I was already awake when our alarm went at 5.45am to get ready for our early breakfast at 6.30am. I had checked my email and no reply from Win….disappointing. At breakfast there were no tour staff and Vince spotted Win at a far away table in the corner. Once breakfast was over, Nyi came to give us details about the day…when he finished I thanked him but informed him we would not be coming….he looked shocked….I explained that I had emailed Win and was awaiting a response. He went and got Win who reluctantly came over and said he had not received anything……Vince went and got our IPad and I gave him time to read the email. He said he would contact his manager by phone. I spoke with “Min Min” and explained my concerns in a very business like way and he promised this would be addressed and we would not have to ride at night again. I have insisted they revise the schedule to ensure that the mileage and activities are achievable in the designated time frame and made it clear I will not pay another cent until I have evidence that this is in place.
A group meeting was organised and the initial plan was just to change one day in the middle…that they admitted they knew would mean riding at night! I again reiterated that this did not address today’s plan which also was unachievable….we were not going anywhere……this included Aad (Art) and Mike! Whilst this made things difficult in that the 4×4’s were being held up due to our refusal to go….l was unwilling to put our lives at risk again and when one of the German tourists tried to force a “democratic vote” I immediately retaliated with the fact that as palatable as this might sound…..our lives were not up for anyone else’s vote, we were not moving, and they could proceed without us….we would organise an exit strategy from the tour and make our own way. Nyi tried to explain that due to elections we had a special permit and needed to go together…..but the riders refused to budge….unless a doable alternative for today was on offer we were staying put and that was the tour company’s problem! It wasn’t pleasant but unfortunately it was necessary. In the end we negotiated a shorter stop in Kalaw, rather than Inle Lake ( a further 2 hours at least onwards)…..so we all left around 8.30am and took the major highway….we stopped briefly to photograph the famous Jade Pagoda from the roadside. We came up through the mountains and the scenery was beautiful…it rained and we did get wet, but not soaked. We arrived at the hotel, Eastern Paradise, around 3.30pm ….much better! Win came and spoke with me directly and explained a new schedule was being put together and would be presented to the group at dinner at 7.00pm……..so things were looking to be much better so far….fingers crossed! The meeting was a little tense with everyone anxious to see what would happen….to be honest I was not really that hopefully as my confidence in Win was low given the way he had tried to avoid things…..but I was very pleasantly surprised. He had come up with what appears to be a workable solution and although it meant we missed out on some things, the majority of the tour could remain intact, just more direct routes (rather than zig zagging) and the assurance we will not travel at night…..all good….all stations go!