|All Aboard the Hsipaw (not so) Express!
|Pyin Oo Lwin Rail Station
|Watch it sway! There would be much more sliding around on the wooden bench seats
|Ordinary class - roomy, but less comfortable seats
|If you need to go while you wait, make sure you head to your assigned rest room
|Waiting on the train
The six-hour journey is split roughly in half by the Gokteik viaduct. During the first three hours or so, we passed mostly through peaceful and beautiful pastoral settings. It was fascinating to see the rather primitive farms and houses we passed by. Houses with no electricity or running water, with kids pulling buckets of water up from old-fashioned style stone wells. Farmers using ox-driven ploughs, as most of the farms we passed appeared to have no machinery whatsoever. The whole scene may have looked exactly the same 100 years earlier.
When not passing through wide open agricultural land, we occasionally passed through some pretty tight areas of vegetation, and even cliffs. If you must hang your head out the window, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for rock walls! Later in the trip, the savvy local travelers closed the roll-down metal shutters over their windows to prevent getting smacked in the face by branches.
Despite the swaying of the train (or due to it?), Caroline found herself able to nap several times along the way. I occupied myself writing blog posts about Yangon, and having a few beers bought from the trackside vendors and those who hopped on for a few stops to sell drinks and snacks up and down the aisles.
|The countryside, just after leaving Pyin Oo Lwin
|Several types of two-wheelers
|Our hats, trying to look all "old-timey" too
|Happy to be riding the rails
|Wetwun - the first of the few stops along the way to Gokteik
|Vendors come scrambling out as the train comes to a stop at Wetwun
Since we're talking about drinking beer, let's talk toilets. Yes, there was indeed a western style (i.e. non-squatter) toilet in our car. It did not seem to have any lights, barring the light seeping in through the cracks in the door and through the "plumbing" below. And by plumbing, I mean open hole to the tracks.
|No - that's not a passageway to an alternate dimension. Those are the tracks below, and one more reason not to walk on the railway tracks
|Approaching the Gokteik Viaduct
|A brief stop at the Gokteik station before heading over the bridge
|Scott and the Gokteik
|Bridge, don't fail me now
|Don't look down, kiddos
|Seems sound to me
|We weren't the only tourists snapping away
|Looking backward after the crossing
|Caroline, enjoying her upper class seat, during a session of consciousness, while the row in front of us passed tiffins of food back and forth
|Quite a variety of eats at this stop
|Nearly three weeks into the trip, and Caroline finally gets in on the Myanmar beer action!
|Colorful Myanmar scenery
|One of the many oxen tied to a swiveling, counterweighted bamboo pole, enjoying her own lunch
|More picturesque landscapes of Myanmar