Mandalay.... Burma... / by Mark Boyd

A great weekend in London ensued ahead of my big travels departure.

So much so that sleep on Saturday and Sunday was all but totally neglected.

Poor preparation I'd say.

I set off from my little London Heathrow hotel at 5.15am on Monday morning, bounding with joy and happiness with what I was about to embark upon.

My flight with Oman Air to Bangkok via Muscat was on time, which was a great relief, as the Bangkok to Myanmar (Burma) connection could easily become rather tight. Nothing an hour of delays couldn't cushion, so there was no real stress. I'd been kind to myself with my connection times for once. I was set to land at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi at 6.45am on Tuesday morning, which gave me plenty of time to reach Bangkok's Don Muang airport for my Burma flight at 11.10am. The connection time between the airports can vary between 1 and 2 hours depending on traffic, so even at the worst I still had plenty of time.

We landed in Muscat. I headed to the departures board to check that the Oman Air flight was still heading off at 10pm.  Oman Air flight 817 to Bangkok 22:00 - DELAYED - Expected Departure 00:40

BALLS!

We were provided with food vouchers to tide us over in Muscat airport.  By my calculations, with time differences this 2.5 hour delay meant we would be landing somewhere around 9am Thai time... Then with taxi-ing, immigration and baggage collection it would be 10am by the time I would be out of the airport. Hmmmmmm. Not good.

My estimations were almost perfect.

As I headed out of departures at 9.55am I bit the bullet, hoping to be able to claim some money back from Oman Air (now known as 'Oh man! Air) and booked another flight to Burma for the princely sum of £178.00!!! They'd better pay out!

An incredible coincidence occurred around this missed flight, and my newly booked flight. A young Israeli lady, Yael Krimsky, with whom I travelled through Colombia with for around 10 days last December, was on the very same flight! She had now been travelling for almost one year, and this was her final destination before heading back to Israel. What were the chances!?

I finally touched down in Burma on Tuesday afternoon at 1pm, Burmese time, which equates to 5.30am UK time. I didn't sleep Sunday night so I'd pretty much been awake for almost 48 hours, apart from unconsciousness almost taking over leaving my heading wobbling and nodding from time to time on the final leg of the journey.

So here I am sat on the bed of my little room in the ET Hotel in Mandalay... Is this a sign to 'Go Home?' So early on? I hope not!

I'm going out to grab some street food.

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Then I'm going to sleep forever..... until tomorrow morning at least, where I'll head out and take a peak at the city of Mandalay.