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Published: March 13th 2011
The 4 of us caught the 10am bus to Kyaukme which had all the seats removed towards the back so it could carry cargo(large drums of oil, sacks of rice,etc). We reached the town an hour and a half later and quickly found accommodation, and then Aitan and myself went down to the train station to take some photos when the train came through. After this we just walked around the outskirts of town saying hi to the friendly locals. Kyaukme seems to be larger and more prosperous than the other towns in the area with a few nice looking large old buildings near the centre of town. That night we all went out to dinner together seeing that the other 3 were leaving the next day while I was going to do a day tour of the local area on the back of a motorbike.
Next morning I was picked up by Thura who although young has been a guide in this area for many years. I was just looking for a relaxing day going up to the mountains and visiting a few villages without doing too much walking. The first couple of hours we slowly climbed the mountains
and only passed a couple of villages on the way. The second village we visited was quite high up and strung along a ridge. As I was walking around a local asked me if I could take photos of her daughter in traditional dress. That was the start of it, I ended up taking photos of a lot of the locals in their best outfits so that Thura could print them out and bring them when he returned. I really enjoyed this experience and it felt good to do a little something for these lovely people. The last place we visited was a very small Nepalese village of about 6 houses set right on top of a mountain. There was no road up to this village, just a small track each side. They exist by growing vegetables and supplying milk and cheese to the larger Palong village below them. We were invited into one of the houses and offered tea. The house itself was very basic, just with dirt floors and a table in the living area. I can’t say enough how welcoming and generous the people from these mountain villages have been to me. I think when I look
back to my trip to Myanmar this is what I will remember most. We rode back while it was dusk and finally made it made it back to Kyaukme in the dark.
I was quite horrified when we got back to Thura’s place to download the pictures onto his computer and found out my memory stick and usb drive had a virus. All my photos were missing from both forms of media but I could still view them on my camera. I used an internet cafe once in Myanmar to put photos on my usb stick and this is what happened. Luckily when I got back to Bangkok I had the virus removed and recovered all my photos. Thura then took me and a friend of his to a local eatery on the edge of town for some great food and a few beers. A fitting end to another great day.
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