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Published: October 22nd 2017
A loudspeaker hails from the vehicle advertising and people wave him down to buy
This morning I was up by 5:30 to see my first Burmese sunrise, like sunset last night it was a bit disappointing but hey, there is more to life than seeing the start and end of a day.
It is now noon and I will shortly be collected for a tour of the historical area south of here.
After an early breakfast I left the hotel around 7:30 heading east as I thought, huh, a block later I realized it was the other way. Lucky I checked the phone map. I also remembered to map my walk and am proud to report that I covered 3.88km in 1 hour 17 minutes taking lots of photos and rejecting possibly more rides on taxi motorbikes. This in sun and temperatures above 30C.
My goal for the morning was to see the Pagoda of Ein Daw Yar to the west of the palace, mentioned by many travel guides. Having decided to walk there I had cameras at the ready. The streets here feel very safe so there is no tension in trying to stay aware of who is around you with bad intentions to snatch belongings but you have to be constantly alert for
Motorbike oil -
sold in recycled water bottles
traffic as pavements are dodgy and walking in the roads safer.
My route took me down to the Mandalay station on 28th Street (easy to see on Google maps). To cross the railway the road curves up under the hotel building over the station itself. You buy tickets and enter the station or continue down the ramp on the other side. People live and sell goods such as watches from shacks beside the fence.
It was a long straight walk on 29th till Ein Daw Yar lined with all kinds of businesses from nail bars to clinics, warehouses and stalls, a fire station. Coming to Kaitan market I joined throngs of people, took loads of photos and got lost! The market itself was a bustle of business and si,ilar to so many I have experienced in Asia, albeit 30+ years ago. It is still a marvel to me that there is so much food and that these traders make a living out of selling it.
By the time I realized, I had passed the Pagoda and found my way in from the back.
I exited the opposite side assuming I'd find somewhere to snack and a taxi back. Neither was
successful as only motorbike taxis offer rides. I met an English couple having the same problem and they eventually climbed into a tuk tuk. The next bike taxi guy said he had a car and wanted k5000, more than 3 times the cost in Yangon. I finally agreed to pay 3000 for the 5 minute tuk tuk trip and sat in front. At £1.80 that is cheap to us but compared to what I am paying for other things here, a lot. When I mentioned it to Chan (guide), she explained that most people have motorbikes rather than cars and that Mandalay does not really have a taxi or bus service, only for foreigners. The tuk tuk is hired by older ladies to carry the shopping home.
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