We trundled along the less than perfect roads of Mandalay and through the suburbs until we met a lush productive emerald green rural landscape. Progress was slow as Oxon and cart often blocked our impatient drivers path. He managed not to shorten the life of a puppy which waddled in front of us and also evade a stricken lorry which had been carrying bricks but not any more!
We stopped at the “service station” for green tea and size 5 dumplings stuffed with minced chicken and no shortage of bones before leaving the flat landscape to saunter into the hills. We were heading for Kalaw a hill town were the British used to was ape the Mandalay heat, it’s around 7 hours by bus. As we climbed we were greeted at every corner by young kids chanting “mingalayba” (hello) and performing an array of gymnastics. A lot of the hillsides suffered from deforestation, teak is a valuable commodity here. sadly the teak was not being replaced for like but by banana plantations. As the road steeped it twisted serpent like aka the road down to Monte Carlo. On reaching outré destination we deposited our luggage at the Dream Villa and flaneured around the town. It was like like emerging from the tardis, a throwback to a bygone era. A large central market was closing for the day and will be a destination this morning. The betal chewers seemed to spit in greater profusion than other places we’ve visited and the characters faces seemed much more weathered. A mother tended to her 5 pups who were living in an open sewer pipe and another dog sat atop a butchers block!