So, I am here. It took me some plane time (40h hours in total because I missed one connection) but I arrived. It is hot here, the cars are not the same, people don't speak the same stuff I'm used to or eat the same stuff I'm used to or even write in a funny way. Because all of that stuff, and because some people told me to send them pictures and I am lazy, I just created this. It looked fun when I saw what other people did so, why not me. From time to time, I'll put stuff here, you can write and put picture so I don't have to call friends/family to explain everything, it saves time, time is money so I'll eventually get rich. I'll also translate that in French because some of the people I know don't speak English and after they would complain and call me to ask me to explain the pictures so there would be no point at doing that. Did I say that I would be super excited about what I'll be writing about? Because travelling is so cool, yeah.
- I will put here : pictures of streets, of events, maybe people, landscapes, and surprises.
- I will not put here : all the meals I eat, filtered pictures (not that I don't want to, I just can't with my computer), hashtags, my shopping list, my dick.
Bon, du coup je suis la. (Desole en avance, j'ai pas les accents sur ce clavier anglais.) Ca m'a pris un peu de temps en avion (40 heures au total comme j'ai loupe une connexion) mais je suis arrive. Il fait chaud ici, les voitures ne sont pas les memes, les gens ne parlent pas les memes trucs qu'on est habitue, ou mangent pas les memes choses et ecrivent meme d'une maniere marrante. A cause de tous ces trucs la, et parce que des gens m'on demande de leur envoyer des photos et que je suis feignant, j'ai juste cree ca. Ca avait l'air cool quand j'ai vu ce que certaines personnes avaient fait alors pourquoi pas moi. De temps en temps je mettrai des trucs ici, tu peux ecrire et mettre des photos du coup j'ai pas besoin d'appeler des amis/famille pour tout expliquer, ce qui me fait gagner du temps, le temps c'est de l'argent donc eventuellement je serais riche. Je vais aussi traduire ca en francais (aucun interet de traduire cette phrase ...) parce que certaines personnes que je connais ne parlent pas anglais et apres ils se plaindraient et m'appeleraient pour me demander d'expliquer les photos donc tout aurait perdu son interet. Est-ce que j'ai dit que j'aller etre super excite parce que j'ecrirais? Parce que voyager est trop genial, yeah.
- Ce que je mettrais ici : des photos de rues, d'evenements, peut-etre des gens, des paysages et des surprises.
- Ce que je ne mettrais pas ici : tous les repas que je mangerais, des photos avec des filtres (c'est pas que j'ai pas envie, je peux juste pas avec mon ordinateur), des hashtags, ma liste de course, mon sexe.
So, this is the end of the monsoon time. It was extremely hot the day I arrived and then it rained. A heavy rain, but a good rain : you are totally wet but after 5 minutes you get dry. Anyways, not working in the next morning, I wanted to go to the hairdresser to get my hair cut (less hair = less hot) but mainly to get a massage. Yes, you get massages when you get an haircut, your hairs need to be relaxed too, no ? So, for 6000 kyats (say "tchat"), around 3.50€, you get an haircut, and then, you lay down on a massage table to get your shampoo and a 20-30 minutes shoulder, neck, arms and hands massage because why not. Everything was perfect until the massage girl gave me cue tips, like say it to my face if you think my ears are dirty ! Except that, I think I will go to the hairdresser very often here.
But let's go back to the story. I wanted to go to the hairdresser and to visit a bit but you remember of the rain I told you about? It actually rained a lot. So, bye bye road and sidewalks, hello river!
My street was actually fine at this time, you can see a bit of road in the middle. I normally had to walk for 15 minutes. To be the least wet possible, I first thought it would be a good idea to walk on the sidewalk. But, as you don't see it (it's under water), you have to be extra careful to not fall in a hole (the sidewalk is mainly made of concrete slabs and under these slabs you have the water evacuation system. So if there is a hole you can easily have a 50cm/1m fall ...). Then, when you realise that you only walk 10 meters every minute and that anyway you'll be wet, you walk on the road. There is more water and waves when cars are coming but there are usually no holes and it's flat! People here seemed used to this and even ride bicycle so after 5 minutes you just relax actually, it's refreshing to have water until the knees at some moments, it's good for the legs and you have more time to enjoy the view. Negative point : I didn't want to take off my flip flops and it hurts a bit to walk with flip flops in the water. Conclusion : I didn't explore much because it took me a long time to get there but here are some pictures.
EN FRANCAIS MAINTENANT
Donc, c'est la fin du temps de la mousson. Il faisait extrêmement chaud le jour de mon arrivée et il a plu. Une forte pluie, mais une bonne pluie: t'es totalement mouillé mais après 5 minutes t'es deja sec. De toute façon, ne travaillant pas le lendemain matin, je voulais aller chez le coiffeur pour me faire couper les cheveux (moins de cheveux = moins chaud) mais surtout pour me faire masser. Oui, vous obtenez des massages quand vous vous faites couper les cheveux, vos cheveux doivent être détendus aussi, non? Donc, pour 6000 kyats (dites "tchat"), autour de 3,50 €, vous obtenez une coupe de cheveux, puis vous vous couchez sur une table de massage pour obtenir votre shampooing et 20-30 minutes de massage des épaules, du cou, des bras et des mains parce que pourquoi pas hein! Tout était parfait jusqu'à ce que la masseuse me donne des cotons tiges, autant me dire directement que mes oreilles sont sales! Donc je pense que je vais aller chez le coiffeur très souvent ici.
Mais revenons à l'histoire. Je voulais aller chez le coiffeur et visiter un peu mais tu te souviens de la pluie dont je t'ai parlé? Il a beaucoup plu. Alors, bye bye route et les trottoirs, bonjour la rivière!
Ma rue était pas trop mal a ce moment, vous pouvez voir un peu de route au milieu. Je devais normalement marcher pendant 15 minutes. Pour être le moins mouille possible, j'ai d'abord pensé que ce serait une bonne idée de marcher sur le trottoir. Mais, comme vous ne le voyez pas (il est sous l'eau), vous devez faire très attention de ne pas tomber dans un trou (le trottoir est principalement fait de dalles de béton et sous ces dalles vous avez le système d'évacuation de l'eau donc s'il y a un trou, vous pouvez facilement avoir une chute de 50cm / 1m ...). Ensuite, quand vous réalisez que vous ne marchez que 10 mètres chaque minute et que de toute façon vous serez mouillé, vous marchez sur la route. Il y a plus d'eau et de vagues quand les voitures arrivent mais il n'y a généralement pas de trous et c'est plat! Les gens ici semblaient habitués à ça et même faire de la bicyclette, donc après 5 minutes vous vous relaxez, il est rafraîchissant d'avoir de l'eau jusqu'aux genoux à certains moments, c'est bon pour les jambes et vous avez plus de temps pour profiter de la vue. Point négatif: je ne voulais pas enlever mes tongs et ça fait un peu mal de marcher avec des tongs dans l'eau. Conclusion: Je n'ai pas beaucoup exploré car il m'a fallu beaucoup de temps pour y arriver mais voici quelques photos. (Voir plus haut pour les photos)
First advice ? Don't take the bus in Myanmar while being hangover. Second one ? Maybe stay on beer instead of local alcohol, better for your head.
This is after a little birthday party that I left to go to Bagan. If you already heard of it, that's nice. If you didn't, this is a place where there is a shitload of temples, pagodas and other nice things. Like around 2000 monuments actually. This is a big number. People usually like big numbers so they go there. And me too. The journey from Mandalay takes approximately 5 hours. Approximately because you must not forget that you are in Myanmar. After being picked up in the hostel by a little open truck (I will put a picture later but it looks like a truck but it's open on the side and the roof is covered. You sit on a bench and can see the rear view because it's open.), we go around Mandalay to pick up people and package everywhere. Then, after 30 minutes, it was hot and I was already dying, I arrived at the bus station. Nice cute little bus. But little bus mean little storage so I had the bag of my neighbour under my feet. Very comfy, that's a good start. Other thing you need to know, they love AC here, so bring a blanket because it's freezing in the bus. We leave and I realise the mistake I did when I drunk the day before. Yes, drivers honk. A LOT. It is so nice to fall asleep and to hear every 30 second a violent, knife in the head, honk. In addition, we stop on the way to pick up more people. The bus is full ? No worries, we have little plastic stools, lets put them in the middle and people will sit. So now, I don't even have space to put my legs on the side. BUT, because it's in Myanmar, you just need few things to feel better (there is worse than that, I'm just bitching) : when the burmese lady sitting in the middle next to me asked me if I was ok because I didn't have space, I just felt good, she was just sitting on a plastic stool in the middle of the bus goddammit and was worried about me! We had a little stop in a place in the middle of nowhere where you could buy a meal or some dead fried animals. Didn't try but looked good. There was a guy on a bicycle as well. And some cows.
I pretty much slept uncomfortably for the rest of the way. Now, let's go to Bagan because you all want to see pictures of temples, classic. There is one thing very specific there, E-Bikes! They are bikes but as you can guess they are as well Elegant! No, electric... Because "normally" you are not supposed to drive a bike in Myanmar without license. But between what you can't do and what people do there are not some steps but some floors here. Anyways, you want to go legal, you take an E-bike. It's cheap (4000-5000k a day so, around 3-4€), it's silent and it's slow (maximum 50km/h for me). You cannot do without because as you can guess, 2000 monuments, that's a biiiig number and you can't walk that much. And it's hot. So I took one and went to sleep, I was tired.
I woke up for sunrise at 5am. I always heard that sunrise there was AMAZING but more importantly I wanted pictures to put on my Instagram (no I don't have one). I take the bike and start driving but I can't read a map, I turn left instead of right and can't find the good pagoda to see the sunrise. It starts raining, I come back because I thing I've been to far, I go in some muddy path and end up taking shelter in the middle of nowhere under something protecting a car. I try to thing about how good my idea was to see the sunrise when it was already raining a bit when I left and save my phone and cigarettes in my back. I'm already soaking wet, who cares anymore, I go back to the hostel for breakfast. It didn't stop raining so it's fun but not fun as well. I take a shower and go back to sleep. This morning was a success. (As you will see, my full day was a full success.) And no pictures as well I didn't want to ruin my camera. But here is one road in Bagan.
Around 10am, I go to explore. This is fun. As I was told there is pagoda and temples and other stuff. Don't ask me the difference I have no idea. Ask google instead. And for google, more precisely the Insight Guide website, there is a difference. To be short, the pagoda is where there would be relics and the temple is the place where you meditate. I said I would go simple, if you want more info, go there : https://www.insightguides.com/destinations/asia-pacific/burma-myanmar/cultural-features/pagodas-and-temples . I drive around, stop in places, climb some temples (at first it seems like something rude and that you'll go to hell for it but you actually have stairs inside to climb to the top), check the view, take some pictures and then, guess what happens ? It starts raining like hell. Same same, I stop under a tree, wait a bit, this is not stopping at all, I decide that fuck this shit I'm already wet, I've been wet before, I'm used to now! The way was just a bit longer so I get more wet. I'm tired of this shit, I will be living in Myanmar for the next 8 month at least, I'll have plenty of time to see pagodas and temples, they've been here for thousand of years, they'll be here in a month or two so I spend the day reading a book. I did pictures though so here you go.
Oh and guess what? I went to see the sunset and you'll never know what happened! I was watching this beautiful grey sky and I could almost see some of the light of the sun behind them but I saw some rain coming from far away. As I would not see anything of this shitty sunset, I decide to go earlier and fuck off. I go down, walk to my bike and .... IT STARTS RAINING! Bloody hell. So I'm wet for the 3rd time in one day. Last time this happened to me I must have been 2 (or more, or less, I have no idea when babies are supposed to stop pissing on themselves). Anyway, I still took some more pictures.
Conclusion: I finished my book. I will take better picture next time I go there I promise.
Premier conseil? Ne prenez pas le bus au Myanmar en ayant la gueule de bois. Deuxième ? Peut-être rester sur la bière au lieu de l'alcool local, mieux pour votre tête.
C'est après une petite fête d'anniversaire que je suis parti pour aller à Bagan. Si vous en avez déjà entendu parler, c'est bien. Si vous n'avez pas, c'est un endroit où il y a une tonne de temples, de pagodes et d'autres bonnes choses. Environ 2000 monuments en fait. C'est un grand nombre. Les gens aiment généralement les grands nombres, alors ils y vont. Et moi aussi j'y suis alle. Le trajet a partir de Mandalay prend environ 5 heures. Environ parce que vous ne devez pas oublier que vous êtes au Myanmar. Après avoir été ramassé à l'auberge par un petit camion ouvert (je mettrai une photo plus tard mais on dirait un camion sauf qu'il est ouvert sur le côté et le toit est couvert. Vous êtes assis sur un banc et vous pouvez voir la vue arrière parce que c'est ouvert), nous faisons le tour de Mandalay pour aller chercher les gens et les colis. Puis, après 30 minutes, il faisait chaud et j'étais déjà en train de mourir, je suis arrivé à la gare routière. Beau petit bus mignon. Mais petit bus signifie peu de rangement donc j'ai eu le sac de mon voisin sous mes pieds. Très confortable, c'est un bon début. Autre chose que vous devez savoir, ils adorent la clim ici, alors apportez une couverture car il gèle dans le bus. Nous partons et je me rends compte de l'erreur que j'ai commise lorsque j'ai bu la veille. Oui, les conducteurs klaxonnent. BEAUCOUP. C'est tellement agréable de s'endormir et d'entendre toutes les 30 secondes un son violent, comme un coup couteau dans la tête. De plus, nous nous arrêtons pour aller chercher plus de monde. Le bus est plein? Pas de soucis, nous avons de petits tabourets en plastique, mettons-les au milieu et les gens vont s'asseoir. Alors maintenant, je n'ai même pas d'espace pour mettre mes jambes sur le côté. MAIS, parce que c'est au Myanmar, vous avez juste besoin de peu de choses pour vous sentir mieux (il y a pire que ça je sais, je suis juste en train de me plaindre parce que j'aime ca): quand la dame birmane assise au milieu à côté de moi m'a demandé si ca allait parce que j'avais pas d'espace, je me suis juste senti beaucoup mieux. Elle était juste assise sur un petit tabouret en plastique au milieu de l'autobus et était inquiete pour moi! Nous avons fait un petit arrêt dans un endroit au milieu de nulle part où vous pouviez acheter un repas ou des animaux frits morts. J'ai pas essayé mais ca semblait bon. Il y avait aussi un type sur un vélo. Et quelques vaches.
J'ai assez mal dormi pour le reste du trajet. Maintenant, allons à Bagan parce que vous voulez tous voir des photos de temples, classiques. Il y a une chose très spécifique là-bas, les E-Bikes! Ce sont des scooters mais comme vous pouvez le deviner, ils sont aussi ... Elégants! Non, Electrique ... Parce que "normalement" vous n'êtes pas censé conduire une moto au Myanmar sans permis. Mais entre ce que vous ne pouvez pas faire et ce que les gens font, il y a une difference ici. Donc, vous voulez etre légal, vous prenez un E-bike. C'est bon marché (4000-5000k par jour donc, environ 3-4 €), c'est silencieux et c'est lent (maximum 50km/h pour moi). Vous ne pouvez pas vous en passer car, comme vous pouvez le deviner, 2000 monuments, c'est un chiffre important et vous ne pouvez pas marcher autant. Et il fait chaud. Alors j'en ai pris un et je suis allé dormir, j'étais fatigué.
Je me suis réveillé pour le lever du soleil à 5h du matin. J'ai toujours entendu que le lever du soleil là-bas était incroyable mais plus important encore, je voulais des photos à mettre sur mon Instagram (non je n'en ai pas). Je prends le vélo et commence à conduire mais je ne peux pas lire une carte, je tourne à gauche au lieu de droite et ne trouve pas de pagode pour voir le lever du soleil. Il commence à pleuvoir, je reviens parce que je pense que je suis allé trop loin, je vais dans un chemin boueux et finis par me réfugier au milieu de nulle part sous quelque chose qui protège une voiture. J'essaie de realiser à quel point mon idée de voir le lever du soleil alors qu'il pleuvait déjà un peu en partant etait pourrie. Je range mon téléphone et mes cigarettes dans mon sac pour pas les tremper totalement. Je suis déjà trempé, on s'en fout, je retourne à l'auberge pour le petit-déjeuner. Il n'a pas arrêté de pleuvoir toute la route, c'est amusant mais pas amusant aussi. Je prends une douche (enfin, une 2eme) et je me rendors pour dormir. Ce matin a été un succès. (Comme vous le verrez, ma journée entière a été un plein succès.) Et pas de photos aussi parce que je ne voulais pas ruiner mon appareil photo. Mais voici une route à Bagan.
Vers 10h, je vais explorer. C'est cool. Comme on m'a dit il y a des pagodes et des temples et d'autres choses. Ne me demandez pas la différence, je n'en ai aucune idée. Demandez à Google à la place. Et pour google, plus précisément le site Insight Guide, il y a une différence. Pour être bref, la pagode est l'endroit où il y aurait des reliques et le temple est l'endroit où vous méditez. J'ai dit que j'irais simple, si vous voulez plus d'info, allez là: https://www.insightguides.com/destinations/asia-pacific/burma-myanmar/cultural-features/pagodas-and-temples. Je conduis, je m'arrête à certains endroits, je grimpe des temples (au début, ça semble être impoli et vous pensez que vous allez aller en enfer mais en fait vous avez des escaliers pour monter donc ca va), regarde la vue, prend quelques photos et la, devinez ce qui se passe? Il commence à pleuvoir comme vache qui pisse. Pareil, je m'arrête sous un arbre, attends un peu, ça ne s'arrête pas du tout, je décide que va chier, je suis déjà mouillée, j'ai déjà été mouillée, je suis habitué maintenant! Le chemin était juste un peu plus long donc je deviens plus mouille mais mes fringues sont propres. Je suis fatigué de cette merde, je vais vivre au Myanmar pour les 8 prochains mois au moins, j'aurai amplement le temps de voir des pagodes et des temples, ils sont là depuis des millénaires, ils seront là dans un mois ou deux, donc je passe la journée à lire un livre. J'ai fait des photos alors voilà.
Oh et devinez quoi? Je suis allé voir le coucher de soleil et vous ne saurez jamais ce qu'il s'est passé! Je regardais ce beau ciel gris et je pouvais presque voir une partie de la lumière du soleil derrière eux mais j'ai vu de la pluie venir de loin. Comme je ne verrais rien de ce coucher de soleil merdique, je décide de partir plus tôt et de m'enfuir. Je descends, marche jusqu'à mon vélo et ... IL COMMENCE À TOMBER DES CORDES! Bordel de merde. Donc je suis mouillé pour la 3ème fois en une journée. La dernière fois que cela m'est arrivé, je devais avoir 2 ans (ou plus, ou moins, je ne sais pas quand les bébés sont censés cesser de pisser dessus). En tout cas, j'ai encore pris d'autres photos. (Voir la fin de l'article en anglais pour les photos)
Conclusion: j'ai fini mon livre. Je vais prendre des meilleures photos la prochaine fois que j'y vais, je le promets.
You do know how blind people play football (or soccer for the other weirdos) ? They can hear the ball because inside there is some noisy things and so, they can locate the ball with their ears. You may wonder why I speak about blind football. First of all it is impressive to watch and if you didn't know about it you learned something and you should google it. You're welcome. But now imagine this the other way around : the players are now drunk and are making noises meaning : "you ball, you better get the fuck out because I'm coming" and the ball is obeying because she is a good ball. Well, here, they love football and you're the ball. In fact everyone is the ball of everyone (I always dreamed of being the ball of someone so it's like a dream coming true.). They don't honk for fun like in Europe for example, just to say "Hey you, I'm here". That make me think that most of the drivers could drive without opening their eyes because you always know where is everyone when you are on the road (and if you don't know, well ... you're a ball ...). To be totally honest, they don't drive too fast and it's relatively easy to drive, even with a bicycle but it's still fucking noisy. This is the case on the normal roads. Now put 10 teams of football on the same field, add some bicycles, trucks, bikes and sell things (that's a lot of people now, you need to feed them) : WELCOME TO ZAY CHO MARKET.
You like my introduction ? Well I don't mind I you don't (skip this if you didn't like it, I just read it and you'll get bored), I tried to find something cool to say, apparently they do that in blogs and they look cool and I want to be cool so... They speak about themselves as well. I am good. I can still see my knees when I sit down so it means that I didn't get too fat yet. The work is alright but there is always people coming to talk to me and ask me to sleep in the building so it annoys me. What else ? I take showers, wash my teeth and go to the toilets normally (didn't get food poising yet.). I spend my days eating or working, not sleeping so much, they also have beers here so I don't have time for that. I have massages sometimes as well because I am a very busy man and I need to relax. Ya know, living abroad is so difficult, you can't even imagine the amount of stress I endure, Oh. My. God. They don't even have MC Donald here, can you even imagine ? Mc Donald, seriously ... (it is hard to mimic a kind of person when you write. Imagine the one chewing, wearing some yoga pants and complaining that it is so diiiirty everywhere while washing her hands with sanitizer because a kid touched her and she wish she could have a good American dish (some chicken wings) because food is so bad here. Didn't have it here but seen somewhere else and they are everywhere. And Instagram. No offence for Americans, I'll find some cliches about French tourists later don't worry). Blog people take selfies in front of buildings as well. No, sorry, I will not. So, let's go to the market
You want some facts now ? Well, there you go: Zay Cho Market is a big building with a 5 floors and a lot of shops inside. You can buy a lot of things. It is big. But it is also old. I don't know how old, but it is there since the days of King Mindon! Can you imagine ? (I google it for you, it was 1853-1878 so, old). We can also say that contraception was not very efficient at the time, with 110 children, our good king was quite active. Well, he had 62 queens so I guess that helped a bit, not for him but for the women ... Anyways he was liked apparently, because he did some good stuff. Before dying, one of the queen, Hsinbuymashin the badass, just ordered that all the possible heirs would be killed. Like that only her daughter and her son-in-law would be King and Queen. It worked, and they became King and Queen, but then ... end of story (google it if you want to know more).
Well, I didn't go there. I didn't know before writing this but it seems that the "market" is only the building. I didn't go there. But all around there are so many things. Many. Like a lot. At least one thouuuuusand things. Here is a short example of what you can find :
PS: the cake lady didn't want to smile.
You get it now ? I told you you can get everything. And still, I didn't take everything in picture. I don't like to say nice things but this place is amazing, maybe my favourite place in Mandalay so far. Yes, there is some small streets where it smells like death, yes it's not pretty sometimes, it's smelly (fish can be dried, it still smells like fish, really), it's noisy, hot, dusty, crazy. But this craziness is just amazing. You can walk for hours and just see new shops, new things happening, these random moments, where you just don't really get where you are or what is happening around you.
So, there is a lot of stands outside but some building are full of shops as well. Here you can see one selling different tissues, and pots, you never know, for example:
Or here, enter in a small building and find people selling jewellery, dried noodles, fish, dried fish, coffee ... And a little river in the middle ...
So yes, it's crazy but you can also find quiet places, just by entering a building, getting lost in a small street. And this busyness is also quiet. Yes, people are honking but they still stay relax in general and you can just stay, sit, look at all the people passing by and just try to understand what they are doing or where they are going. That bring us here.
I had a juice there by the way and they like sugar here so, it was a bit too sweet but the woman was nice so I didn't leave her a bad review online, she's lucky.
I just wanted to share that (and get more likes) because I just really like this place. And I haven't gave news to a lot of people so, same same ... See you ...
Bonus picture, a German holding a pineapple is hidden somewhere. Like I said, you could find anything in Zay Cho Market!
Yes, it's been a long time (very long)I haven't posted anything. Several reasons for that : I didn't have time, I did other stuff. I went in Bangkok as well (twice now that I post the post). I will put an article about that soon as well but not now. Ah and there was Christmas and New Year's Eve as well, other reasons to not have time. When your head hurts, you do not want to move, and even less to write. So, I will put more things here about Mandalay, because it's so nice, and great and fun. Having a day off together with Chloe, we decided to go explore around! (This was written in January but my laptop broke and I couldn't put the pictures on ...)
First stop: U Bein Bridge.
This is for your information. The U Bein Bridge, or ဦးပိန် တံတား in Burmese, with its 1.2 km and its around 150 years is apparently the longest and oldest teak-wood bridge in the world. You never asked yourself "Where is the longest and oldest teak-wood bridge is the world ?" ?, well, you know now. Armed with this knowledge, 1 jacket, 2 sweatshirt, socks, shoes, scarf, a good lack of sleep and an empty stomach, we departed from the hostel at around 4h20 a.m. to see the sunrise. I listed that because even if it is always summer here in a way, it is fucking freezing in the morning, not literally but still (around 15ºC I would say) very cold when you drive.
--- Bike noises ---
We are there. In Mandalay, or in Myanmar in general, people don't really go out. Some do of course but it is not as common as in Europe I would say. And people work a lot and so, they wake up early. This strikes you as you drive around 4:30 a.m., there is already plenty of life in town. People driving to work, some eating breakfast in teashops (there are 2 types of "bars" here. Teashops for breakfast mainly, noodles and tea, no alcohol, closed in the evening and Beer stations, serving beer, alcohol, food and opened during the night. Until midnight or a little bit more, I said before, people don't go out very late). And once more, even in the early morning, you can appreciate random moments of kindness : while driving, one man drove past us and started to talk to us while driving "Hello! You are going to U Bein Bridge ?". Or one other saying a simple "Hello!". When you don't expect it, it can be scary. But it is just so nice when people say hello to you randomly and so nice as well that it almost became natural while living here. Anyway, we are there. It is cold and we try to find a good spot to watch. We wait, wait, watch the sunrise and take pictures. These are some pictures I took. You can see a bridge and a sunrise, this is not rocket science.
While going back, we have the chance to pass through ordinary scenes of life. Little villages, pigs, people having breakfast, sitting around a fire, coming back to the monastery... It is cold. It might only be 7 a.m. but the day already started a few hours ago for a lot of people.
Once in the city, it is one more the same effervescence, tea shops and markets are full. We drive avoiding potholes, dogs, bikes and insisting yet benevolent looks and smiles (It seems that we do look like tourists).
For breakfast it will be Shan Noodles. I don't know if I spoke about that before, Shan Noodles are good. They are made with apple and rice mixed with some tomatoes and are from India originally, thus the name. Nah dummy. These noodles, eaten generally for breakfast, and found in most of the tea shops are served with pork or chicken and their original name is Meeshay. They come from the Shan state, state located at the East of Mandalay, between Mandalay and China. From what I just read (I save you some time), it originated from the Chinese Mixian and became a speciality of Shan people. Anyway, that's good, it's served with a little broth (like most of the dishes here actually), with some little pickles, you have unlimited tea on the table (that's why it's called tea shop as well.) that's quite filling and it will cost you 1000 kyats (around 0.70 USD). We can then say that this is a good deal. That's a yes for Luc. Will it be for you ? This is a picture from our friend google because I never took a picture of it. (I will try to do an article later about food in general)
Well, after a well deserved nap, longer than expected, it's time to go see some monkeys. 15km away, there is a hill that is called by a name but it is nicknamed Monkey Hill. Guess why? Because there are monkeys. We leave knowing the direction. However, like always, knowing the direction and hoping to see signs on the way is not enough in Myanmar, even if you can find some signs sometimes, they are written in Burmese, and I can't read that. The road to go there is amazing. That is one of the biggest perks of Mandalay, despite more than 1.200.000. inhabitants, in 10 minutes drive by motorbike you can be out of town, see some buffalo, cows and people working the fields. That is quite amazing. We even stopped at what seemed like a village party/birthday party but we couldn't stay long as the sound was horribly strong. I don't know why, it seems the stronger the sound is, the better it is. We stayed few minutes and my ears were already crying, poor kids. Well we arrived at the bottom of the "hill" ("" because it is a big hill actually, it would be called mountain in Ireland) but couldn't find the way to the top (yes, no signs). After trying one path through rocks and holes we realised that that was not the very best way so we came back and found the good one! Almost having an accident on the way as someone shouted "HELLO" while driving past us, we go up. And up. And up. The bike is crying, or shouting, I don't know exactly but it was not very nice to hear. My bike is lazy and doesn't really like to climb. And we found monkey hill!
Alright, let's be totally honest right now: I think I can say "we" but I didn't feel very safe with these monkeys. They look sneaky as hell and after hearing few people saying they were attacked by monkeys, we didn't feel very safe when they moved!! Look at those balls.
Well, There is a way going up, let's keep going up. We have no idea where we are going but it is fresh, a stream of water flows along the road, the trees are green, animals living, we can see some pagodas along the way and the people we see are all so nice ... Let's go up!
I will not make the suspense last any longer. We arrived at the top. A monastery is welcoming us there, no way of driving up more. We park. No one in sight. Nothing in sight. We are inside a "bowl", all around only mountains and pagodas. No more city, no more cars, only the sound of birds, dogs, some people playing music (people love music in Myanmar) far away and no one in what looks like a little village. We see a sign indicating some cave. We've come too high to not go any higher. A dog with a nice jumper is here and she starts going up the stairs. It seems that she will be our guide. We follow her but we might not be fast enough because at one point she just leaves us and keeps going up. And after 20-25 minutes, we find that.
After a well deserved break, we see that we can still go up to a pagoda. And up there, we meet our friendly dog! She has some little puppies and is now chilling and playing with them, it seems that she just went down to chill in the monastery ... Some men are working on the top of the pagoda and one monk come to speak to us and to show us around, the inside of the pagoda, what we can see around ... Unfortunately, this is the dry season (when I am writing this it's been raining for 2 days ... but it's supposed to be the dry season) so this is very dusty everywhere and even with the strongest will, we cannot see very far away as dust is carried everywhere.
Ready to go back down, our nice monk tells us that we can still go up to the top top to see more vistas. Well, why not ... Ok, next time, we'll maybe take some shoes instead of flip flops ...
We are done, it is time to go back down. Once back in the monastery, we see people for the first time, few kids, cleaning the floor throw some "Mingalabar!", "Hi", "Hello" at us. I feel special.
After walking around a bit, we are done there and going down.
And this is how it ends. By a picture of the sunset from the hostel. You get the title now?
Almost forgot ... Thanks @Chloe Van Alstine for being on the pictures and filming while I drive and being nice.
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