From makeshift weights to moments of losing hope - Danny Fenster recalls jail in Myanmar
NEW YORK CITY - Danny Fenster spent more than five months in a Myanmar jail after he was arrested for charges of spreading false information and contacting illegal organizations.
Little was known about Fenster's time behind bars until Tuesday morning when the Michigan native and foreign journalist arrived in the U.S.
But he also had little knowledge about what the world knew of his predicament.
"I got little hints throughout the experience, if I was out of the prison, a police aid might flash me a picture of my entire family wearing my face on CNN," he said. "It was a pretty bizarre thing to see."
"Most of the days, you wake up early. Drink the instant coffee you made the night before, and then you read. You go outside and walk in a circle. I would jog, there were some makeshift weights I would lift," he continued. "Then you eat, try to read more, stare at the wall."
Fenster recounted his days in his jail during a press conference in New York City. He was alongside Bill Richardson, one of many members that had worked to secure the captive's release.
Fenster said he talked to people a little bit and he wasn't mistreated.
He also occasionally got himself in trouble "by pushing boundaries."
"That caused small confrontations, but I wasn't physically threatened," he said, describing the "tug of war" he had with the guards over wanting to sleep with the lights off. "Just small stupid stuff like that."
"I had an attitude that I wasn't going to be there long and so I was going to stand my ground," he said. "It didn't take too long to learn I didn't have a lot of ground to stand on."
He also said his mood would gravitate up and down - some days he would be doing okay and be positive, while other days were difficult.'
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"I had a couple of moments of almost losing hope. You get into a good mood, and you'd have a change in perspective, then you'd get a setback," he said.
The day he left, Fenster wasn't sure where he was going. He was told to pack up after staying in a jail in the country's capital, then he was stuffed into a car and shackled.
At one point, he was informed he had been charged, then he was offered a pardon and told he was going to go.
Richardson, who also spoke at the press conference, said the best moment was when he was at the airport in Myanmar, and saw Danny walking toward him.
"I'm taking you home Danny," he told him. "We're going back to the U.S. today."