About a week ago I set off from the sleepy city of Mawlamyine to another sleepy city by the name of Hpa An. The journey was a refreshing deviation from the awful ‘karaoke’ buses that are disgustingly prevalent in Myanmar. *Deep breath.* Ooooh how I hate those. They aren’t REALLY karaoke, since people don’t really sing along. Nevertheless, the words show up on the screen, the music blares, and no amount of noise-cancellation can save your sanity. And let’s not forgot the soap operas.
I thought Korean soap operas were painful. I saw a Burmese soap opera yesterday that involved some sort of love triangle (I think). One of the women was screaming at the man and he slipped down the stairs, breaking his back. He ends up bed-ridden and, having the smallest amount of sense, chooses the non-crazy woman. They get all lovey-dovey and the crazy woman gets jealous. Then, one night, they all end up in some big house together as a thunderstorm rages outside. Scratch that. As the footage is spliced with stock footage of lightning striking the ground. Emotional close-up. Stock lightning. Portrait shot zoomed to an emotional close-up. Stock rain hitting water in slow motion. Repeat. Agonizing. Anyways. This being a stormy night, emotions flare and the two women shriek who knows what nonsense at each other. Then, the crazy one shoves the other and she tumbles down the stairs; striking her head and bleeding fake blood all over the place. The crippled man, who is in bed in another room, hears the commotion and drags himself to the balcony above. Seeing his beloved in a pool of blood, they make several minutes worth of grieving eye contact before she twitches like an electrocuted fish and, mercifully, expires. Stricken with despair, the main crawls to the stairs and (as much as a cripple can) flings himself down. Of course, he strikes his head in the process and dies two flights away from his beloved, while the crazy lady sits in the middle and freaks out. Then, she starts crying as a song starts playing. And lo, what’s that? It’s familiar! Wait… it can’t be… Oh yes, yes, they totally did. They slapped a dubbed version of Evanescence’s My Immortal on the scene and, instead of cutting it short after a few seconds, stretch the crying scene for the ENTIRE SONG. Of course, just for a change of pace, they had her walk ever so dramatically outside into the pouring rain. I assume because it’s an Evanescence song. Those go better with rain.
I really tried to be serious. I really did. However, as people around me expressed dismay or other emotions, my eyes were streaming from holding back my laughter. Ahhh buses. Where was I? Oh yeah.
So I was going from Mawlamyine to Hpa An. Instead of taking one of those buses, I took a pleasant 4-5 hour cruise up the Thanlwin River with a group of older European tourists. Along the way, we passed countless fields, hills, villages, and other rural niceties that made it one of my favorite days in Myanmar so far. I took a few photos along the way… check them out below!