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    Tropical Punch Tour: Myanmar Part 6

    Monday, August 16, 2010
    Mandalay, Myanmar

    I'm stumped about what kind of caption to write for this photo. Mandalay Palace moat, Myanmar.

    Dive on in, the water's fine! Mandalay Palace moat, Myanmar.

    The pause that refreshes on Mandalay Hill, Myanmar.

    Take the escalator up and the elevator down from the tip top of  Mandalay Hill, Myanmar.

    I was kind of tired and still feeling the effects of my stomach bug when I woke up, which tempted me to sleep in all day again. But, no, just for fun, I had to venture outside into the hot, hostile reality of Mandalay and its dirty, chaotic streets. I’m a glutton for punishment. I rented a bicycle and pedaled halfway around a giant moat that surrounds Mandalay Palace, which is at least one and a quarter miles long on each side. Designed with the worst geometry ever, this bike was way more inefficient and difficult to pedal than a beach cruiser. Thanks to that and the fact that it only had one gear, when I reached the foot of Mandalay Hill, I had to push it up the steep, winding road to the top–an elevation gain of roughly 700 feet above the city. It was so incredibly hot and humid, my clothes were completely saturated with sweat and I had to stop and rest two or three times!

    A Buddhist shrine gets fancy on top of Mandalay Hill, Myanmar.

    A view of the city from Mandalay Hill, Myanmar.

    A Buddhist shrine on top of Mandalay Hill, Myanmar.

    A Buddhist shrine on top of Mandalay Hill, Myanmar.

    Put a little spring in your step! Mandalay, Myanmar.

    At the tip top, high up above the obligatory souvenir, snack and drink stalls stood a nice Buddha shrine / observation deck that offered a great view of the whole city, the Ayeyarwady river, and the Shan hills to the East. That and a refreshing breeze—a rare occurrence in Southeast Asia—made me want to hang around for a while, but I had to get the bike back on time. As I made my way down the tight hairpin turns, the brakes squealed with delight, I mean torture. I stared with surprise and envy at several locals who pedaled up the hill on nice mountain bikes—one guy even had a shiny new Trek. I would have happily traded my gut bug to cruise around town on that thing!

    Roll over photos for captions.
    All words and photos ©2010 Arcane Candy.

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