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Published: September 25th 2013
I now have a travel companion - a woman I met in Yangon. This is desirable in Myanmar, as there are almost no hostels or dorm rooms - tourism has not developed to this point yet - so the only option for accommodation is guesthouses. Most guesthouses only offer double rooms, so if you travel alone your accommodation charges are double. It's also not the easiest place to travel - not dangerous, just chaotic - so it's nice to have company.
Pyay is pleasantly devoid of tourists at this time of year - we only saw one other Western couple in the time we were here. There is not a lot going on - it is a quiet university town sitting on the river, has a handful of restaurants, a small market and a small temple, but it is an enjoyable stopover on the long journey from Yangon to Bagan. After wandering around the town we spent the evening in a bar on the river front. At nighttime at this time of year there are always long lightening storms, and as this region of Myanmar is flat, the view is dramatic: every few seconds a flash of lightening illuminates the
sky, so the cloud patterns become momentarily visible, before pitch darkness returns.
Our bar had evening entertainment in the form of five female singers who came on in turn to sing in Burmese to a backing track. The younger singers wore Western-style stage clothing, miniskirts and glittery tops, a style of dress I have not seen before or since in Myanmar. Then the oldest woman came on and sang holding a giant teddy bear, for reasons that were not clear. We ordered something described on the menu simply as "cheese". Shortly after appeared a small saucer with a single slice of Dairylea and a heap of sugar next to it.
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