Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Back to Burma

Another journey starts! I'm returning to Burma (which we should now call the Union of Myanmar) for a short cruise on that magical river the Irrawaddy (as the English spelt it). In addition to the cruise, I'm finding out more about the various charitable initiatives organised through the cruise ship the 'Road to Mandalay' which is operated by Orient Express.

There are so many parts of the world I've not visited, I'm normally content to make one visit and then explore somewhere else. But Burma has had a special effect on me and this will be my fifth visit!

I'm writing this in the Admiral's Club Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3. This is the American Airlines lounge but it's shared by the Taiwanese carrier Eva Air with whom I'm flying to Bangkok this evening.

Alan picked me up at home a little before 5.0 p.m. and drove me to Heathrow, passing through a number of tremendous rainstorms en route. Terminal 3 was reasonably quiet so check-in and security was not as tedious as it can frequently be. The airline lounge is a wonderful oasis of calm to prepare for the rigours of the 13-hour flight to Bangkok.

En route from the airline lounge to the aircraft, I spent a few minutes in the departure lounge - a vivid reminder of just how many people would be sharing the flight tonight!

The departure lounge at Heathrow, just before boarding the aircraft.

This will be my fifth visit to Burma. There are lots of pictures from earlier trips:-

1st Visit in 2008 - Pictures are here. My first visit to Burma was part of a Round the World trip.

2nd Visit in 2008 - Pictures are here.

3rd Visit in 2009 - Pictures are here.

4th Visit in 2010 - These pictures can't currently be viewed, thanks to the demise of the fotopic photo hosting site. I'll re-post them as soon as I can.

One of the charitable initiatives in Burma run by 'Road to Mandalay' is Educational Support in poorer areas of the country. There are some pictures of a new building being opened at Htee Pu school (whilst I was in Burma during 2010) here.

Another initiative is a small Medical Centre in Bagan which started treating patients a couple of months ago. There are a few pictures of the building and its early clinics here. All being well, I'll see the clinic for myself on this trip.

I'll tell you more when I can but, for now, the 'Big Silver Bird' beckons.