I felt guilty about having made the poor trishaw riders pedal so far and in the rain too, so when they asked for three thousand for the pair of them, I gave them six. This horrified the guesthouse staff who had come out to welcome me. They protested at such profligate behaviour, but I said, ‘No. It was a long way. And in the rain.’ (And three thousand is two dollars fifty!)
I was shown into a room that looked like paradise. It was dry! A smiling woman brought me a bottle of water and two plates of fruit and I set about drying out. My room was one of two upstairs in a pavilion made entirely of wood. It was big with many windows and a multitude of lights and electric plugs, not all of which worked of course and not until after six in the evening.
The lights were a real thrill but the wide balcony was the best feature of this accommodation. It encompassed a wonderful, all-green outlook large expanses of rice fields that stretched to a dense line of dark-green trees. A village hid in there behind those trees from which, across the rice fields in the early morning and late evening, came the chant of the monks in its monastery.
Burma Map Geographical Photo Gallery
What a blissful place to spend a few days.
My room, although exceedingly comfortable, looked like the house that Jack built. A bit Bush Carpenter constructed, it was made entirely of wood floors, walls and furniture. The floor was a beautiful parquet of several woods. The walls were polished mahogany, gleaming and shining; even the ceiling was wood. And the furniture! A whole antique shop crammed in, jostling each other for space massive, heavily carved and oppressively overbearing stuff that weighed a ton. There was a glass-topped coffee table as big as a bed and a wardrobe with an aged and foxed-mirrored door with a magnificent glass handle that unfortunately didn’t serve its purpose because the door didn’t open. Neither did the drawers of the elaborate dressing table as half of it was jammed behind the bed. Lumped wherever possible onto any flat surface were clunky carved wooden ornaments, and on the floor, standing sentry duty beside the bathroom door, was a huge wooden rhinoceros. A rhinoceros?
The rear window was behind the wardrobe. I had to squeeze in to open the curtains. There were more windows around the room and the wide front one had a wonderful outlook over the balcony to the rice paddies.