I take thee....

Make it stop. That's all I could think at 6am this morning in my little hotel room in Hsipaw, not far from the border with China.

Firstly, 'Burma Belly' had me curled up in the foetal position wishing for more pleasant times.

Secondly, it became apparent that Chinese weddings in this part of the world start early. Very early. There are lots of excited, happy, loud people who gather around waiting expectantly for the beautiful bride to appear.
All very lovely, had they not been congregated directly outside my groundfloor bedroom window....... for three hours.

I am in Shan state in the north-east of the country. Like many other parts of South-East Asia, Myanmar is experiencing life with the growing global power, influence and investment from China and feeling that some of their identity is slipping away.

Yesterday I enjoyed the opportunity to talk to a local guide as we did a four hour hike through some Shan villages. He gave me a great insight into their traditional way of life as we walked amongst the fields of soy beans, rice, corn, watermelon and cauliflower. I also learned more about 'The Lady' - the revered Aung San Suu Kyi, who still carries the hope of the nation.

Now I sit, sipping rehydration mix, listening to the hum of the generator and counting down the hours until my 15 hour bus ride to Inle Lake begins. Transport tests the hardiest of travellers here but other than a few key flight routes, there is little choice but to take the slow, old, challenging buses or trains.

This is an amazing country, but as an independant traveller, you have to work hard for it. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I am tempting fate and the internet gods by including a blurry wedding party picture with this blog. Unfortunately photos on the website won't be an option for a few weeks.