So you finally made it to Southeast Asia! After all you’ve heard, you are there and can see it all for yourself! How exciting! But you are also a crazy bastard and try to come up with something that would be a bit more than that.
Well, what is it gonna be? Riding a motorbike across the countries, as many do here? Nah, you think, can’t be bothered. A bicycle? No, too rough for your lazy butt. Traveling in a tuk-tuk? That’s a bit too far. Hitchhiking? Now, that sounds like an idea stupid enough! And so off you go!
You get up early in the morning, too early for a person on holiday, and head out to buy a helmet, in case some thirteen years old would be willing to give you a ride on their scooter. After you made the decision to hitchhike in Myanmar, you spend three hours walking around the city trying to find proper head protection, as you are suddenly worried about your safety. You are a weird person, indeed.
A helmet, a sign with your destination, your backpack, a $30 ukulele, and yourself are standing by the road, thumb up in the proper manner, waiting. You are minding your business, mostly focusing on the drivers passing, minutes go by and nobody is stopping. You get a bit distracted and look around the street. There is a lady across the road looking at you, so you smile back. You are a polite girl, after all. But now you notice it. Everyone you see is standing still and staring right at you. Some are entertained, confused, others curious. About forty pairs of eyes are examining you, thinking, what on Earth is this bloody white woman up to. Immediately, you feel really uncomfortable and start walking away in a hope they’d lose interest soon.
You drag your sweaty self for a while in the burning heat and stick your thumb up again. After a short while, a car slows down! You feel as happy as ever! An older man pulls over, opens the window, and shouts with the biggest smile: “Taxi! Fifty dollar! Come!” A thick cloud of disappointment runs over your face. “No, thank you.” Why the heck am I even doing this? Here. Of all places! Hitchhiking ain’t really a thing in SEA! Anyway, this was the plan, I am catching a ride today, no matter what! You keep strolling.
You hear a car on your left and turn your head. He is there again! The taxi driver! Driving slowly as you walk, repeating his offer over and over again. You try to speed up, which is of no use when the one chasing you is equipped with a motorized vehicle, so you give up for the time being. You cross the street with your head down and opt for an early lunch.
Two hours later, with enough mental strength to try this again, you are on the road. It doesn’t take fifteen minutes and an expensively looking car makes a stop. The two lovely ladies are urging you in their car. Yes! You are celebrating on the inside, as you drive away with your saviors. Soon enough you learn that you’re the only English speaking person on board, which you don’t really mind. Can’t win it all in one day. You gather that the ladies are probably a mother and a daughter. They keep looking back at you, smiling and giggling. And you are not really sure what’s going on, so you smile back.
The daughter picks up her smartphone and starts face timing with someone of her age. You are caught in the landscape passing by outside of the window until you notice that you are on the phone screen. Your new companion is showing you to a friend. Fine. Just smile and say hello, that will do. A fourth phone call is being made and you are getting ready for yet another starring role. Between the showtimes, they hand you a bottle of ice-cold water and snacks, so you just go with the flow. You feed me, I do whatever you want.
Then, suddenly, the lady driver stops in the middle of nowhere. As far as you can see, there are just crop fields. Not a single house, not another person or a car. This is it. This is how you die. In the middle of bloody nowhere, chopped into pieces by two lovely Burmese ladies, fed to stray dogs. They get you out of the car, stand by your sides, holding your arms firmly. A single crow scream comes out of the fields and a tumbleweed rolls over the dusty road. The women pull out their smartphones and start taking dozens of selfies with you. Alright, no murders are happening today. Once enough selfies are taken, you continue driving. It’s a long way to go yet.
It’s dark now and you are arriving in a town close to your destination. You try to tell your lady friends to drop you off, as they seem to be going deeper and deeper into the city, but they won’t hear anything about it. They just keep driving, talking to you in Burmese, which you’ve mastered during this ride, and know exactly what’s happening. You come to a house, their house, as you understand and a bunch of people pours out of the gate. To take a look at you.
When the family is done touching you for good luck and you have been taken pictures of even with the neighbors and dogs, you’re quite relieved to be pushed back into the car. With some Google translate help, you learn that the ladies will make a detour and drive you all the way to your final destination.
Gotta love Burmese people!