The sound of screaching brakes .....
After a lovely dawn hour long boat trip across Inle Lake (freezing cold and misty), followed by a taxi & a plane hop we find ourselves in paradise. we are staying in a lovely hotel with infinity pool onto a pure white beach with palm trees on the Bay of Bengal. On the little road just outside the hotel is a string of small fresh seafood restaurants. Within an hour or so Andrew had got to know the locals & had all the latest village gossip. We have had lazy days, dined on fresh prawns (2 fill a dinner plate), crab and lobster as welll as fresh coconuts & avocados from the fruit ladies at lunchtime & had massages on the beach. We also got our temple fix by walking up the hill to the local pagoda before breakfast. A bit disappointing to hear the morning chanting was actually a CD playing over a tannoy system. Andrew called it Buddhas Greatest Hits.
This stretch of coast has a number of pretty low level reseort hotels. Behind the hotrels & at either end of the bay are simple and quite impoverished fishing villages. Today we sought out Mummy Sue (Andrew Clark Trust - thank you for the tip-off Pinky). This amazing woman & her husband left everything behind in UK and have set up a wellk run & well governed school teaching children & adults English for free (along with a number of other activities). We walked around the village with her visiiting some of the sick folk & she identified a painfully thin girl and her rather listless baby as needing urgent medical attention. We found an interpreter who ran a local shop to assertain what medical help she had already sought. We also bought half a dozen eggs so they could be mixed with rice for the malnourished mother and child. Mummy Sue told the girl to report to the school at 9am the next day where she would give her money to access the nearest medical care. More serious cases have to take the 17 hour drive to Yangon (28 hours in rainy season), and they also have to send a carer because no food or care is supplied to the patient in hospital.
On a positve note Mummy Sue says the new President of Myanmar is making changes that are more encouraging for the good of the people.