Thursday, September 27, 2007

Myanmar, Part II

After seeing Kyaiktiyo, we went back to Yangon, then caught a 15-hour train up to Mandalay, arriving at 4am. In Mandalay, we had some our most amazing meals. At one Burmese restaurant, when we sat down, 10 waiters immediately swarmed around our table, dropping off about 15 bowls of condiments. We got rice before we even had a chance to order, and when we did order, our curries came out in just a few minutes. As we ate, anything that ran out was immediately refilled---if there was a limit, we certainly didn't run into it! And at the end, the food cost just 2000 kyat each, or about $1.50. Completely amazing.

Mandalay is also home to "chapati corner," where three of us went one night for a dinner of chapati and curries. And then one morning, eight of us skipped our western hotel breakfast and went out for roti. These meals were delicious, and each one cost less than $2. Total. For everyone at the table!

In Mandalay, we went into a marionette store that made for a nice photo:

Near Mandalay, in the British hill station of Pyin U Lwin, we visited the Kandawgyi Botanic Gardens, which was created by the British and was apparently modelled after Kew Gardens. It's been maintained surprisingly well since the British left. Some readers might be excited to note that they claim to have slow lorises (although I never saw any):

Also, they have an elephant, which Daina rode with the two Austrian girls in our group (Irene and Julia):

Near Mandalay, we also visited U Bein, the longest teak bridge in the world, where Daina was accosted by vendors:


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