“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Going down the river

Yesterday, on the way back from day trip to one of the little villages on the river delta, we were in a little canoe, traversing the little canal to return to Yangon. It made me reflect on how wonderful it is to travel by boat—it’s relaxing and peaceful, but river travel has all but been phased out in the west these days—boats are built for speed and adrenalin, and rivers are just not as important as they used to be. Granted New Zealand rivers are far too rapid infused to be much good as travel-ways, but elsewhere, the plane, the train, the road have all overtaken the river. It only survives in Asia, really, and on the Nile of course.

Watching the sights slowly pass by, being close to the water, feeling the waves as each ferry passed us by. The journey took an hour from Twante to Yangon, but each and every minute was fantastic—Fiona had a nap, while Leslie and I took pictures of the sights we’d whizzed by too fast in the jeep. All the locals waved to us in pleasure—those people must be very content (if only they didn’t have other poverty issues!). I guess the poverty and slowness is simply a reflection of the necessity for faster forms of transport.

I must say I enjoy living on a river (and a harbor). It’s such a busy place, and yet, still has the feeling of being central, even though it isn’t really. While I don’t take advantage of the river much, it’s still there for when I need its peace and activity!

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