Daily Average: 49 km
Days in the Country: 35
Days on the Bike: 24
Altitude covered: 6400m
Daily Average: 300m
Nights in Tent: 0
Nights in Houses: 33
Nights in Monasteries/Private Houses: 4
Breakdowns: 1 flat Tyre in the front
Daily costs: 12,50€
Mengelaba,the burmese word for Hello opens new worlds.i often pedal through the streets an greet everyone along. I harvest wonderful smiling Faces, obviously no one expects me to speak a word of their language.
If i risk another Phrase like „Ajada Kaundäh“ that means very tasty the people get crazy about me... Wonderful!
The Children are more sceptic about me, but if i start to wave the ice breaks up. The run to the street and wave shouting „Bye bye“ behind me...
Thanaka, a mix from Sandlewood and Water gives burmese Faces the special look. Protects from the Sun, against dry skin and additionally a very exotic Make-Up. Man and Women, everybody uses it and together with the red Soil it gives the Scenery a touch of Africa.
The Lighter which is attached tot he roof of the Restaurants so the people can light the cigarettes offered single and (as i could see it) for free. Sometimes when i choose the right table it´s right on top of me so the people can use the time while lighting the cigarette to inspect the foreigner...
You have to sleep in the Hotel in Myanmar. That is Annoying. There are just a few Hotels that have the permission to accept Foreigners. Sleeping in the Wild or in a Monastery is forbidden. I am traveling without a tent in the Moment so it is not that bad… The Accommodations are very expensive compared tot he other countries oft he region. On the other side they are much worser then elsewhere. Dirty Bathrooms extremely thin Matresses, dusty concrete floors... It is amazing how dirty a Hotel room can be. In the little Towns there is mostly one (or none) Hotel for Foreigners. So you are not able to choose and the owners know it. So take it or leave it and the motivation to improve the Hotel is around 0. Typically Asian.
I was totally happy that i had the chance to sleep in a Monastery or a privat house for a few times.
The first private Accommodation i paid with a lot of Pain. On a lose gravel road i lost the control about my bike and felt directly in front of a Scooter. Autsch! Was the first thing i thought as the Bike was on top of me. As they freed me i checked my bones and realized that everything was ok. I lost a lot of Skin on the road and so it was a challenge to reach the next village. There i was not allowed to stay but my bleeding body let the officials accept that there is no option for me to leave. So i was allowed to stay in the House of a famiily. Communication was hard work, after the translators left. But sometimes you don´t need a word and so we communicated with hands and feet... worked really proper.
The very basic House was occupied by five people, 2 Rooms a kitchen and a Latrine outside in the yard.
The next morning i took a 6 Hours boattrip to the next city. But even there i was not permitted to stay fort he night and so i had to cycle another 25km to reach a Place to stay fort he night. I realized that cycling is impossible the next days. So i took a 2 parted Bus ride to Mandalay and after taking a look at the City my Legs were able to flex again. So i cycled on to Bagan.
School in Myanmar is something you recognize from distance. Most oft he time it´s the only Stone oder Wood constructed Building in the village, but even more impressing ist he Sound that comes out o fit. The education is very classical and so all the children repeat or read a text together... Perfect lessons for lazy pupils (as i was one) to hide in the masses.
Someone told me that a train ride in Myanmar is a special experience and so i jumped on for an adventure. 42° in the Shadow took away my motivation for cycling and so i made this shortcut of almost 300km down to Yangon.
That it would be such an intense experience i didn´t imagine. That the train is sliding from left tot he right i knew from South America but here it also bumped up and down. Sometimes so hard that i jumped in my seat. When i felt asleep the Police wake me up to inform me that i am blocking the seat next to me with my Ebook-Reader. The Seat was empty fort he whole ride, but they took care oft he rules. A night ride without real sleep and so i reached Yangon after 8 hours in the morning.
Yangon (former known as Rangoon) ist he secret Capital that it was until a few years ago the Military Government decided to move it to a place in the geographic Centre oft he Country to build a totally new capital. I crossed it by bus and the only thing i could see was wide Alleys and Parks, nothing else, very strange.
But Yangon has Flair. One third oft he People are former indians that came with the British to the Country. So you can feel the touch of India, in the Kitchen but also in the Smell oft he little alleys in the Downtown...
By the Way Yangon has the holiest place for the burmese buddhists. The Shwedagon Pagoda ist he biggest Stupa oft he world covered with around 10 Tons of Gold and intensely worshipped by the people.
But on the Top oft he Hill is not much left at all. Myanmar is now on the List oft he Travel companies and also for them it is THE Stupa... So the worshipping is covered by hordes of Tourists (like me)... I left the Hill after a time and looked for more quiet places in town.
Case of Emergency in the Hostel: an elder Man got a low Bloodsugar, almost unconcisious and no one really knew what to do. So my medical education helped me and with some improvisation we later reached the biggest hospital in the city. Until know i avoided them on my trip... Here i get to knew a real local hospital. In the Emergency Rooms everything was real up to date (thanks to foreign Donations) but later we ended up in the patients sleeping rooms there were 33 Beds in one room. Hospital in Asia means just medical treatment. Not a Hotel like in Europe. So if you are thirsty a relative must help you, hungry? Same procedure... around every bed a bunch of people was sitting and lying around. So at the End around 150 People in the Room and just a few Nurses between them.
This really brings you down tot he Earth. We really live in Paradise in Europe while it is a really fight for your life when you get seriously ill down here. John the elder Man told me afterwards that it was peaceful mood in the room and the interaction was very lovely and full of respect. The two nights he stayed there were an unique experience...
Reunion with my Cycle-Buddy Michael. After his trip to Cambodia our tracks are crossing a last time before we definitely cycle in different directions. Very nice Night, we laught a lot, shares Stories from the road and enjoyed it to share time with a like-minded person.
The final stage tot he south oft he Country. I don´t like to cycle a road twice (on a little part i did not find an alternative path) so i decided to leave Myanmar at a border crossing more South near Dawei. Down here you realize that this Part was locked up for a long time. A lot of surprised Face along the Road. The Region is a little bit like Laos, up and down all the time... rolling Hills they call a landscape like this.
In Ye i felt the Heat again. Fatigue got me again and so i decided to take the train again. This time during the Daytime. The Slow train from Ye to Dawei connects all the villages on the way and so it took 10 hours for 160km, seems tob e a new record...
But it was never boring cause i had a deep view into the local kind of traveling. The Track mostly led us through deep Forest and wilderness that grows so near the Train that the leafs wipe you out through the windows (that could not be closed). I found two new little friends that decided to sleep in my bossom. So i gave them two toys i was carrying for a long time. A metal formula1-Car and a (fake) Kinder-Surprise (without Chocolate). Pure Happiness in their Eyes...
West of Dawei a Number of Beaches string together. One Paradise followed by another... So i stayed a few days in the Region to take a look and rebuild some energy to start my last stage at the moment that leads me to Bangkok...
As i crossed the Border after 35 Days i left one oft he most intense Countries of my Trip behind me. Here i realized what i was missing in Thailand. The Friendliness that comes from the Heart... unbelieveable how easy they start smiling. Even after all this Years of Dictatorship and Shortage it is amazing how they can smile at you...