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I spent most of today in airports and airplanes as I flew from Phnom Penh to Yangon. There was a long stop over and my flight to Mandalay was cancelled so ended up flying to Yangon in the end. I’m just in the door of my pleasant hostel in downtown Yangon. I already love Myanmar ( Burma).
But I want to talk about airports. Truth is I love them for no good reason. There is always a faint optimistic buzz in the air. The wonder of flight. Hope. Movement. The going away or the coming home. The promise of newness. We are all itinerants at heart. Im convinced of it. Its in our nature to move around, to seek out fresh pastures and oppertunities. Nothing shakes us up like a good journey. Ive even read that new places promotes the growth of new neural pathways as our brains learn to navigate a new environment.
Of course there is global warming to contend with and Ive no answer for that corundrum but surely world peace, cultural exchange and understanding are promoted by travel. Perhaps quality over quantity is the key.
Airports embody our age like nothing else. Utilitarian, bustling, clean, functional. There is no room for art or artiface. Shops, restaurants, cafes, off duty. Sometimes entire shopping malls. Ecumenical prayer room ( maybe). And its a divine consumerism because we are on our way somewhere better ! What could be more enjoyable ? Movement. No need to think or introspect. Wifi. Coffee. And I love it too.
So my plan has been interrupted by a flight cancellation but maybe it’s no bad thing. Mandalay has possibly inspired the worst poem ever written in any case. Read it here.
Awful stuff Im sure you’ll agree. I read Orwell’s Burmese days earlier in the trip which gives a great insight into colonial era Myanmar (Burma). You would feel as sorry for the poor English expats administering the firms as the Burmese after reading it.
So now I have the dilemma of taking two overnight buses and going up to the amazing temples of Bagan for a two days or going to the monastery earlier than planned. Ill keep you posted. Thanks for reading. Here is the sunset which I caught at the airport on arrival into Myanmar.
Alan Coakley is a Trafal Director with Trafalgar Tours based in Ireland.