Mawlamyine – day 240

By some miracle, we actually got to Mawlamyine 4 hours ahead of our expected arrival time. Unfortunately, it was 4:30am that we were being shaken awake by the bus conductor to get off the bus with all the other bleary eyed passengers. I was faring better than Jayne having, for the first time ever, managed to get some sleep on the bus! Jayne had gotten about 2 hours sleep to my 4. Clearly a touristy town, the locals were abandoned as we were surrounded by taxi drivers all desperate for our fare. However, having been on a bus for over 8 hours, our hotel being less than 3kms away and knowing full well we wouldn’t be able to check in anytime soon, we had decided to walk. As the day began to break and the sky began to get lighter, we were walking past pagodas and colonial houses until we began following the river into town. The very nice man at the hotel gave us the wifi code and told us to sit in the lobby for as long as we wanted… Baring mind it is now 6am and check in isn’t until 14:00! Had a little picnic breakfast in the lobby before heading out at 7:00 to do the recommended Lonely Planet walking tour. We started at a quaint garden with some cute topiary bushes, watching old local men do some (rather ineffective) exercises!! Continued walking down the road, watching the Buddhist monks collect their rice offerings from residents and shop owners. Walking down backstreets, looking at the colonial architecture before stumbling across St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Vividly painted in bright colours, the church was founded in 1829 by the De La Salle brothers. After looking at the gaudy bright interior, we headed up the road to the overgrown graveyard. Absolutely deserted and unkept, the head stones, many with English names, dated back to the mid-19th century. We were walking towards the Kyaikthanlan Paya when we found a shop making dosa’s… Row upon row of heated cast iron plates with a constant stream of men spreading mixture onto them as others peeled them off once they had cooked with a single man at the end of the rows mixing up more batter using a giant machine.TTMMcfpaTTMMcfpbTTMMcfpcTTMMcfpdStarted walking up the covered walkway, dodging dog poo and rubbish in our bare feet (as footwear is prohibited). The panoramic views at the top of the temple made the steps worth while, especially as we saw the Mawlamyine prison – built in 1908 and believerd to be the setting for George Orwell’s short story ‘A Hanging’. Visited the other pagodas in the temple complex, walking towards the Mahamuni Paya, the largest temple complex in the town. The main chamber in the temple resembled a massive disco ball – the room shimmered with mirrors, rubies and diamonds.TTMMcfpfTTMMcfpgContinued walking around the town, walking past the Surtee Sunni Jamae Masjid (a mosque built in 1846 to serve the Muslim officers and civil servants of British Burma) before walking through a local market on our way back to the river front. Stopped for an early lunch in a riverside cafe where the proceeds go to helping the elderly citizens of Mawlamyine. Headed back to the hotel to check in and work out what we were going to do for the rest of the day. Turns out, everything worth visiting in Mawlamyine we had already done before midday.TTMMcfpeTTMMcfphTTMMcfpiThe other site suggestions were way out of town, not always accessible during monsoon season and required renting a car… Decided that, since we didn’t have the money or inclination to rent a car to visit more Buddhist temples, we would spend the afternoon relaxing with the amazing view of the river from our bedroom window. The rest of the day was spent watching crap films of the TV, eating junk food and generally lounging around in our pyjamas. We ever ordered room service for dinner so we didn’t have to get dressed!! Watched the sun set as a drone was being flown around on the footpath just outside our hotel, scaring the living day lights out of the locals on motorbikes.TTMMcfpjFriday 3rd June 2016


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