The Road to Mandalay ....
Had suprisingly hot coffee at 4am considering that it had been sittimg in a flask since the eve before. Checked in back at the airport & before we knew it we were landing in Mandalay to be greeted by Power our guide (wearing a skirt) & his driver in a beat up wee car. Dad - when he knew I was your daughter he roared with laughter, became very excited & called all his friends. he wants to know when you are coming out to visit again.
Most of the men wear long 'skirts' & all the girls & children wear a thick white makeup on their cheeks to protect them from the sun.
Well Power kept us on the go from 7am until 6.30pm with 30 mins for lunch & 30 mins to check in hotel & have a rest!!
Downtown Mandalay is a commercial nondescipt sort of city but the northern part & outskirts are absolutely bursting with temples, stupas, pagodas, palaces. We only sawa fraction but thery are amazing. Best of all was the 1.2km teak bridge & also watching the sunset over the Irrarwaddy from Mandalay Hill. We took a long horse & cart ride through villages & more temples. It's like turning the clock back - ladies in the fields hoeing peanuts, oxen ploughing, fishermen casting nets .... And of course the inevitable & irresistable trinket sellers.
Watching 1200 maroon gowned monks making the barefoot silent procession to take their lunch at 10am (& their last meal of the day) was surreal. Everywhere people want to make conversation with us (including the monks) & most have excellent English and an avid interest in the English Premier League.
We just wanted to grab a quick snack tonight so ordered a few meat & fish skewers from the street cafe on the corner. There was no menu & it was pretty much guess work. Andrew decided not to pick the small bat skewers. Of the 6 little dishes we thought we'd ordered we got 2 we expected & 4 we didn't including 2 bowls of soup & some odd looking meat that looked supiciously like bat. Must brush up on our Burmese sign language. Fingers crossed that our digestive tracts hold it together for tomorrow!