Travel often becomes the source of many firsts. New experiences, though incomparable to being sandwiched between Michelle Rodriguez and Arci Munoz, it still resonates in your head long after the moment it happened. Just like that border crossing which my brother and myself did coming from Vietnam to Cambodia in 2011. Those sort of things becomes memorable as you continue exploring the world. Our trip to Myanmar afforded me the opportunity to fly to a city (Kuala Lumpur) and then connect to another flight to Yangon, Myanmar (killing a few hours in between). Nothing milestone-ny in that undertaking, but I remember during the few times I get to travel outside of the Philippines, It always fascinates me everytime I would see that "Connecting Flights" signs at the airport.
|Luna watching cartoons mid-flight to KL|
I get curious as to where the other passengers heading that way will continue their journey. While I've already reached my destination, they are still in middle ground territory. One major addicting thing about travel for me, is the journey itself. The route between point A to B and C are what comprises a large part of traveling. I love being at airports, even as deplorable as our old domestic terminal, because that means I'm actually within reach of going to another place.
|@Naia Terminal 3|
The day of our departure from Manila I spent the whole afternoon rushing back to Glorietta to replace my $100 bill I bought from Czarina the previous day, into a fine, crisp, unfolded and unmarked ones. I missed that memo about Myanmar only exchanging spotless dollar bills. I then met up Monette, one half of the hilarious non-romantic couple of Fliptravels near her work so we could split cab fare going to the airport. Before heading to the airport, Monette still managed to get a couple of beers for the road.
|Killing time at Taste of Asia in KL LCCT|
When we arrived at the airport Gay, Dong, Jerome, Melo were already there waiting for us. Baby Luna was running wildly in pre-Marky Monster terrorized mood. As far as three weeks prior, some of them have been posting countdowns for this particular trip on Facebook. I wasn't feeling much excitement that time yet, but by being at the airport I remember having an unusual vibe. A positive one. All thoughts of a long trip to KL (4 hours) the waiting in between and another 3 hours to Yangon are replaced with anticipation rather than dread.
|Onboard AirAsia's KL-Yangon flight, me stalking Luna's pancake meal|
The Cebu Pacific flight to KL went smoothly, I sat on the aisle while Gay was seated beside me and Luna occupied the window seat. As the most well-traveled tot outside of the Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie kids, Luna behaved well watching cartoons until she dozed off and ended up occupying hers and half of her hippie mum's seat.
|NAIA Terminal 3|
I went in and out of consciousness during the flight, though I remember hearing the pilot giving out their trademark speeches filled with UHM. "ladies and gentlemen this is your captain speaking UHM we like to welcome you onboard this UHM Cebu Pacific flight to Kuala Lumpur. Flight duration is around UHM and we are expecting a fairly smooth flight today. Once again we thank you UHM for choosing to fly with us today and we hope you UHM enjoy your flight". We reached Kuala Lumpur at around midnight and half-asleep we met up with Ron and Reuben at KL LCCT's Starbucks.
|Arrival at Yangon's new airport|
The Myanmar gang is then complete finally. But we all still have at least five hours to burn before our connecting flight to Yangon. We all hanged out at the nearby restaurant at KL LCCT, called A Taste of Asia which doubles as a free hostel where customers can order a plate of Nasi Goreng and then pull chairs and sleep after. Fast forward a few naps after, we finally boarded the AirAsia flight headed to Yangon. I wanted to order an inflight meal but I forgot to exchange for a few Ringgits at KL LCCT, so I just stalked Luna's pancake meal. I fell asleep though before she could leave some for me. I guess, hippie mum Gay ate her leftover.
|Honestly, I was expecting a rustic and more rundown airport|
I was expecting a rundown - old - worst than our very own Manila International Airport when we landed at Yangon, but what greeted us was a post-modern, spacious and well designed new airport. It is the first of many preconceived notion I had of the country that I've proven to be entirely the opposite during our trip. As I handed the passport to the immigration officer, I was half expecting to be dragged away by airport police but a few seconds I heard the sound of the stamp pad dropping on my passport's page. I heaved a collective sigh of disbelief. I am finally here in Myanmar. A country I used to think as a place where everyone is put to jail and with underweight military officers throwing away the keys for good.
*Photos 1,2,3 are grabbed without monetary consideration, but with a promise of 5 karaoke tokens, from Gay-Mitra Emami of Pinay Travel Junkie.