Day 5: Burma to Hindustan

Location: Monwya
Time: 5.45am
Target: A cup of tea
Monywa, Burma

Monywa, Burma

Threw on my jacket over my pjs and went out on the streets to look for a cup of tea. Didn’t have to venture out too far when I spotted a bustling stall in the dark street. Tea was Indian style with lots of condensed milk minus the spices. ¾ less sugar than what was in there and it would have been my perfect cup of tea.

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Burmese Chai

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6.15am at a tea stall in Monywa

Fried pastries like samosas, filled bean pastry and a fish broth called Mowhinga are the breakfast staples in Burma. Didn’t have time for that. Showered and was on a moped on my way to the bus station (my bag, the driver, me and my backpack all on one moped. Yes.)

Frenzy in front of the ticket office looking for the foreigner. It was 7.27am. I wouldn’t call it late by Myanmar standards! Loaded and off we went.

45 minutes later the minivan pulled over with a puncture. And that was a sign. For the rest of the day. Overheated engines, more punctures…

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1st puncture of the day!

What is the maximum number of people you have seen throw up in period of continuous time? Five. So horrendous was the road up the mountains to Kalaymyo that I counted 5 people throwing up during the ride.

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Pit stop in the middle of nowhere

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Making every inch count.

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This is how you do it, Simone!

While yesterday’s ride was over the flat deltas, today was up into the mountains towards the Indian border. The slow climb went through Myanmar mountain village life.

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In this time of fast web check-ins, cheap air travel and our ability to get from one end of the globe to another in shortest possible time ever, there is a certain charm that beckons the traveler back to the roads. And it is only when you hit the road with your ipads and microchip credit cards that you realize how still uncharted the world is. In the far corners of countries, people still wait for buses that might not to run on a scheduled day, still fetch water from the village well and live without electricity and any sort of mobile network.

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Village school in Sagaing Division

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Fetching water by well in Sagaing Division, Burma

And that always makes me say a silent thank you in gratitude for all that I have.

14 torturous hours later and a handful of cranky people remaining, we arrived in Kalaymyo at 9.00pm at night. I got dropped off at a guesthouse in the town center.

4th tyre change of the day.

4th tyre change of the day.

Sometimes the best thing to say in an eatry is ‘you choose for me’. One look at my haggered, battered self and the large woman behind the counter got up and shouted something at the back. 5 minutes later the best bowl of vegetable soup, fried chicken and rice was in front me!

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Nothing like a good soup to smooth you travel wearies.

Small miracles.

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