Who you going with? Have you been there before? Has anyone been there before?

 Obviously, I have an exciting trip planned, otherwise I wouldn't be starting this thread. I had such a good time doing the Mae Hong Song Loop 6 months ago, that I've been pining for another epic motorcycle tour. For the short time I was stationed in Naypyitaw, my favorite thing to do was to get out on the bike and tour the surrounding countryside. As I won't have a need for a visa run this upcoming holiday, I decided to spend it here in Myanmar, on the road, boldly going where (perhaps) no other motorized tourist has gone before.

First step is a bus up to Naypyitaw where my motorcycle has been parked these last 6 weeks. I got a friend who's starting it up and running it on occasion as well as pimping it out as a rental to short term visitors (he's made me $20!).

First stop: Kalaw, an old British hill station known for its scenery and cool climate. Then, off to Inle Lake, one of the most picturesque places in all Myanmar. Next, Loikaw, capital of Kayah State where I expect to see lots of women with really long necks. Back over the mountains to Taungoo, an ancient capital of old Burma. Then, Pyay, previously known as Prome, where 1500 year-old ruins are to be explored. Over the mighty Ayerwaddy River and the coastal range into Rakhine State to the town of Taungup. I don't know if I can ferry my motorbike over to the island of Munaung, but I hope so. Either way, this place is about as unexploited by tourists as you can get when it comes to little islands on the Indian Ocean. Not Phuket 30 years ago... more like 100 years ago. Back to the mainland to the glitzy and expensive resort town of Ngapali. Kanthaya and Gwa have beautiful beaches but little development. Finally back to Yangon where I'll park my bike in a yet-to-be-determined location (motorcycles aren't allowed in the city of Yangon).

Monday, November 2, 2015

Going Back to Work

It's been two and a half weeks now since I had spinal fusion surgery. I'm feeling fine; I'm like 95%. I'm ready for light duties at work and I haven't taught a class in three weeks. Since I only get 10 days sick leave per year, I had to start thinking about going back to work else I'd risk getting my pay docked.

Now, I got a doctor's note that excuses me from work for 30 days, so I didn't have to go back, but frankly, sitting around the house reading, playing uke and watching TV is fine for a few days, but eventually, it gets boring. The fluctuating daytime voltage recently here in Yangon means my aircon rarely works, so I've spent the last couple weeks sweltering as well. So, a couple days back, I e-mailed work and told them I was coming back today. Thing is, due to the schedule driven nature of language schools, I have classes to teach.

What do you do with a teacher who doesn't have any classes?

In the teachers' room, on the whiteboard, there was a note: What should Joko do?

Number one on the list was "laminate and organize commonly used learning activities"

Okay! In the steady air-con of the office, I got to chat with colleagues and learn all about lamination. Fascinating machine, the laminater. I got to use the paper cutter for hundreds of chops. I put it a good 5 hours sorta working.

In any case, it's good to be back. Recovering from surgery can be a boring thing.

On the Go in Manado 6: Amurang to Boroko

I didn't know what the roads were going to be like. I've been on lots of different kinds off roads here in SE Asia. Some are smoo...