We return to Mandalay and take our last flight on Bagan Air to Yangon . Once again we are met by Paris at the airport. This time he is wearing a PINK Longyi. This is quite shocking, as Burmese men only wear dark coloured longyi. He has paired it with a crisp white shirt, and a necklace worn outside the shirt. As we enter the arrivals lounge he is standing there with both arms outstretched, like a diva acknowledging applause. He takes our hands in his and walks us out of the airport. We feel like the Supremes flanking Diana Ross. People stop and gawp. Paris revels in it.
We are just there for the night and we tell Paris that we have heard of a restaurant called Le Planteur, which has been voted best restaurant in Myanmar for the last three years. We ask if he would take us to see it so that we can decide if we want to eat there. Paris is beside himself with excitement as he has never been there. When we arrive at the restaurant, we are ushered out of the car by two doormen and escorted to the desk where we pause to ask the Maitre’D if we can see the menu. Paris sweeps by us, chin held high, self esteem held even higher, longyi flowing behind him, and walks into the middle of the restaurant to survey the scene. Looking at his poise and his pose, no one would ever guess that he didn’t belong here. Paris lets us know that this is an entirely appropriate place for us, and for him.
We return later that evening, sadly without Paris, to have dinner. It is the most fabulous place. The building is a beautiful old home with a huge manicured lawn full of very old trees and a large assortment of fowl. There are geese, ducks, turkeys, guinea fowl and other birds that we do not recognize wandering the grounds. There are immense fabric lanterns on the lawn lighting the way, and tiny twinkling lights hanging from the trees. The tables are all set out on the lawn. It is a magical setting. We find ourselves dining next to Lord and Lady Laxby, at least that is how they are referred to by the staff. Paris would be in heaven.
Their credentials as eccentric English aristocracy are proved when they continue to feed the birds throughout their dinner, causing the assortment of fowl to gather round their table like begging dogs. They even manage to coax a turkey to jump up onto their table. We find it most disturbing, but they are enjoying it. We wonder what Paris would make of it.
In an extraordinary show of what money can do, even in a country like Burma, the chef produces a seven course tasting menu that includes foie gras, scallops lobster and lamb chops, and we wash it down with French champagne. There is even a Burmese Brie, which is delicious. The cost of all of this is many times the cost of any other meal we have had in Myanmar , but would be considered inexpensive anywhere else in the world.