Scenic bus trip from Yangon to Pyay. Stop in Htaukkyant to visit the Allied War Cemetery. In Pyay, board the Scenic Aura and raise a toast to the journey ahead. The cruise begins!
17.01.2017 - 17.01.2017 32 °C
Scenic Aura Cabin 302
Today we left Yangon on a Scenic bus bound for Pyay, where we boarded the Scenic Aura at about 4.30 pm. We left Yangon at 8.45 am on the most lavish bus I have ever been in. Frilly curtains, seat covers with frills on them and plush reclining seats bigger than the airline seats in Business Class. It was total luxury. However, I must add a story here about buses.
Last night at Happy Hour we were talking with Ann and Dieter from Bonn, who are joining another river cruise on Wednesday. They have done this cruise before, but not with Scenic, and warned us about the bus trip to Pyay, saying that when she went she wore white trousers and the seats in the bus were filthy and by the time they got to Pyay, her pants were black. Well, if only she could have seen the luxury and cleanliness of our bus! She would have been speechless.
Our first stop a couple of hours out of Yangon was at the Allied War Cemetery at Htaukkyant. It is looked after by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and there are 21 Australian soldiers buried there, along with British, Burmese and Indian soldiers. We found a couple of the Australian graves but they were very hard to find, as all the nationalities were mixed in together. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission do a marvellous job all over the world, maintaining all the Commonwealth Graves and they are to be commended for the job they do.
The hotel provided us all with boxed lunches and after another hour or so, we stopped to eat our lunch and visit the "Happy Place" (toilet). We went into a restaurant to eat our boxed lunches and ordered drinks and visited the Happy Place. Of course, the queue for the women's toilet was long and going nowhere, so I jumped into a squat toilet. I find it rather difficult these days to stand from the squat position without pulling myself up on something but the walls and floor were so grotty that I wasn't touching anything. It is amazing what one can do when one has to. I managed to stand upright without touching anything and when I left the cubicle, the queue for the western toilet was still as long.
Back on the bus for the two hour drive to the next Happy Place stop, so Phil started playing sixties music on his phone and we in the front of bus sang along. It made the trip go faster. It was only 268 kilometers but it took us seven hours, with three stops included. The road was surprisingly good. It was bitumen with no lines down the middle and passing trucks and cars was hair raising. Best not to look, I thought! But it was slow going, bumping along but singing songs from the sixties made it fun.
We stopped for Happy Place and coffee at Cocoaman and first this lady brought her baby up close to look at Phil, then I took her photo and then back she came with her sister and her mother. Also, the waiters were just young boys and were giggling and laughing at Phil when he was whistling.
Back on the bus for the one hour drive to Pyay where we boarded the beautiful Scenic Aura. The steps down the river bank were a bit tricky because it was basically just a sandy river bank with steps cut into it and when we reached the gang plank, only one person was allowed across at a time. Just as well there were only 40 of us or else it would have taken all night.
We were given welcome champagne and escorted to our cabin which is on the top deck at the front of the ship - Cabin 302. It is very spacious and lovely. We have plenty of room and a huge deck out the front with a swinging hanging chair, a table and chairs and a jacuzi! This is going to be fun.
Our butler bought us a cafe latte and a gin and tonic and then we proceeded to the pool area to meet the staff and have a security briefing. Then into dinner. Prior to dinner, I visited Ingrid and Elfi's cabin - Room 101. It is a standard cabin on the Scenic Aura but is roomy and spacious and they have plenty of room. They also have a balcony area that can be closed off by a sliding glass door. It is really very nice.
Dinner was just a buffet but was nice.