Hill Stations and Mad Dashes up Temples

Trip Start Nov 23, 2012
Trip End Dec 22, 2012

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Flag of Myanmar  , Mandalay,
Tuesday, November 27, 2012

08:14 I slept well last night, I def needed it, although there was an interuppution this morning when it appears last nights food didn't entirely agree with me, which makes sense as I didn't entirely agree with it!
08:50 We left at 8 as we are going to Pyin U Lwin hill station which is also known as Little England or city of flowers due to the amount of flowers growing around on the sides of the road etc. On the way there we came across flower sellers at a wholesale flower market, all with flowers tied to the backs of their scooters.
09:49 We stop at a little market half way up as in fact this is a cooling station- the smaller and larger buses open their engines and run cold water through them and over the radiators to cool them off ready for the next half of the trip.
10:38 On arriving in the city of flowers you can very quickly get the sense of the colonial English in some of the buildings. It's a lovely temperature here, maybe mid 20s.

We stopped at San Francisco restaurant which is in fact a Chinese restaurant, for a quick freshen break before being driven to town. We got a coffee, but were first presented with tea! The coffee had a skin of milk in it which we all proceeded to fish out with our spoons.
13:51 After a wander round a market where I bought a new cheap waterproof watch (due to my one from last year being hijacked by H!) for 4 we went for another pony ride in a carriage fit for for a 1700's aristocrat that took us around a few places before returning to the San francisco for lunch, which sadly was cold. Some nuns in pink came singing and were all handed some biscuits. As we left after lunch I hummed a bit and my prize was my own pack of biscuits!

Next stop was the botanical gardens which was a very pleasant walk as the temperature was just like an English summer.
15:13 On the go again back to Mandalay, a 2 hour drive ahead.
18:02 Towards sunset, we arrived back in Mandalay, at the bottom of a hill, quickly got into a songtheaw and accelerated up the hill, sometimes at speed, horn blowing at the sight of every pedestrian or vehicle, and usually accompanied by a plume of black smoke! Halfway up a vehicle a couple in front broke down and had to be pushed out of the way by its occupants- some other tourists, before we were off again, hurrying to catch the sunset. We arrived at the top and hurried off leaving our shoes behind on the van. We had 3 escalators up to the top view and found a very pretty view across Mandalay towards the sunset. Just lovely. After it went down and the crowds dispersed a few nearby monks came over to talk to us and practice their English, we were rewarded with a photo.
We found our group and I found I needed the loo. I have refrained from taking photos of toilets this trip as they are Asia style - porcelain squatters over a hole, I couldn't even attempt a photo in this place because it was entirely without light so I had I just pull the shorts down and hope for the best! I succeeded, and with the floor awash with water, and grateful (or not!) to be wearing a pair of communal (and filthy) flip flops into he darkness, I returned to my group. Seriously- bare feet is a horrible horrible idea especially when using such toilets and having to use a communal pair of flip flops! My feet are black and I'm very much looking forward to waging them. I'm happy with backpacking and being a little bit scruffy etc, I'm the last person to be described as precious...but you can really go off temples!
22:00 We went for a very nice meal at a Chinese restaurant with a few dishes on offer and fortunately none of them too too spicy as I wasn't entirely feeling my best. At this point it would be nice to have a meal that doesn't involve rice and where something arrives at the table steaming hot as so far it's been a bit tepid to cold. .
We returned to the hotel by 9 and with the promise of another very early start, I went to my room and spoke to H with a large sherry and Tomb Raider on tv whilst packing up for a 6am departure.

Best: walking round the park in Pyin
Worst: the darkest, wettest temple toilet ever!
Beautiful: sunset over Mandalay
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