Friday, January 1, 2016

Kalaw to Nyaungshwe: Myanmar Mototcycle Journey 3

Your humble blogger
I'm learning to drive like a Myanmar person. There are certain behaviors on the road that used to baffle and sometimes infuriate me regarding how people drive here. Now, I've come to accept and expect them.

For example, when a driver is entering traffic from a perpendicular side street on your right onto the road you're on, they never, ever look left to see oncoming traffic; they just make a right onto your road without even considering who might be barreling along into their path. It used to bug me a lot. Now, when I see someone approaching the highway I'm on from the right, I just assume they're going to pull on without looking and I adjust accordingly. Heck, even I'm starting to do it! I just pull onto the road as I've got the right-of-way, no thoughts as to what's coming down the road.

This is why Asians have gotten the reputation for being such bad drivers back in the West. In actuality, they just play by a different set of rules.

It was Christmas Eve morning as I set out from Kalaw to Nyaungshwe, the principal town on the shores of the famous Inle Lake. My memories of Kalaw will be that of being very, very cold. Sure, it was only 50-something Fahrenheit, but it was like a San Francisco cold: bone chilling. Pretty town. I'd like to go back there in April in the heat of Myanmar's summer. As the trip to Inle was a short one, the shortest of the whole trip, I took a sidetrip down Myanmay Hwy 54 and found yet another amazing cave with lots of Buddha
Go that way!
images. This cave was much more impressive geologically, if not religiously than the similar cave I had visited in Kalaw.
These wooden bridges are troublesome too
The road out of Kalaw was fine. Well paved and not too much traffic. Thing is though, it was mostly downhill. I suppose it's the same for a car, but as any motorcycle rider who's driven through mountains knows, it's far easier and fun to go uphill than downhill. When going uphill, you can accelerate into the turns, power though them; there's no question of going too fast. When going downhill, it's a mix of downshifting and braking, all the while holding yourself back from the handlebars. It's tough. So, the small 60 km jaunt I talk about was a little harder than I'd thought it would be.

When I got to Inle, I got in a dust up with some guys demanding an 'entrance fee' because I was a foreigner. I didn't get it on video, but I do rant about it in the voice over.

A couple hours after I got Nyaungshwe, so did my friend Dean, who traveled there from Nay Pyi Taw just to hang out with me.

Enjoy the video.

Road Report:
Distance: 60 km
Travel time: 2 hours (not including sight-seeing detours)
Road Conditions (see the key): Good 60%; Fair 40%

1 comment:

  1. I must admit, I truly enjoy your videos, and your music. :) Happy New Year! Blessings, Lynn


Discovering Northwest Myanmar 16: Kataung to Mandalay

I call them "Burmese Doughnuts". They've got another name, but essentially, it's fried bread. The three-week adventur...