The last blog entry left us heading for the station to get the overnight sleeper to Mandalay. It was an experience! A good one, but an experience none-the-less. The Man in seat 61 was right, the tickets were a doddle to buy and dirt cheap.... Less than 50 quid for the 4 of us to get a first class sleeper cabin (all to ourselves) for a 15 hour journey. Bargain!
He was also right in that a guy came round selling food for dinner (and breakfast) and (fairly) cold beer. In addition, at every station there was the opportunity to buy all manner of food through the window from sellers on the platform. The ride was not, to say the least, the smoothest though. We bumped around to such an extent that some of the jolts physically lifted me off my bunk into the air. I would have to say I didn't get much sleep on the sleeper, but still thoroughly enjoyed it and we saw plenty of rural Burma as we chuffed through it. Finally, no security checks, no turning up three hours early, no long journey out of town to an airport, plenty of leg room and the chance to get up and stretch those legs whenever we wanted... All-in-all a far better alternative to flying!
It's a strange thing, but I was not overly impressed with Mandalay yet I think we will be back there anyway. The city itself is just a fairly big South East Asian city you could just as easily be somewhere in Indonesia or Malaysia for example. However, there's lots of really lovely stuff to see outside the city. My advice would be go, but book a driver to take you out and about.
One of the best sights in the city itself is Shwe In Bin Kyuang, a beautiful teak monastery, a lovely quiet spot surrounded by trees that largely block out the noise of the city. The temple was commissioned by a couple of wealthy Chinese jade merchants.
As you can see it is covered in the most intricate carving.
The whole structure is supported by mammoth teak pillars which provided a lovely cool space under the main temple.
We also visited the Goldsmiths' area of Mandalay. Here, all day, every day men beat gold so flat that it is thinner than paper. It made a lovely sound but looked like bloody hard work to me.
We rounded off our first day in Mandalay with a lovely evening stroll along the Ayrawaddy and a couple of beers in a roof top bar watching the sun go down... Very nice
This will be a blog about my latest shots and what I liked or was trying to do with them
I am a teacher of Economics and have worked in various schools in Europe & Asia. One of the things I love doing is getting out and about with my camera.