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    Tropical Heat Tour: Myanmar Part 3

    Sunday, August 26, 2012
Mandalay, Myanmar

    Three Buddhist monks shlep by in front of the Royal Guest House to collect their morning alms in Mandalay, Myanmar.

    Around 5:30 am, the bus driver cranked on some music to signal that we had entered Mandalay. Luckily, he didn’t play a bunch of bad Burmese power ballads for the whole final hour, like the last time I made this trek. After we pulled into the dusty, chaotic bus terminal, I climbed into the bed of a little pick-up truck with a couple of French-accented tourists and got shaken into town across the city’s many bumpy streets. We were just in time to see all of the Buddhist monks making their morning rounds to collect alms (free gifts of food and money from locals), and I shot some frenetic-looking video clips of them from a vantage point looking out the back tailgate on the way. A few more walked by out in front of the Royal Guest House, and I got a couple of good photos.

    After a short while, the receptionist told the two tourists I got a ride with that their room had just been cleaned and was ready, even though they hadn’t made a reservation. Then, about an hour later, I was still sitting in the lobby and asked if my room would be ready soon, and was informed that someone was sleeping in it, and that check out time was not until noon. Why didn’t they tell me that to begin with? I just ended up getting another room. It was a tiny little hotbox, so I just cranked on the fan and fell asleep right under it. Luckily, construction work on a new apartment building right next door has stopped for the next couple of weeks, so I got to snooze all day noise-free.

    I finally woke up around 5:00 pm, and by the time I made it outside, it was dusk. Instead of heading up to Taungbyone for the Nat Pwe, I decided to just hang around the neighborhood and get some rest. I walked a couple of blocks over to Min Min cafe, a funky little place that serves Chinese and Thai food, where I got a big plate full of sweet and sour veggies that was actually pretty good, and unusually free of the odd taste that afflicts a lot of food in this country. Equally importantly, Min Min is one of very few places around with Wi-Fi, but it’s painfully slow just like all internet is in Myanmar. I could upload text just fine, but photos were another story. It takes several times longer to upload them here than in a country with a fast connection. So, I may not be able to post as many photos as I’d like. I only wanted to post one of the three I took today anyway.

    Roll over photos for captions.
    Words and photos ©2012 Arcane Candy.

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