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Burma – Part 3 . . .

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2016 at 5:00 am

The last city in Myanmar ( metric for Burma, or is Burma metric for Myanmar ) we visited is called Heho.  Heho is home to Inle Lake.  We flew from Bagan to Heho.

Flying in Burma is safe, but there is a substantial language gap.  If you can’t speak/read/understand Burmese, there can be issues.  That is why our guides always help with check-in, etc.  However for security reasons, non-passengers cannot accompany you to the gate and assure you get on the correct flight.  Thankfully, they have a system for that – STICKERS.

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At check-in, each passenger gets a color coded sticker with the logo of the airline.

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When you arrive in the waiting area, there really aren’t gates, the first thing you do is find a local person with the same sticker as you.  Then when that local person who can understand/speak/comprehend Burmese gets on the plane, you follow them.

After following the correct sticker and arriving in Heho,  we went for a hike through the forest ( metric for jungle ).

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We saw some cool trees.

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At the end of the hike was an elephant park.

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Where we got to feed the elephants.

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And although we didn’t get to give a monkey a shower, we did give an elephant a bath.

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The following day we toured Inle Lake in canoes with car engines.

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Inle Lake is home to over 70,000 people whose lives depend on this body of water.  Fishing is just one of the many ways the local people make their way.

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There are markets.

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And textile factories.

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And cigar shops.

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Their entire lives can be spent on the water.

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Although our balloon trip over Bagan was cancelled, we did get another opportunity.

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To make things even more interesting, the pilots practice a water landing.

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And landing on land is pretty fun as well.

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The last bit of our Myanmar trip was taking the little Stockdales for a cooking class.

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Without a doubt, our trip to Myanmar was one of our favorites since coming to Asia over six years ago.

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Oh yeah . . .

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2016 at 3:21 am

Happy birthday to the crazy little Stockdale.

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Happy birthday to Mrs. Stockdale.

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Happy birthday to the furry little Stockdale.

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Happy birthday to the middle little Stockdale.

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And, look at all the new tote bags!

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Burma – Part II . . .

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2016 at 4:35 am

The next destination for the Stockdales in Burma ( metric for Myanmar ) was Bagan.

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If you were going to spend one single day in Asia over the course of your entire life, Bagan would be toward the top of the list of destinations you would consider.  In an area of about 20 square miles ( metric for 34-ish square kilometers ) there are over 2,200 temples.  No matter which direction you look ( except if you were on the edges and you looked away or closed your eyes ) all you see for miles and miles ( metric for kilometers and kilometers ) are temples.

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The Stockdales were very lucky on this trip ( Mrs. Stockdale didn’t get bit by another rabid puppy of death and a month after our visit they stopped letting people climb on top of the temples. )

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In Bagan, we had a guide.  She told us her name countless times, but none of us could remember it.  So, we just called her Betty.  Betty was a wealth of knowledge and Mrs. Stockdale thoroughly enjoyed the countless hours spent with Betty.

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We saw many temples.

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Inside each of these temples were many Buddha.  In Islam, you can’t draw Muhammad.  In Buddhism, you cover every square inch ( metric for two centimeters ) with his image.

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Mrs. Stockdale especially enjoyed Betty explaining every single Buddha and why he is sitting, standing, laying, or his hands are this way or that.

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I unfortunately missed some of Betty’s most captivating and interesting discussions because I was inconveniently ( metric for conveniently ) taking pictures or just wandering about trying to avoid the captivating and interesting discussions about when and why each of these Buddha were this way or that way.

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On our second day in Bagan, the Stockdale awoke before dawn to go hot air ballooning.

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When you go hot air ballooning, you get a free hat.

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The best part of hot air ballooning is that when they send up the test balloon

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and determine that it’s too windy, you get to keep the hat!  The free hat is even better than a tote-bag because it’s a constant reminder for the little Stockdales that they were supposed to go up in a hot air balloon, but their hopes and dreams were thoroughly crushed by the weather and some misguided idea that things are supposed to be safe.

After returning to the hotel for breakfast, we proceeded to see more temples, more Buddha, we watched some monks eat

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and then we had a picnic.

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Keep a close eye out for Part 3 when we give a monkey a shower.

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Merry Happy New Christmas Birthday . . .

In Uncategorized on April 19, 2016 at 9:21 am

Part 1

A few months ago, in order to celebrate Chinese New Year ( Christmas, New Year’s, 4th of July, Halloween, Arbor Day, Columbus Day, and Administrative Assistant’s Day all wrapped into one ginormous ball of fun ) the Stockdales went to Myanmar ( metric for Burma ).

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Some of you will remember Burma ( metric for Myanmar ) as a former and until recently current military dictatorship that had suffered decades of civil disturbances that occasionally bordered on being referred to as civil wars.

Back in the late 1990’s, Myanmar ( metric for Burma ) was one of those place you didn’t go.  Kind of like North Korea, Cuba, Iran, or Decatur.  As this started to change, in 2005 the military rulers moved the capital from Yangon ( metric for Rangoon ) to Naypyidaw.  Imagine if Washington D.C. relocated to North Dakota — just because, yeah it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Everything in Myanmar (metric for Burma ) has two or three names.  One for when the British were in charge, one for after the British left, and one just to confuse everyone.

Today, Burma ( metric for Myanmar ) is hopefully on it’s way democracy and prosperity.  Of all the random destinations for Mrs. Stockdale’s work, this is arguably her favorite and the one with the most potential.

For the first afternoon of the trip, the Stockdales toured downtown Rangoon (metric for Yangon ) via foot and visited various important buildings.

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For some reason, Mrs. Stockdale liked the name of this bank and insisted that a photo be taken.  I’m pretty sure this is the bank where squirrels deposit their nuts for the winter.

In addition to randomly moving the capital, Burma (metric for Myanmar) also has a unique method of driving.  Belonging to the British until 1948, the cars had the steering wheel on the right ( wrong ) side and cars drove down the left ( wrong ) side of the road.  ( Just remember that whether you are on the American system or the wrong system, the driver is closest to the center of the road and passengers exit at the curb.  This is how the wrong system works in places like Singapore and London.  )  However, in Burma, one night in 1970, the leader of the country ( General Ne Win ) decided all the cars should drive on the other side of the road.  So, from then on, all the cars drove down the right ( right ) side of the road with the steering wheel on the right ( wrong ) side.  You would have thought that over time, the right ( wrong ) sided steering cars would have been replaced.  However, that would be wrong.  They continued to import mostly right ( wrong ) driving cars and drive them on the right ( right ) side of the road.   The super-duper extra added bonus of driving with the steering wheel on the right ( wrong ) side of the car while driving in the right ( right ) lane is that when you get off the public buses or the passenger side of the car, you exit into traffic.  Good thinking General Ne Win!

The Stockdale’s second day in Burma began with a tour of a local market.  The market sold fruits

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and vegetables

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and fresh chicken

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and seafood

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and not fresh chicken.

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After completing the tour of the market, the Stockdales were on our way to the Shwedagon Pagoda.  This is the most sacred Buddhist temple in Burma ( metric for Myanmar ) so we wore our fancy clothes ( covered our knees and shoulders )

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and gave the monk children some food so that we would have a prosperous and healthy visit.  ( As a serious side note, the food was awesome in Burma.  It was also yummy in Myanmar. )

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Before entering the Shwedagon it is important that you do not bring certain personal possessions into/onto/above this holy site.

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While Mrs. Stockdale did get me a full military spec Predator drone for Christmas, I thankfully left it in the hotel safe with the passports.

The Shwedagon is huge and gold and you’re there for about two hours looking at all the statues and Buddha’s and people praying and socializing.

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In the event you can’t see one of the many Buddha’s in the many temples, it’s OK because they have them on CCTV.

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On the way out of the Shwedagon, I saw this sign.  Usually, I have some clever/dumb/tacky/extraordinarily hilarious way of describing what I see in these countries, or I can just make a joke about tote bags, however this one truly has me stumped.  Needles and snakes are good, but needles and electricity and broken spaceships are bad???

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So ends Part 1 of the Stockdales in Burma ( metric for Myanmar ).

 

 

 

Ugh . . .

In Uncategorized on March 9, 2016 at 12:46 am

Go to some random event at the little Stockdale’s school, come home with

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Yep.

Green . . .

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2016 at 3:28 am

What do you get if you and your Mrs. Stockdale run a race on the Singapore ‘Green Corridor’?

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The ‘Green Corridor’ is a former railroad line that was converted to a running/biking trail years and years ago.

The best part of ‘being the first to race along Singapore’s most unique course’ is that a week after the race, the ‘Green Corridor’ is being closed so they use the path for a pipeline.

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Singapore loves polar bears, and pipelines, and tote bags.

Happy Christmas . . .

In Uncategorized on February 25, 2016 at 3:32 am

Spent the holidays with Mrs. Stockdale’s family.  Always better to let someone else host, cook, and clean, etc.

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The little Stockdales had a great gift for the grandparents.

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I’m sure these have become regular parts of their wardrobe and haven’t been thrown away.

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I unfortunately missed out on quite possibly the best White Elephant gift ever.

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Instead I got an awesome compact disc that I ‘forgot’ to take home.  I’m guessing I’ll get it again next year.

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The crazy little Stockdale did get the safest ( metric for funnest ) present of the year.  Unfortunately the safety wimps at the airlines won’t let her bring it back to Singapore. Next year the little Stockdales will be receiving Jarts and a Bag-of-Glass.

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Christmas dinner was odd because a group of strangers was invited.

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However, they quickly left after seeing Mrs. Stockdale’s mother’s favorite Christmas decoration.  It’s eyes follow you around the room and it kills on the eve of the full moon.

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After the holiday, we returned to Lake Lotsastockdale and received a welcome surprise.

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All in all, another good holiday for the Stockdales.

Important milestones . . .

In Uncategorized on February 21, 2016 at 8:23 am

I became a year older.

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And the big little Stockdale became a teenager.

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And the middle little Stockdale won a fruit basket.

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And we got some more totebags.

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The global warming created by all the candles was more than compensated by for by the expansion of the totebag collection.

Expansion . . .

In Uncategorized on February 21, 2016 at 8:14 am

The furry little Stockdale has been busy taking up more space in the house.

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So, far she’s only destroyed two grill covers and Mrs. Stockdale’s favorite pair of shorts.

 

 

 

 

Introducing . . .

In Uncategorized on August 27, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Against the better judgement, wishes, and wisdom of Mrs. Stockdale, please welcome the furry little Stockdale.

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