A 4am start(!) to catch our bus back to Mandalay. Both feeling the strain slightly from all the early starts, Jayne was fairing better than me which is probably a good thing since she also got the brunt of my bad mood!!! The hotel guy had called the bus company yesterday to organise a pick-up, even though we said we didn’t really need it. He didn’t turn up anyway so after waiting for 5 minutes we walked the 5 minutes to the bus stand and got on the coach. A fairly uneventful 6 hour bus journey – I drifted in and out of consciousness whilst Jayne entertained herself with the Burmese film playing on the TV. Another woeful story of love and violence with some pretty graphic and violent scenes of torture (so I’m told!!). Stopped around 10am for some food. It was obvious how tired we both were when we foregoed the hassle of trying to order food with no Burmese from us or English from the waiting staff. Opted instead to head to the shop opposite and using one of the only phrases we know how to pronounce properly (how much is it?), we got a pack of cinnamon rolls and a couple of bottles of lychee max. Back on the bus, we watched some ‘Friends’ episodes to block out the noise from the Burmese music videos now playing on the TV – you can see that we are both very, VERY tired!!! Arrived in Mandalay and were descended upon in the bus station for taxis. Baring in mind there are two of us, with backpacks, we kept saying no to motorbike taxis only to be repeatedly brought to a motorbike taxi!! Walked outside the station and managed, with the help of our pen and pad, to negotiate a pick up truck to drive us to the hotel. Checked in and decided to stay there for the afternoon since I was still in a foul mood!! I slept for a bit whilst Jayne pottered around on the internet. She made a last minute decision to enter two of her photos into the National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year – one step closer to fulfilling her dream of having one of her photos on the cover of the NG magazine. She uploading two photos – the tiger from the Sunderbans in India and a bird from the Sinharaja rainforest in Sri Lanka. I was woken up to be told that people were already liking her photos! Headed back to ‘Super 81’ for an early dinner (the same restaurant we went to when we saw the ‘Moustache Brothers’) much to the delight of the head waiter whom, Jayne thinks, has a bit of a crush on me. I laughed it off until he brought Jaynes dinner out on a round plate and mine on a heart shaped one… A few beers and lots of avoiding eye contact later and we were back at the hotel to plan our next few days.
Thursday 26th May 2016