November 2017
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Month November 2017



The penultimate day, straight north.

Villages, a few interesting bridges and lots of construction

Talcy sand sections, for that thrill of wandering bike

After more hills we entered tiger country, we’re far north. There are only 150 tigers left in Myanmar. The Chinese pay $10,000 each for parts. New laws get you 70 years in prison (queue the Hillary joke) which sounds about right, short of a firing squad

Dragonfruit, from the top of these cacti. Very valuable and behind barbed wire fences

More rice harvesting, but this time they have a machine

The workers camp

Later we take a detour off to a pagoda down a road lined with coloured urns

At the end there’s a crowd of kids (Soe tells me wealthy private school girls.) One insists on a pic

Then 4

Then all of them. Every girl’s phone has to be used for a pic, so it took about 5 minutes. Very embarrassing



The ride

Yay! Later in the day, hills and twisties

Every road we’ve travelled has had short sections of construction. Sometimes for an hour, sometimes for most of the day. The crews are from the local villages. You’ll always see women, sometimes they make up the whole team.

A scooter ferry. They’re stacked up close, sideways, would be difficult for us

Nice fun little exit for this lady

A beautiful ride across plains before the hills. Sunflower fields, new blooms

Gas stop at this town, billiard table in the left hand opening

There are tables in every town. The kids are good. They’d clean up on a pool table with the bigger balls.

Into the hills

Great views

A crop of the above. They’re harvesting the rice as they seem to be doing everywhere right now

Finished back on plains

This valley was stunning

Later that night we went out an outside restaurant In Gangaw, a very small village. It was remarkable because I had the best fish I’ve ever had in my life. No exaggeration, I almost gasped after my first mouthful. In fact it was a bittersweet experience as I knew I wouldn’t be here, a quite famous restaurant, again.

From outside

Around the back. Comfortable, relaxed, great service.

The BBQ cook. Most food is prepared in an inside kitchen

Our table. Top is the Myanmar made Crown Royal. It’s the staple drink of men here. Every table has bottles of it. I stuck to beer. The Myanmar food story in an upcoming post

Here’s the place to go, the Premier 2 restaurant, coordinates 22.171278, 94.133005. Stay at the Gangaw Hotel. It’s a small, modern, family-run business. A room is $35 to $50.


Back up started at 7:09 finished 7:22 am. Heart attack avoided. Thanks to H and K for offers of assistance, G for talking me off the ceiling and Rob Vagramov for Plan A and being ready for Plan B.

8:50 pm 11.30.17

Everyone loves a train wreck.

So I’ve been emailing with RV (identity to be withheld if the train disintegrates but disclosed if we win) in Vancouver and we have a Plan A and almost a Plan B.

RV loves my cool red space heater and has sent me photos of how to position the Mac and crank the heat to a level where the case is very warm, but not hot to touch. Way above the literature recommendation. He says up to 60C.

Position A for 2 hours

Then position B for 2 hours

I put the helmet in to keep with the rider blog theme.

Then let it cool with a fan breeze overnight.

Then I’ll call him and we’ll share the experience of turning it on at 7:00 am Imphal time. Either poof or success. If poof I store the bike successfully here in Imphal and fly to Mumbai for Plan B. And miss the Hornbill festival in Nagaland. If success I ride on.

(this WordPress iPad app is actually pretty good, surprised)

12:55 pm 11.30.17

After finding nothing at the huge market here, found this fan at a tiny store on the street. Pics eventually to follow.

It has a heating element and thermostat. I have the heat on almost imperceptibly above room temperature, say 85F, it’s blowing nicely, and will check the heat setting frequently.

There are 41 hours left until I switch the Mac on. If it starts we’ll do an immediate full backup and ride off to the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland.

If it doesn’t start there’s Plan B in development. Complicated by the fact there are no off-the-shelf 1TB Mac Pro’s. Mine was a 2 week Apple order. And I have something between 650 – 700GB installed, so that’s a problem.

(Using the WordPress app for this, pic from iPad camera)

catastrophe in real time

About one hour ago (6:00pm) I dumped a beer over my Mac Pro. I immediately flipped it upside down, searched Google for the next moves on this iPad, and sat down to consider the consequences.

My last backup was 2 weeks ago. My backup drives live in the bike panniers which makes it easy to be lazy.

So now what. All my route work, everything about this ride is on the Mac. It’s fine to have a 2 week old backup, but there’s no Mac to transfer the info to any nearer than Calcutta. I’m in Imphal, Manipur, India. Plus I want the last 2 weeks stuff.

I can’t comfortably go further forward without Basecamp, all my data is on it, in a ‘India’ folder, not transferred to the unit.

There’s someone I can talk to to a few hours from now when you guys wake up at home.

Man oh man, this’ll be interesting. Old school, pre-technology travel sucks big time and I’ll do anything to avoid it, so we’ll see what ‘anything’ means very shortly.

On the positive side, I watched Argentina (the world’s best, vamos! vamos! Argentina! vamos, vamos a ganar!) play Manipur on the world’s original polo ground today, the birthplace of the sport. An incredible and unlikely situation to come across, in the heart of this obscure city way off in the northeast. Manipur won 7-6.



The day’s route

I took this opportunity to get into 6th for the first time in Myanmar. Juvenile



We passed a beautiful lake. Two families were sorting their catch roadside

The smell was intense but not unpleasant. Soe says the fish, depending oil type, sell for about ten cents a kilogram. They use nets

One of the typical homes on the lake

Boat launch



The bike has now parted goats, cows ands water buffalo

Girl novice monks collecting money from the merchants. They do this twice weekly


Limited commentary, catch up day.

Deserves its own page.

This temple is the most impressive structure we’ve seen yet in Myanmar, and that we’ve seen in SE Asia so far. It was built in 1105 by King Kyanzittha.

From Wiki

The temple layout is in a cruciform with several terraces leading to a small pagoda at the top covered by an umbrella known as hti, which is the name of the umbrella or top ornament found in almost all pagodas in Myanmar. The Buddhist temple houses four standing Buddhas, each one facing the cardinal direction of East, North, West and South. The temple is said to be an architectural wonder in a fusion of Mon and adopted Indian style of architecture. The impressive temple has also been titled the “Westminster Abbey of Burma”.

The whole thing, an interesting read: Ananda Temple


The view from the only climbable pagoda in the area. A 12 year old American girl fell off and died a week ago. No guard rails.

Lots of visitors from all over SE Asia

May, but it’s unlikely, bulk this up with more pics later.