Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day 74 - Mandalay, Myanmar

I managed to get a whole row on the bus to myself, so the night was comfortable as I curled up to sleep through the night. Waking up in the morning and looking out the window was incredible, as I saw palm trees in the distance and various stupas scattered throughout the outskirts of the city.

The city of Mandalay itself was less chaotic than Yangon, but still a decently sized major city in Myanmar. All the sight-seeing was scattered around the city, and you would need to rent a bicycle, or hire a driver to take you around.

I ended up meeting a tourguide at the guesthouse I was staying at and he helped me plan the next day around the cities outside of Mandalay while dodging some of the mandatory governmental fees. He also suggested some of the sights that I should see while in the city.

I decided to walk around and head to Mandalay Hill, which would provide stunning views of the city. In the blazing sun, I walked about halfway to the bottom of the hill before realizing I was only HALF WAY to the bottom of the hill... Instead, I turned back and decided that I would rent a bicycle in the next few days and ride my way there since I underestimated how far it really was...

For dinner, I joined the two friends I met in Yangon and we made our way to a Burmese restaurant. When we arrived, we found out it was closed, so we had to walk another 15 blocks to the other location. Trying to bargain with the taxi drivers was futile, as they all quoted 3,000 kyat for the three of us. I think it's the standard fee for tourists to get anywhere around the town. We walked about halfway to the restaurant and it was still 3,000 kyat. Of course, it started to rain when we headed there, but we decided to walk the whole way since we had already covered so much ground already.

After dinner, we headed back to our guesthouse, but not before trying to find a local beer called “Spirulina” that had spirulina as one of the ingredients that would help you “live longer.” We couldn't find the beer, so we settled on a local restaurant serving the country's main beer, Myanmar Beer.

Outside the Grand Palace

Birds resting along the Stupa

New friends Matt and Haley

Traditional Myanmar Curry with Condiments

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