Sunday, January 29, 2017


if i name the new president it's too much
it's a power thing

i have all of it

you know who i'm talking about
i'll probably end up on someone's list for this

how many of us on the head of a pin

naming or not naming to our heart's content
a rose is a rose is a rose

by any other name

if you move the letters around you get SPOUT

the implications won't warm you any

consider this
an early Valentine's gift

for the run-a-mouth

run amok


Sunday, January 01, 2017

Myanmar, Day 12-16: Buddha Caves, Ngapali Beach, Yangon Redux & Doha Return

Exploring Pindaya Cave.
We woke early the next morning to drive through the fog to the Pindaya Caves, which are a group of caves filled with Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes. It sounded like quite an unusual place, and we had time to spare before our midday flight to Ngapali Beach, so, even though it added a few hours to our travel time, we wanted to try to squeeze it in.

We made the early drive through the foggy countryside and Angela and Vito slept most of the way. When we were approaching the site, we could see a long staircase up the side of the mountain for religious visitors who wanted to make the pilgrimage but, as monitoring our time was important and as the religious significance was lost on us, we simply drove as close as we could to the entrance. The caverns were a kind of maze with many niches and nooks to discover, full of mainly gold statues of various shapes, sizes and styles. It was certainly an unusual place, and we were impressed that there weren't any tourists, so it felt like our own discovery. When we were done roaming the caverns, our driver took us to a little workshop on the way out of town and we watched a young lady show us how she made paper. Angela helped her add flowers to the mulch. I bought a small blank book of the paper, which was bound together with a bamboo spine. When we were finished, we made the remaining journey to the airport and awaited our flight to Ngapali Beach.

The view from the lounge chair.
After we landed, someone from Lin Thar Oo Lodge met us at the airport and we were soon checked in. Ngapali Beach was located in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, which is where the Rohingya people are involved in some conflict with the government, but we did not witness any unrest. In fact, travel seemed to be quite restricted in that region, and we really had no designs on straying too far from our lodgings. Our bungalow was situated right on the wide white sand, and we didn't really do much for the next three days except walk up and down the beach, lie on lounge chairs and swim in the Bay of Bengal, which was exactly what we had been planning to do. Vito spent most of the time floating in an inner tube, available for rent on the beach, or digging in the sand.

Unfortunately, on our last day Vito was violently ill and didn't really sleep much, getting up every few hours to go to the bathroom. We were worried because we were returning to Yangon the next day and it could add an unwelcome level of complexity to our travel. Vito seemed weak but much better the next morning and we packed our things and traveled back to Yangon. We had booked a hotel in the city center, which would place us in the heart of the New Year's Even celebration. By the time we had arrived at the hotel, however, I was feeling bad and, by that afternoon, both Angela and I were struck down with the same illness that thrashed Vito the day before. We we spent the rest of New Year's Eve in our hotel room watching a Myanmarese New Year's Eve TV special.

On the following morning, we gathered our belongings, went to the airport and, eventually, returned to our home in Doha. Despite our new year's illnesses, we had had a great tripmore than what we had expected in many wayand the people were accommodating and friendly everywhere we went.