April 29, 2017Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar
|Pyin Oo Lwin Gardens|
Our hotel in Mandalay, the Bagan King, arranged for a shared taxi to pick us up late Saturday morning, for around $4 per person. We picked up our fellow passengers, a young mother and her very well-behaved baby, on the eastern outskirts of the city, giving me another opportunity to use some of my only Burmese – hkyac ca ya le (“cute”, pronounced "chess ee yah lee").
|They were much friendlier than they appear|
Arriving in Pyin Oo Lwin in early afternoon and checking into the colonial era Kandawgyi Hill Resort, we knew we'd have to get right to it, having only a half day to explore. The power went out almost immediately after we got to our room. In many parts of Myanmar, the nicer hotels like those us foreigners stay in all have generators, but won't turn them on until dusk to save on diesel.
|The somewhat historic Kandawgyi Hill Inn|
We didn't linger in our dim room for long, arranging for a horse and buggy "taxi" that the town is renowned for to pick us up and give us an hour long tour. Our driver and his young assistant were not the friendliest of Burmese that we'd encountered thus far, but knew the motions to go through and which sites we'd need to stop, get out, and photograph during the ride.
|Our sweet ride|
First stop, though, was the betel nut stand, where the driver had his assistant run across the street to fetch him his fix.
|Gentlemen's betel nut - recommended by 9 out of 10 dentists!|
We rode by some historic homes, schools, and churches, with the coach occasionally stopping so the assistant could jump down and open our door, where we felt obliged to show interest and take photos at each site (some more interesting than others, at least one of which we couldn't even determine what the site was/why we were there). The highlight of our tour was our stop at Candacraig - the now-abandoned colonial era British club built in 1904. Apparently it's undergoing renovations to become a luxury hotel, but we saw no sign of construction.
|Everybody, look at the camera!|
|Heading to the gardens - watch where you step; apparently dinosaurs pass through this way|
|Pyin Oo Lwin Gardens|
|Let's get our photo shoot on!|
|Taking photos of the giant bamboo, while Caroline stalks the takins to the right|
|We heart takins|
|Barbwire sunsets of Myanmar|
|Gem ah bah zee! (Bad phonetic spelling of cheers!)|
|Our new bartender friends at the Pyin Oo Lwin Hotel|