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 DAY 24 & 25 - The Final Chapter

Previous Blogs: Day 1 Tokyo | Day 2 Tokyo | Day 3 & 4 Singapore | Day 5 Singapore | Day 6 Ho Chi Minh City | Day 7 Ho Chi Minh City & Tunnels

Day 8 Can Tho | Day 9 Floating Market | Day 10 Flower Market | Day 11 Hoi An | Day 12 My Son Temple | Day 13 Hanoi | Day 14-16 Halong Bay

Day 17 Luang Prabang | Day 18 Temples-Waterfalls | Day 19 Mekong River | Day 20-21 Bagan | Day 22 Bagan | Day 23 Inle | Day24-25 Inle

Day 26-27 Finale

Click photos for a larger image...

Not sure actually which day this is because we crossed the international date line in the wrong direction so we went back a day. Really weird to take off from Singapore at 9am and arrive in LAX 3 hours later on the same day after a 18 hour flight. Just doesn't feel right!



It is amazing to me that these two countries, so close to the rest of Asia, are so vastly different to the rest of Asia. Coming back to Singapore just reminded me - you can drink the tap water, no horns honking on the street, shopping malls everywhere, no donkey carts or cows roaming the main road - very civilized and Western compared to Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.

I surmise that it is perhaps because most countries in Asia (except China) were at some stage occupied by either the Dutch, French, English or in Japan's case the Americans.

Those that chose independence after these occupations with a democratic government and co-operation with the West seemed to flourish such as Japan and Singapore. Those that chose socialism or communism, or had no choice and suffered from military coupes like Myanmar, did not have the same economic fate.  Only once they shook off these non-working philosophies did they start to prosper with many years of stagnation behind them.

So it says a lot for the democratic system, it actually DOES work, so for those people longing after socialism, such as Bernie Sanders - go suck it, it doesn't work anywhere else and it won't work in America.

These emerging countries, just like China, still have a way to go because they might have embraced a market based economy, but until they truly fix their governments, they will still be a step away from true freedom. For example Vietnam and Laos our guides openly demonstrated their hatred for their one party governments, so until they become a democracy and get the people behind them they will still be on the losing side.

Our guide in Myanmar, which now has it's very first democracy said to us that the people are so happy to see whitefaces and blond hair visiting them for the first time. They had tourists before, but only from China and local Asian countries. in 2013 they had 1 million tourists, that double in 2014 and tripled in 2015.  This country has been "free" for a little less than 4 years and the people are ecstatic!  Whereas the previous government suppressed their people, the new government's goal is better education and more collaborative with the world. 

We loved Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos and only hope they don't go the same way as Vietnam - which has really become a tourist production line and lost a lot of it's own culture and identity by becoming very Westernized.  That being said about Myanmar's new government, it is highly suggested you visit before the McDonald's and Starbuck's of the world ruin it forever.

So enough philosophizing, we are now at our favorite Jet Lag therapy hotel just outside LAX airport watching movies and drinking beer to get over the 12 hour time difference before going home on Thursday. See you then!


And finally, I will leave you with some pictures I call: "How to load a scooter and get away with it"

"This side up" arrows don't matter when it's loaded on a scooter!

Note the plastic chair so you have somewhere to sit when you stop for a rest!

A scooter is for families, no matter how many in your family, you can get them all on. Count the legs in the second picture - that's 4 people on board including baby!

Load 'em high...

Pack 'em right and there's still space for the missus.

There is no end to the type of stuff you can carry on a scooter - even your wardrobe

And if it rains, just take out the umbrella.


Got a LOT of stuff, then use a scooter pickup truck!

...or, add a trailer - cars can do it, why not scooters?

Can't afford a trailer? Then just strap some wheels to the planks you need to move.

Even concrete mixers fit behind scooters.


That's all, folks. See you next trip!!