We spent 3 nights in Mandalay and during the days we went to Mingun, Sagaing and Amarapura
. Mingun was the first place where we were really stung by hawkers. We must have had about 10 kids around us and would be guides. Everybody was desparate for our money. Angie is a very warm person and ended up handing out $15 to ungrateful kids looking for more. After this day we hardened up a bit and we I agreed that I should carry the money from this point on. After this we were pretty tough on hawkers. We even let (repeatedly telling them that we will not buy anything) 2 kids follow us all the way across Ubiens bridge, wait for us while we had rice and drank super coffee mix and then follow us all the way back. They got nothing. The hawkers are really annoying here but they are just kids at the end of the day and there is no point getting upset with them. It is impossible to get rid of them though especially with so few foreigners to pawn them off on.
It was a really long drive from Inle lake to Mandalay. The road is terrible and we seen many trucks and buses breakdown along the way. Eventually we got to Mandalay that evening. Our driver doesn't like Mandalay, too many motorbikes he says. Motorbikes are not allowed in Yangon incidently, only govermnent people can use them there and I have no idea why. On first impressions, Mandalay seems nicer than Yangon but after a few days you realise that it is a bit of a hole. Electricity is cut off all the time and many places have to rely on a generator. There is little street lighting and the streets and footpaths are in bits. You have cars, bikes, motorbikes and people milling about every where. The trishaw drivers are much more persistant and annoying than in Yangon. They all explain that there are no foreigners, business is down and they have no money for their family.