Down & Out in Pyin Oo Lwin

Trip Start Dec 28, 2011
Trip End Jan 19, 2012

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Where I stayed
Grace Hotel 1

Flag of Myanmar  , Mandalay,
Monday, January 9, 2012

Dust in the Air
Heading up to Pyin Oo Lwin in a shared taxi for 6500 kyats. Would have gotten there earlier if not for the taxi's constant breakdowns. It took 3 hours running through smog and dust of Mandalay-Lashio highway. (Then I had a whole paragraph whinging about dust on Mandalay's roads which I am not going post here.)

On the second half of the journey when the taxi was running at its peak, we raced to Pyin Oo Lwin like nobody's business. Checked in at Grace Hotel 1 at 1230pm for US$15 (damp mouldy room but there was hot shower and TV with 4 channels) and headed straight out to town for lunch.

Down & Out
Location of Grace Hotel 1 was a big setback - too far away from the town's main eateries. By the time I had lunch at a rather expensive Indian cafe with a modern makeover, I was already feeling wonky under the hot sun. The combo hit of chilly nights, sweltering hot days and dusty air finally took its toll. Staggered back to room and knocked out from 2-6pm after knocking back some paracetamols. 

The thought of walking back to town for dinner failed to whet any appetites. Instead I took a punt and swung around the corner (actually quite a distance to walk in the dark) to the swanky Club Terrace for a proper restaurant meal of Thai Pork Curry and Pineapple Juice. At 5100 kyats (about US$7), certainly the most I had spent on a meal in Myanmar so far. The restaurant was a joy to dine in with indoor  and outdoor setting. Ambience was chilled out with classic tunes on saxophones.

Burmese Celebrity
Then a few local dinners arrived and I saw someone that I never thought I would meet. Let me begin again...On my overnight bus trip from Yangon to Shwenyaung, I watched this local drama movie featuring two of Myanmar's most famous celebrities. I remember it well because of the film's one music soundtrack which it kept repeating it at all of its pivotal scenes, annoying the hell of me, especially when I sat directly under the speakers and they had it real loud. So I watched. 

And so this very same actor walked into Club Terrace with his friends for dinner! I blinked twice but later confirmed with the restaurant staff that it was indeed him. They said he is Myanmar's most famous - Pedi Oo (that was how they pronounced his name to me anyway). I was hoping the lead actress would come too.

By the way, Pyin Oo Lwin so far was the hardest to pronounce. I have yet to pronounce it right....
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