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Burma Journal: The Road To Mandalay


Burma Journal; The Road To Mandalay

2006 by Richard W. Wise

Day one:

I Arrived in Yangon on Tuesday, March 1st. My old friend Lwin
(pronounced Lu-win) my guide during my last trip met me at the
airport. Checked into an old hotel in the old part of downtown
Rangoon. (I am having trouble using the new terminology, Burma will
always be Burma and I prefer Rangoon to the newly minted “Yangon.”)
The hotel is an old one with its dusty corridors, polished teak
floors, squeaking ceiling fan and wide shutters it thrusts me back
into my daydreams of old Burma.

My plan for a second visit to the ruby mining town of Mogok in the
famous “Valley of the Serpents” has been derailed. The valley has,
once again, been closed to westerners. The army has screwed the lid
down tight. Lwin’s old friend the general, from whom we got a pass
last time, has been put in jail. Oh well, I only traveled twenty-five
thousand miles to get here. Lwin has a n alternate plan. He suggests
that we travel to Mandalay by car. Mandalay is only about six hours
from Mogok. Lwin will contact the miners who will meet us in
Mandalay. Meanwhile I’ll get to tour the country.

We will take it easy and do the trip in three stages… The first
day we will drive two hundred miles upcountry and stop in a small
town at a hotel that Lwin knows well. The second stage, another five
or six hours by car, will bring us to the ancient temple city of
Pagan (Bagan). We will visit and photograph a few of the major
pagodas, stay overnight, and travel the short leg to Mandalay the
next morning. The more I chew over this suggestion the better I like
it. It’s a chance to see the countryside. After a hectic week in
Bangkok I can use a break. Read on; Visit my blog; GemWise:

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