Relaxing on the beach amidst the locals
Chaungtha Travel Blog› entry 24 of 27 › view all entries
Our day begins at 7.30 and in spite of our â€śnot-so-very-fantasticâ€ť room I havenâ€™t even slept that bad. The blankets were exactly as wide as the bed, and thanks to the blanket from the extra single bed I managed to limit â€śwaking-up-because-my-covers-were-missingâ€ť to a minimum. Breakfast is fantastic today, that is, the noodles we bought during a toilet/coffee stop yesterday for only 200 Kyats a piece, are excellent. All we have to do to exchange the eternal egg-on-toast or strawberry jam-on-toast for a steaming bowl of noodles is ask for some boiled water. The staff even prepair our noodle delight for us!
The bus pulls up to our hotel at nine and in an instant the largest group of beggars weâ€™ve seen in Myanmar so far emerges from thin air.
The ride to Chaungta will take two hours instead of three (as the programme of Koning Aap, our travel agent, stated), this because the bridge over the Ayeyarwaddy river is finished now and vehicles donâ€™t have to take the ferry anymore.
The first part of the trip we drive through a rural area and we, once again, see many people working on the furtile land. The colour green prevails here, which is logical since we are still in the Ayeyarwaddy delta. During the last part the landscape hovers somewhere between hilly and mountainous. The road is narrow with steep stretches and tight bends. During yesterdays ride the bus bounced through a couple of holes in a rather rough fashion, and the result hereof is now noticeable, to say the least.
When we arrive at the Chaungta Oo Beach Hotel a welcoming committee of seven ladies in blue uniforms stands at the ready to meet us. One of them hands out refreshing wet towelets, the other six watch her. Our quarters are chalet-like wooden houses with very basic furnishing. There are two single beds, a little tv and a mini-bar, but thereâ€™s only power after six p.m. The shower has no hot water, but thereâ€™s nothing broken though, the hot water supply-pipe simply hasnâ€™t been installed.
While sitting on our patio with an ocean view, we come to the conclusion that weâ€™d fancy a Coke. Trudy walks off to get some from the hotel bar and a few minutes later she returns with two ladies in blue uniforms in her wake, each of them carrying one bottle of Star Cola. After finishing our refreshment we pay our â€śon-the-other-side-of-the-sandy-bitâ€ť neighbours Anne and Rudolf a visit and we agree to have lunch together in the restaurant of the hotel. Preparation of our meal (crab meat soup and a pancake) takes a very long time, in spite of the fact that there are working seven people in the kitchen at the moment and we are the only guests.
After dinner we wait for about half an hour and then we take a short, but refreshing, dip in the Bay of Bengal. It is low tide at the moment and the beach is littered with tiny balls made of sand, by miniature crabs that ar digging out little holes. Although the water temperature is quite nice, we donâ€™t stay out in the sun for too long, the risk of sunburn is still too great at this time of day (even when using a high factor suntan lotion). When we walk out of the water onto the beach it looks like the sand itself comes alive, crabs almost invisible to the eye when they are not moving, dash off avoiding our feet, that must look monstrous to them.
We sit out the hottest part of the day in our room, puzzling, writing, taking a shower, just being lazy basically...
At 16.00 hours we go out again for a walk on the beach and, without planning it, Anne and Rudolf have taken up the exact same plan on the exact same moment. The four of us walk along for a while, but we have agreed that we can split up at any given moment without anyone getting sour at anyone. Even though we have this agreement we stick together for quite a while and have some coffee on some plastic chairs in the sand on the beach near the dunes. Contrary to the beach of Ngapali the beach of Chaungta is hardly visited by foreign tourists, most visitors are Birmese getting away from the busy cities, and it is a joy watching them play on the beach and swim (almost fully dressed) in the surf.
When the clock is ticking towards the hour of six we start walking towards the hotel, while enjoying a spectacular sunset. We stop for dinner at the Shwe Pyay Aung restaurant where the furniture is plastic, the staff are very friendly, the view at sea is lovely and the food is great (Singapore Chili Crab is a lot of work to eat, but the taste is more than enough of a reward). We have Sweet and Sour Squid with plain rice on the side and we have to pay only 6300 Kyat for the lot. We will be coming back here tomorrow, thatâ€™s for sure.
By the time we walk the last stretch to the hotel it has gone completely dark and in the distance we can here and see fireworks, today is the last day of the Chinese year, thatâ€™s why.
We hit the sack at ten thirty after a nice relaxing day.