14 January 2009

The road (train) to Mandalay

The train journey to Mandalay took about sixteen and a half hours to
cover the 647km from Yangon. Unfortunately we couldn't get a sleeper
car so had to settle for what's called an upper class seat. Unlike the
trains back home there was acres of leg room and a reclining seat,
which made going to sleep very easy.

I think that we may have said before that traveling by train in this
part of the world is usually an interesting experience and a good way
to see the country side and meet the locals. It always seems much more
civilised than catching the train back in the UK. Everyone's far more
friendly, more polite and considerate, there's more room and the big
plus is there's no chav scum with their phones playing R&B at full
volume! It's actually slower on the train than going by bus, but the
train is far more comfortable, more spacious and has the luxury of a
toilet and dining car.

We arrived in Mandalay at half four in the morning and had to fight
our way out of the station through an army of tri-shaw drivers, one of
which Liz was on the verge of punching (they obviously had not heard
about her not being a morning person!) and made the five minute walk
through the pre-dawn deserted town to our accommodation, the Royal
Guesthouse. The rooms here are fairly basic but it's very clean and we
have the added luxury of a rooftop terrace.

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