Kalaymyo to Tamu 136km
I was ready to arrange a bus ride to Tamu. No way was I going to put myself through the pain of the last two days. Even though it's only 120km to Tamu ( reportedly), my body will not stand another thrashing, especially if it's anything like yesterday's 120km . But no. I'm told it's 120km of some of the best road in Myanmar, and I have two days......
So I start riding. And it is very pleasant. Initially I pass through a bunch of military bases, and then through many small tidy villages. And the road is really good. Except the bridges, and there's lots of them, are thrown together Bailey bridges, as seen at road construction sites in NZ. Except these ones have lots of gaps. Which pose no problems for trucks, cars with big wheels, and my 29ers, but I'm concerned about my trailer with its 20inch wheel, and decide I better check it's on tight at my next stop, and then forget.
This area is the first in Myanmar where I've seen Christian church's. I even meet a Rev. commuting between parishes. There is a different feel about the valley. At noon, there are hymns being sung. A young Christian lad comes and chats with me, and tells me he will pray for the success of my adventure. Another young mother tells me, that three generations ago, her grandparents and the like, moved here from India, bringing the Christianity, and the English language. Most of the young did not bother retaining the English and learnt Burmese.
The day draws on. As usual it's hot. At 110km the undulations start...bother....not big, but it's the wrong time of the day. At 120km, crossing a bridge,looking ahead in the hope of seeing the elusive Tamu, and the bridge rips off the trailer wheel. It falls down into a canyon, and lands on the edge of the river. Bother. It's retrievable, but it's a climb. Double bother.
There's a wind now, and the scrub on my left, towards India, is burning. 100m in front of me I see it jump the road. Oh my goodness. That gets the adrenalin pumping. Everyone else just calmly rides on by.....nothing unusual here.....
Police check at 130km. Tamu is 5km away. Yeha. I'm shattered. There's a big difference between 120km and 135km when you're on a bike.
I find my man, for immigration, at his guesthouse, and he sorts me for a border crossing tomorrow, but he's got no beds available. Damn. By the time I've got a room, I'm exhausted, again, and it's on the second floor. I nap. I shower. I sleep again. I shuffle downstairs and across the road for some Indian, which I struggle to eat, I'm too tired. I drag myself up the stairs one last time, but my adventure isn't over. My key won't open the door. I collapse on the floor and fight the door lock. I win, eventually, and summon enough energy to drag myself to the bed......sleeeeep .
Lasting Impressions of Myanmar
Long hot hard days of cycling
Mae Sot hill was a winner
Yagyi to Kalaymyo Road was a killer
The lovely people, the smiles, the warmth.
Ben and the folk at Myanmar International School
The pain of Permits, Permissions and Prohibited areas. (you've got to wonder what they're hiding)
Don't come to Myanmar for the scenery, come for the people
The amazing work being done by folk like Eric and Therese
The rubbish and the smokey haze....everywhere
The obvious gigantic chasm between rich and poor
The huge temples
The scooter rides past, the lady on the back turns to look at you again, a wave and a smile from me results in a beaming grin from her.....what her man don't see she don't have to explain.
Burmese distances are measured in miles and furlong. Hence 1 mile 3 furlong to my village. There are eight furlong in a mile. A mile is 1600m, therefore a furlong, as in horse racing, is 200m.