Thursday, 6 March 2008

Day 288 - Bago (End in sight, hopefully)

Phew, it's hot here. Like a true Brit I am never happy. I have air-con in the room, but what use is that if there is no electricity? Also the key bit you put in the slot of the hotel room has broken and I have to shove a tube of toothpast into the slot to get anything to work. People walk around with umbrellas to shelter from the sun, I just sweat it out.

Having given up hope of seeing any funds being returned, it has become time to get some money sent to the embassy in Yangon. To that end I called on my great friend Caroline, who as always carries out tasks, efficiently, effectively and without the slightest fuss, that's why I called on her, bless her and thank you very much Caroline.

I rang the embassy this morning but no sign of the money, but having read my emails later I read that it wont be transfered until Thursday morning, so probably wont even be there by the time the embassy closes this afternoon. I think I will take the chance and travel to Yangon tomorrow, afterall it is not as if I have a lot else to do now. I spoke to Myakto again last night and he had already told me that he goes to Yangon on a Friday, so I will join him on the 7:15 bus. I really like Myakto and I told him last night that he is the only person through all of this that I can really trust, there are good people in this world, even if sometimes it is difficult to tell who they are.

I have made up my mind what probably happened when I was robbed. As I took out my passport from my bag as I checked in I suspect Usob, the motorcycle driver, saw that the holder was somewhat fat and guessed what was lurking in there. He showed me to the room, waited for me to leave, then went into the room with a key. When he showed me the room he helped himself to a handful of keys, so was obviously a common thing for him to do. Knowing where to look he didn't need to disturb anything else, then I suspect he threw the money down to an occomplice from either the balcony or more like the bathroom window, which was opened wider when I checked it, meaning he wouldn't be caught with the cash and wouldn't have to even leave the building. I would guess his accomplice on the ground was the Tall Man who, inccidentally, was the man Usob called to translate for me. The Tall Man didn't want to listen to what I had to say but tried to convince me that somebody had climbed in through the window, deflecting attention from somebody entering through the door. The Tall Man was later arrested, apparently for handling stolen cash in another crime, but I have seen him back on the streets. So my intention now is to do nothing and let the judicial system here take it's course and not interfere with it, afterall the police suspect the same person as me and probably have far more information than I am ever likely to get out of anybody, but I have asked the embassy to speak to them and give me the latest update. I feel sorry for Sawtun as I would guess that he is innocent in all this but was arrested as he had overall responsibility of the hotel at the time. The only real defence I can think of for Usob is that it would have been an incredibly stupid thing to do given that he would the main suspect. I still can't believe the bit about the 2 men in room 309. I also realise that I may be completely wrong in all of the above, but given the lack of information I am given and that all I am told is that 'nobody would ever have done such a thing', I have to base the decision of my actions on what I can only guess happened.

So I am trying to get life back to normal. I spent yesterday afternoon doing a bit of sight seeing. I try to do a bit late each afternoon as the people on the ticket offices have gone home and I can get in for free. The foreigners ticket for all the sights is $10 and I can ill afford it at the moment. As you leave the airport in Yangon you pass a sign that says 'Welcome to Myanmar, the Golden land', and as I visit the sights I can see what they mean. Even as I cycled along every few kilometres I passed golden pagodas, but here in Bago they are BIG golden pagodas, nice peaceful places to spend a little time and reflect on life.

I have stopped going to the Police Stations. I am hardly welcomed there and as Sawtun and Usob speak little English there is not much to say. That also means I have stopped taking them food as if I keep taking them food them somebody will have to start giving me food!

The nights are hot and long. I keep the air-con on to try and stay cool, but the then power goes off and I wake up soaked in sweat. I never know if its the power off or the trip has gone so I have to get up and move the toothpaste to find out. If its the power I have a choice of sweating away under a sheet or throwing it off and getting eaten by mosquitos, most nights its a mixture.

So tomorrow I head for Yangon and all being well I will be away from here heading for Mandalay on Saturday morning. If the money does not arrive the earliest I can be away will be Tuesday, how I hope that is not the case.


S said...

Best of luck. Hope you manage to get some money sorted soon and can move on and put this behind you. Then you can be on the road to Mandalay - hmm, sounds like a good title for a song!!

Tony said...

VERY relieved you are progressing towards "normal"! Congrats on doing so, another big achievement. I'm just catching up with your adventures and they sound very very demanding.

The Sloths said...

Oh John, we really feel for you, what a bloody awful mess!!!! But you sound as though you've dealt with it the right way and are keeping your head together. Wish we could do more to be some kind of support. Anyway we're thinking about you. We are sat here in Shiraz also carrying great wads of cash in several currencies and we completely know how easy it is to become complacent and trusting of you say the majority of people are good. Take Care and try and enjoy the rest of Burma.....
Gayle and John