Thursday, December 14, 2017

the (rail)road to Mandalay


This was our first train journey, and we loved every minute of it.
(We did not ride in ordinary class, though I went back to meet some local people for a few minutes.
Instead we traveled in upper class, where a 7-hour ticket cost around $2.25.)
Myanmar trains sway considerably from side to side, like being on a boat. We boarded in Hsipaw and rode 7 hours to Pyin oo Lwin, about 60 miles.
The family in front of us had excellent snacks and full course meals in tiffins. It was chilly when we boarded and with the windows open, and one of the women was wearing a flannel pajama top as her jacket. They were lovely people.

The train ticket includes life insurance. Is there something we should know?

On to the main attraction: Goteik bridge was constructed in 1899 and is the highest railway bridge in Myanmar. 
Myo pointed the bridge out to us when we crossed the gorge by car last week.

It's positively gorge-ous.

 Just don't look down.
 Breathtaking.

Some of the best part of the journey is looking out the open window.





And forgetting all your cares in the world.



At a few stops, we had 10-15 minutes for tea and snacks. But occasionally, strong women boarded the train with munchies. The best one was warm ears of corn on the cob and sliced pineapple.
 Right near Goteik, the northbound train passes the southbound train.
We got off the train in Pyin oo Lwin, even though we were headed to Mandalay, because the car takes 2 hours but the train another 5!
There was a one-lane section on the pass, with major construction, including a tractor pulling huge boulders down on the side of the road, above us. Were we glad to get to our hotel!

The woman at the front desk helped us arrange our boat tour to Bagan for tomorrow, brought us welcome drinks and the wifi password, and gave us free drinks at the restaurant, to enjoy the puppet show. The wifi is fast too.

Full day ahead tomorrow, so for once, I'm calling an early night. Wherever you go, may you find your path.