We passed through Mandalay again, staying at the ok but a bit noisy Arawaddy River Hotel as it was convenient for an early start the following day. It has a great rooftop bar but is also next to a monastery that broadcasts monks reading from the holy books through loud speakers for most of the night.
We spent 45 minutes in a travel agent booking 1hr flights from Bagan to Mandalay, watching a team of three 'work the Internet' then a team of two work the visa machine. More about this later.
The highlight was our trip back from the small Muslim Nepali shop house restaurant where we enjoyed a good vegi thali. Motorbike taxis are the go in Myanmar so when a proper taxi could not be found, we decided to give it a go. We had anticipated having one motorbike each but an old man, in a crash helmet in the style of a German WW II soldier and with one tooth, persuaded us that we could both fit on his 100cc moped. What a sight, Von Driver at the front, me in a pink linen shirt in the middle and Jodie in pink linen dress and my backpack sitting side saddle behind me. We had tried the other way around (Von Driver stayed at the front though) but my weight over the rear wheel kept bottoming the bike out everytime we hit a bump.
To add to the fun, as he only had one spare helmet neither of us got one. And he ran out of petrol. We thought our fat arses had broken his bike, his livelihood, but luckily no.
Again, whilst we may have looked odd, laughing our heads off while crawling down the road on an overladen bike, we got smiles, waves and lots of laughter, even from the security man at our hotel.