Monday, November 21, 2016

Pyay to Magway

I happen to be writing to you this morning from Bangkok, Thailand, where I'm spending my 'weekend' on a visa run. I'm not shooting any video or taking many pictures here in the Big Mango, as I'm still not done relating the story of my recent 4-day motorcycle trip around Myanmar. 


Donating to the roadside charity collectors is good insurance.
Good karma for the road.
On my second day, I headed north out of Pyay, along the Ayeyarwaddy River. The early morning air was crisp and a fog had settled into the river valley. Traffic was light and the road was smooth. Perfect day for motoring. 

This isn't traffic, it's a parade! 



 Eventually, the road turned inland and up onto a plateau. One thing that frequently surprised me during my travels through what could be considered to be the heartland of Myanmar was how unpopulated vast areas of this country are. I'd go mile upon mile not seeing anyone. No villages or agriculture. Just empty land. 

Other things surprised me that day, like when I got passed on the road by a dozen or so 'big bikes'. People don't drive fast here; my little 125cc motorbike was usually the fastest thing out there. I was quite shocked to see these big 500cc Japanese motorcycles go zooming by me. They were obviously some touring group, but I couldn't tell more than that until I eventually caught up with them. 

Not only were they touring Myanmar on motorcycles, they were all foreigners. A bunch of silver-haired Germans and Swiss.  

I could imagine the reaction they generated when they pulled up en masse on some tea shop in a little village somewhere. It would be like aliens had landed. 

As I've mentioned before, seeing foreigners out on the roads of Myanmar is not a usual sight for the population here. Our very presence brings with it mouth dropping awe, and usually really big smiles, like with this girl at a gas station. She grinned from ear to ear the entire time I was filling my tank.  




Magway ended up being a nice little city. Clean, not too crowded, scenic riverfront and it had some amenities. Stayed at a really friendly hotel there. I only stopped there because it was the next place on the map, but I'm glad I did. 

Enjoy the video.


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