People have asked me a lot about what it was like to travel alone in Myanmar. I have some things to say about traveling alone, but most of the time I wasn’t alone.
I had Frida.
I posted a few months ago about Frida’s trip to Uganda.
She’d proven herself a congenial traveling companion, so I brought her with me. En route, we shared a Singapore Sling, the signature drink of Singapore Airlines.
She rode on the shoulder of my moto taxi driver in Mandalay, practicing her fractured, angry Myanmar as she shouted directions at him.
She came with me to the monastery where I met Nyanyathiri, and did her best to fit into the stark, reflective surroundings.
When I introduced her to Nyanyathiri, he literally jumped back and said “I am afraid of her!” But I showed him how to fit her on his finger, and in a moment, he was waggling her around and giggling.
She listened hard to what Nyanyathiri said about meditation, and left Mandalay a slightly more grounded individual. Her sneer disappeared, and her perpetual sexy, angry look sort of smoothed out. She loved the fields of temples in Bagan, and started to get up before sunrise.
On the morning that I went to pyuat thut gui with Solewinn, , I tucked her into the outside pocket of my little bag as I bumped off on my bicycle before dawn. I had this idea that she wanted to see where we were.
When we arrived at the temple, half riding, half dragging our bikes, I looked down.
She was gone.
Somewhere en route, she’d quietly hopped off and found herself a new trail.
I tried to explain to Solewinn what I’d lost. “Like a small doll,” I said. “She traveled with me.”
He was so wise. “She knew all your secrets.”
We looked for her on the way home, but day had broken, and there were now people shouting to each other on bicycles, a few horsecarts, a bus or two, packs of feral dogs. She was gone. A lesson in non-attachment given to me by the weathered temples of Bagan.