Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mandalay

(PICTURE: Mandalay ran out of paint so they put this tree in the middle of the road to divide the lanes.)

Huyen and I arrived in Mandalay early in the morning which meant we had the whole day to check out the city. We immediately liked Mandalay a lot more than Yangon. The city was much quieter than Yangon. The streets were almost empty and lots of people were on bicycles. Huyen and I rented two bikes, grabbed a map and set off for a day of sightseeing...

Huyen and I got about 45 feet from our guest house when it started to drizzle. It would continue to rain throuhout the day. You might think this is a bad thing, but for a guy as sweaty as me it was a blessing in disguise. The rain was a nice change of pace...meaning other people besides me were covered in water too for once.

Our day consisted of visiting lots of famous pagodas and the Mandalay Royal Palace. Like most things in Mandalay the old places had been rebuilt in recent years.

(PICTURE: Read the sign.)

(PICTURE: That's me!!!!)


(PICTURE: Riding a bike inside the palace. They had no bike helmets. Luckily the traffic was light in the city.)

On the outside of the palace walls was a big sign that caught my interest. Unfortunately there were a bunch of military guys near the sign so I was very hesitant to take a picture up close. One of the things I had read about Myanmar was to never take pictures of police or military people. I didn't want to risk getting in trouble so I had Huyen pose quite far away from the sign...resulting in me not being able to get the whole sign in the picture. Basically the sign says (with ? placed on the letters I can't read): ?A?ADA AND THE PEOPLE, COOPERATE AND CRUSH ALL THOSE HARMING THE UNION.

(PICTURE: Trust me, you don't want to harm the union.)

Towards the end of the day, Huyen and I went to the most famous place in Mandalay -- Mandalay Hill.

(PICTURE: Huyen at the start of the stairs...before the rain.)



The hill overlooks the city and has grand views of the surrounding countryside....so we were told. When we got to the hill it proceeded to downpour. We figured it was raining so hard that it would stop by the time we got to the top. We figured wrong. 2,000+ steps and 45 slippery minutes later, thee view was no better:

video