THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 2006. MANDALAY, MYANMAR. I've arrived in Mandalay. Contrary to what Las Vegas would have you believe, there is no "Mandalay Bay". It's extremely hot and dusty here. Mandalay is situated on a flat plain with Mandalay Hill overlooking the city and the Ayeyarwady River flowing on the west side. I plan to spend a few days exploring the sights and then catch a boat down the Ayeyarwady River to the city of a thousand temples, Bagan.
Travelling in Myanmar has been a breeze, particularly if you're flying. Most people speak more than a little English. In general, I think the people of Myanmar have a better command of English than the Thais.
The Myanmar Government blocks (effectively censoring) a lot of Internet sites (as do other governments), including free email services like Gmail and Hotmail. However, most services have several web addresses including use of a secure server (i.e., http:// versus https://). Simply by adding the "s" (for "secure server") to the "http" extension enables you to access Gmail, for example. Technology is always faster than ability of governments (and laws) to keep up.