I made it to Mandalay, newest/most modern city in Myanmar...
I shall abstain from making remarks on this city as all of my thoughts would be negative following the karmic disaster today was..
The day starts off alright, climbing up 777 steps to a temple at the top of a sacred mountain is tough but rewarding.. sadly the day was cloudy and I couldn't take as many panoramic pictures as I would've liked.. The staircase is infested with friendly monkeys who sit around eating corn chips and drinking 'red tiger'.. obviously packaged and formulated exactly like red bull, illegal here.. I start wondering whether the drink could have toxic effects on the monkeys (after all the effects it has on many of my friends are questionable too)at the exact same moment in which monkey riot broke loose. I am talking a serious, rock throwing, poop flying, screaming and chasing fight between about sixty monkeys, all happening right above our heads.. entering full panic mode, fearing becoming collateral damage in king louis' dispute I attempt to run past them as fast as possible. Now, can you imagine what happens to a pair of untrained legs going up 2417 feet? they simply stop responding properly. Result: me rolling down half the staircase on my ass and face. Having only packed two outfits for the entire trip and having rolled down the best part of a sacred mountain I now look like a battered old rag doll, covered in monkey s***. Blissful...
I've also found out apparently it is offensive to curse on a sacred mountain and it took all my will to refrain..motherf***ing monkeys!
After leaving the temple I embark on a tree hour car ride where I get drive through unexplored rural villages and the view is simply amazing.. women heading to the well to fill water tanks, men farming with bulls.. old school wooden carts travelling on the road alongside cars and vans, women grinding spices.. it is splendid and for A single moment I smiled.. and then I remembered I was soiled in monkey crap.
On the way we stopped at a distillery and saw the way rice is distilled to make liquor.. It did not appear sanitary or safe so I wisely kept my distance, until I was basically being forced to take a shot of rice liquor at 9.00am. I could not think of any excuse to give the nice old farmer, so in order to be polite I told him I don't drink, I am Allergic... apparently God is all knowing and doesn't like liars, as less than one minute after my misguided alcohol refusal the skies turned black and it started pouring rain. Seriously, leave it to me to make it rain in Myanmar during dry season... To give you an Idea of the extent of my bad luck, when I heard a lady complain about it raining through the roof into her room, the lady at the reception's response was 'sowee we not noo.. Never wain here'.. FML
Two hours later I made it to Mandalay where I visited the routine number of temples, with a discrete amount of displeasure as the feeling of walking around dirty temple floors barefoot is definitely amplified when the floors are wet and muddy..
Checking into my hotel is initially delightful as considered the pricing I expected a lot worse, and this is where I learnt that appearances can be misleading.. place looks lovely but:
-the door to my room has no lock
- or windows.. as in, theres a hole and air comes through but there is no actual window to close.. during a prolonged tropical thunderstorm
- same applies to bathroom windows
- my tv only has 5 channels, 3 are burmese infomercials, one is a Chinese channel to download phone rings and one is Hbo which made me majorly excited.
- until I found out it was HBO india