Wednesday, April 25, 2018

In the Land of the Divine Madman XII

May 24, 2003

Awoke to the sound of crickets winding down and a few birds starting up.  It was peaceful, like the warming up of an orchestra.  At the airport just past 5 a.m.  The amount of security and paperwork was insane.  This was to leave the country.  We even had to go out and identify our luggage before it was let on.

We flew our incredible takeoff through a system of valleys, our turn beginning just as we left the ground.  Once above the clouds, a few Himalayan peaks popped up, the beauty of Kangchenjunga, the world's third highest, and later Chomolungma, aka Everest, as unspectacular as said, sitting rather uninspiring among a crowd.  Our plane's shadow was haloed against the clouds, bracken style.  

Dhaka too looked as expected, tree-filled villages dwarfed by rice fields.  Canals were everywhere, barges chugging along some of the bigger rivers.  The few roads teemed with bus and truck traffic.  The land looked wet, fertile, almost sexual.  A recent rain had left the broken down structures soaked as well.  This was very third world.  On the ground, the plane began to fill with passengers of a more South Asian type, and a guy scratched himself for as long as he took to refill the petrol.  Flying out, Dhaka city sprawled, small identical buildings looked like thousands of die rolled on a green felt.  

Sleepily, drifting dreamlike into Yangon, the chords of the Beatles "Flying" going through my head.  Lush jungle, winding rivers, and rice paddies that look like a cubist painting.  We were definitely in SE Asian again.  Gold stupas lean against lush forests.  Shacks line river banks, figures in the canals.  The roads hold bike traffic and slow moving figures.  (And why does this former British colony drive on the right anyway?)  The airport is golden.  As I watch its workers I try to remember the limerick, "There once was a man from Rangoon."  The Japanese start to get off and have to be told that we aren't yet in Bangkok...

On the turntable: Hayseed Dixie, "Kiss My Grass: A Hillbilly Tribute to Kiss

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