Our second day in Myanmar. Our destination? Mandalay.
The day began relatively relaxed. For the first time, we were able to take advantage of the breakfast buffet. My meal consisted of fried garlic flat noodles with a side of wok tossed vegetables and fried spiced chicken slices. Paired with the sweetest juice I’ve ever tasted, the health conscious part of me was freaking out. How Burmese people remain so thin is a complete mystery.
Before we set out for Mandalay, we were told that there were two route options. The good long road and the bad short road. We picked the former. Little did we know that a bad road in Myanmar means no road at all!
The terrible dirt track took us uphill on steep slopes and temperatures were soaring over 45°C , something we were oblivious to in our air conditioned beast on wheels. As we navigated the dusty path, we saw the coolest thing. A couple on a doubles bike. We stopped to talk to them. The pair from France have been cycling the world for a year, stopping in places to earn money before they moved on. From France to Istanbul where they took a flight to Delhi. From Delhi they cycled across India. From Myanmar they plan to go to Thailand and then take a call based on the weather and their motivation. Chloe is a pediatric nurse and Geoffrey is a graphic designer by profession. You think what we’re doing is adventurous? Look at these guys!
Now back to the fact that it was sweltering outside and we were going uphill on a non road. Not very good conditions for a car. Somewhere between Kalay and Mandalay the red pajero’s engine overheated. We stopped to figure out what we could do. We opened up the radiator and the intense pressure made the cap fly off. We officially were looking for a needle in the haystack and we were stuck till we found the metal cap. I repeat, it was more than 40° outside. Thankfully luck was in our side and within the hour, Geetu found the cap. After a quick celebration with a packet of pizza squares we continued our way to Mandalay with frequent stops to water down the engine.
Sometime around 8 o clock we were on this narrow country road with trees lined in either side like a canopy. Picture this. On the other side of the road, was a young dude lying across the road. Just there laid out. With mud all over his body. We passed by so fast I had no time to process what I just saw. Cue ten minutes of hyperventilation.
We finally reached around 10:30pm. The lit up city looked so inviting even at that late hour. The Wilson Hotel’s friendly staff welcomed us with cool pineapple juice and they kept the kitchen open a little longer just for us. Burmese food is no doubt delicious but at that point, I don’t think I’ve been happier to eat a Club Sandwich.
I got the best night’s sleep when my head finally hit the fluffy pillows.