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Friday, April 20, 2012

Dharma (Beach) Bums

Have I yet mentioned not coming to Myanmar in April? Well, learn from us that it's REALLY not the best month to be there. Everything seems to come to a close at the start of the water festival. First, it's oppressively hot (pun, somewhat intended), already limited transport options fall to a trickle, and around the time of the holiday accommodations are fully booked and past that, especially at the beaches in the northwest, they just completely shut down for the rainy season.

I had a rough itinerary at the start of our trip here but I ended up reversing the trip posing some challenging transport issues. One thing you learn after being on the road this long is flexibility! I wanted beach last but it was going to have to be first if we ever wanted to get there. So, after being stuck in Yangon, we hopped on a plane to Ngapali Beach. 

Ngapali is no secret, so of course, when we arrive with no reservations, many places are already booked. But by some stroke of luck, the place where I originally wanted to stay, e-mailed, but never got a response, had a room for us for 2 nights. Another lesson in Myanmar: just because you sent an e-mail doesn't mean they got it or can respond to you in return. 

Our poor taxi stuck in sandy Laguna Lodge
Beach front, airy, and with a view of the beach while you're in the shower!
Breakfast at Laguna Lodge
Not only was the scenery beach perfect, but we had some women who could not get enough of Alex or maybe it was her bossiness, forcing them to play with her. Who knows. Anyway, they made great makeshift babysitters as I mindlessly drifted off with coconut in hand. 

Rake a little more to the left
Future in jewelery making? Alex's creation.
Beautiful Rakhine woman who supplied my daily coconut
With more resorts than independent guesthouses or hotels, I expected Ngapali beach to have chock-a-block high rise buildings on the beach. Instead, all of it is (mostly) low-key (even the more pricey digs) bungalows spread around a pool or restaurant. In addition, in between and across the "road" are local restaurants and businesses. I hope it doesn't get more developed than this!

Pick a fish, any fish.

and more locals.

We decided to rent some bicycles after Alex's nap only to get her heel and ankle caught between the wheel and frame. We explored more of Ngapali but only after some serious crying, icing, band-aids, and piggy-backing from one place to another.

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