Thursday, April 23, 2009

Up in the Air

Up in the air is where we were yesterday, and where we were supposed to be on Monday.  Our flight to Vancouver was scheduled for Monday at 1PM.  At 12:41PM on Monday I checked our flight itinerary.  Needless to say, we didn't make it to Toronto airport on time, but we were able to change our flight to 1PM on Tuesday... for a fee.
On Tuesday the plans went smoothly and we landed in Vancouver where we were met by our good friend Ali (see archive photo below).

Tara and Ali rock out at karaoke during Ali's visit to Japan in 2008.

We get to spend this week enjoying the company of some friends and family in beautiful Vancouver before flying again on Saturday.  And where are we going next, you ask?  Back to Japan, I say, where we're looking forward to seeing our friends and students again!

At this point I'm sure some of you are wondering how long we'll be in Japan, and what our plans are while we're there and after that.  Unfortunately some of those details are also up in the air for now.  

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Welcome to the surreal landscape of Bagan. Thousands of pagodas punctuate the skyline here on the otherwise simple terrain. This stop definitely ranks in the top 3 sites we visited on our trip through Asia (the other two being China's Great Wall and Cambodia's Angkor Wat).

There are over 4400 pagodas in the Bagan area, most of them built around 800 years ago on the orders of ambitious kings with no sense of subtlety.

Here I try to play it cool in the shade.

Kakkouii deshou?

Preferred mode of transportation: horse cart. We hired a driver to take us around to some of the best spots in old-world style.

There are more temples than we could possibly see in the few days we spent here, but that's alright because I'd love to go back for more one day.

Bagan caters to tourists much more than other cities in Myanmar. As a result we found a few good restaurants here, which was a great relief after the first two weeks in the country. Burmese food consists largely of curries that are prepared in the morning and left out ALL day. Yes, I mean left out without being refrigerated OR heated. While Burmese people have adapted so that their stomachs can handle the bacteria that builds up, most foreigners experience some "digestion discomfort" to put it nicely. I won't go into details here, but it will suffice to say that I was unable to enjoy a meal for the first 10 days of our time in Myanmar. In Bagan I was finally able to enjoy food again, another reason to smile in this city!

Let's cuddle up and watch the sunset.

You are allowed to climb up on some of the temples. From there you can enjoy an amazing view of the temples, and the perfect sunset. Oooooh, how romantic!