17.03.2015 - 21.03.2015
I am off the Pandaw boat & looking forward to standing still for a bit. It has been a relaxing cruise but we got off & did something every day. That is very tiring ..
Five days more of Myanmar, sitting around the Ayerwaddy River View Hotel on the outskirts of Mandalay.
It does have a river view - from the roof-top terrace & bar. Free cocktails at around five every evening brings a few non-guests most night.
The hotel is very pleasant, but not too photogenic.
The food is good, the pool tiny but nice enough to sit around & read the book I stole from the library on board.
The Flame Trees of Thika with a photo of Hailey Mills on the cover - my teenage crush.
Around the hotel it is quite a rough area but non-threatening. Lots of places with auto parts.
There is a small park across the divided highway between hotel & river. I spent a few hours there watching life on the river & sunsets.
On day three of my stay I had one of the very pleasant reception girls get me a ride to the hill station of Pyin Ooo Lwin.
It's quite a ways away, with a few switchbacks creeping up the mountain.
Here I am arriving at the first stop - the Pagoda ..
I felt like praying a little bit - many cars here are curiously, right hand drive but they drive on the right too. Somewhat scary as the driver trusts to luck nothing is coming when he pulls out to overtake..
More ladies wanting their photo taken with the strange grey haired tourist .. & one girl in Yellow too ,,
and another in Yellow - lots of prayers up here .
Lots of photos being taken too ..
the driver waited for me by the food stalls ...
& then drove us off to the ex-governors mansion & some nice old English cars ..
Following the horse & buggies ..
and the lady road construction workers ..
we arrive at a spectacular botanic garden ..
Every time I turned a corner, there was another request for a photo - a tough job, but ...
Any time you see photos of Pyin Oo Lwin - this will be one of them ..
but probably not this one ..
These are petrified trees I think ..
A really pretty place to take some time - A bit cooler than Mandalay ... but still hot ..
Coming back to meet the driver I got asked by several more groups for my picture .. I am getting quite expert at getting theirs after they get mine.
Here's a lovely young family out for the day ..
with the youngster totally bemused ..
I stopped here to get the driver & myself a drink & had to wake him up to give him his. I would have liked to spend longer here but it was getting a bit hot & I was getting tired ..
so we just drove around town a little ... more lady construction workers ..
more old colonial buildings ..
more Pagodas ..
a few street vendors selling to the pilgrims - it was here I first became aware of the practise of ladies selling birds to people so they can be released.
We head off to a very popular waterfall ..
Many people out for the day - all locals by the look of it ..
kids dressed in their Sunday best - on the way home from the Pagodas perhaps ..
The one below does look like a tourist though ..
people scaring themselves crossing the wobbly bridge ..
Picnics & ice cream ... & time to head back down to Mandalay ..
Some time looking down from the little park on the river ..
The hotel is a bit out of town but you don't get scenes like this down-town Mandalay .. or down-town anywhere ..
For a couple of days there had been a lot of noise out back of my hotel. Chanting & music coming from loudspeakers.
On one of my walks through the back streets, the road was blocked off by the back of a temporary structure. I was going to bi-pass it when a man showed me I could walk by the side. As I got to the front of the structure, a man took me by the hand and led me inside. It was jammed with people, dressed finely, seated on the floor with food on tiny tables. The man offered me food & a place to sit but I begged off as I would have had trouble sitting & even more trouble getting up.
I made as dignified exit as I could & later realised I had been attending a young monks initiation ceremony & that was what all the noise had been about.
An amusement park with the Ferris wheel was just a walk away too, so I took that in on my way back to the hotel.
There's something you don't see too often .. naked boys riding bicycles ..
There's the river from the bar on the roof of the hotel. I spent a very pleasant evening up here chatting to an Austrian Tourist who was biking through Myanmar & a beautiful French girl who is a travel agent in Myanmar - I must remember to introduce her to Sophy of RED IXORA fame.
The next day I am sitting in the lobby waiting for my cab to the airport & notice a procession going on outside.
By the time I decide to take photos the procession has gone so I took pictures of these two receptionists - goodbye girls & goodbye Myanmar, It was a treat..
& here are the bullocks returning from the initiation ceremony.
And that's that for Myanmar & I promise to never talk of Sophy & Red Ixora again ..
Well - not til August when I get back from visiting her & Mother in Myanmar.
This blog should be called 'PEOPLE & PAGODAS OF MYANMAR'
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