to Mandalay

Tied for best ride in this country so far

Older kids off to school as we leave in the morning

Villages, farming, life unchanged for hundreds of years. It’s beautiful

A large multi-family house, below, in the largest village. We chatted for a while, Soe translating. Everyone wants to know how old I am, before even asking where I’m from. Actually they prefer to just smile and stare. Myanmar people are the most open, smiling, trusting people I have met yet on this ride. They’re a little less shy than the Laos people, but otherwise just as welcoming.

Soe reinforced on day one that everyone is one family here. They refer to Aung San Suu Kyi as ‘mother’. Obviously with her in the spotlight right now, we talk a lot about politics. But that’s not blog stuff, except to say they have strong opinions about their country that may perhaps not align exactly with contemporary progressive western thought. The idea is, no traditional values, and (perhaps) no Buddha, no values. It’s completely unscrewed up.

Buddhas arranged on a hill

Lousy pic, but there are huge wild bee colonies hanging from the cliff face and build into the Buddha sculptures. See the colonies on the neck and armpits of Buddha second from right. Bees are sacred here (hooray) and signify prosperity

Well damn. We come across a group of seven international riders who’ve chartered bikes through an English operated company out of Chiang Mai in Thailand. They have two huge support trucks, a tour leader, Myanmar officials. Gear in the trucks, nice. They’re pissed off. The road they’re just ridden, going the other way is in bad condition they hadn’t anticipated. The vibe is pretty negative and turn down their invitation for lunch and get going

Shortly after we reach the crest

And begin the descent. The road ahead is ruined, mostly sand and small stretches of old road. The riders were right. Before that

At the bottom

I stop in town to watch this happen. A wedding procession down a Main Street

Beautiful girls

So Myanmar towns and cities as you can imagine are one big exhaust pipe, like anywhere in SE Asia. Plus I’ve been in dust for the last few hours. Time to wash the suit in the bath. Nice water colour

Sorry I’m blasting through these late posts without many observations, just need to catch up.

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