As the sun was going to leave this part of the world for a few hours i climbed up to the temple on the hill – and it was full of dogs.
Good night Kalaw – only 2 more hours till the bus… I told the woman i want to go with the new company – with the new bus – the good one! Well she put me in the bus from hell – so no sleep till Brooklyn and for sure no sleep till Mandalay. At the bus station in Mandalay I found a Trisha driver that pedaled me for 70 minutes to my guest house. Finally in the bed at 5.20 in the morning.
After the quite days hiking and at the Lake Inlay this was a culture shock. Cars, trucks, buses and everywhere noise noise noise – other than in Yangon where motorcycles are not allowed – here they try to catch up with Saigon and Hanoi. So I was not really pleased with the start of the 1st day here.
Good old Mrs. Show – when I was 1st here 10 years ago she was here as well 🙂
Hiking down to the lake we did cross the rails at the 1st day. Thinking the train takes that route up to Kalaw I decided to take it.
That includes getting up when the monks collect food in the very early morning. I went out of the hotel and a taxi dropped 2 guys at the hotel. Good – I took it to the train station. Saves the walk to the Tuck Tuck station, a cold ride in the open car, changing to another Tuck Tuck at the junction – and best of all – I have a lot of space instead of way to less. The car was an old English model build in 1960. Had a 6 in a line that sucked too much gas so they put a Toyota diesel in it and while doing so replaced the whole cockpit with the one from the Toyota as well. Nice ride – short distance and only flat – other than that this would be a nightmare, mind you, at 6 in the morning.
At the station I learned that the train is at 9 – WTF??? I was way to early. So I did search a spot in the warm rays of the rising sun and read. And waited and read some more and waited even more. Later I could get the ticket. This takes ages as they have to write down your whole passport for what ever reason. And than the old “I do not like this dollar note cause it was folded” game started. After that it was more waiting as the train is never on time. So lets inspect the other one.
This looks good – yellow plastic on top and the red down – like the manual said!
The train restaurant in place – ready to go!
After more than 90 minutes delay the train started the rails up to Kalaw – only to stop at every bamboo house on the way. At the stations you get all sorts of food.
You do not even have to leave your seat. They walk the train and are happy to serve you!
At noon we had a lunch break – like it was a bus! 45 minutes – so everybody can get something to eat. The train was inspected and here and there they fixed something. The guys on the roof check how much diesel is left.
Only 2 and 1/2 hours later as scheduled we arrived finally in Kalaw. 4 more hours till my bus leaves for Mandalay. Enough time for a tea and then a cold Tiger. After this train ride I shall never take the train in Myanmar again. Looks like I did not remember the ride a few years ago…
It is not allowed to cut trees anymore – and did you see a lot left on the pictures?? so now the people build stone houses. Looks not so nice – but much better for the environment. Good thing that they have everything they need in front of the villages. They shred the stone and mix it with water and chalk – leave it overnight and press it the next morning. Than they let it dry for a week or longer – voilà – ready to build walls.
We made it to the lake and go with the boat to the other end. That was a nice 2.5 days tour. Next time I might do this in 4 days to see some more…