We were up at 5.00am, bike packed……although some clothing we still damp so we bagged it up……breakfast at 6.00am in the Inle Apex out the door and on road by 7.00am. It was already raining …..guess my off bike “landals” (they are really just a pair of Keen Sandals but I call mine Landles (ladies sandals) and Vince calls his Mandals (man sandals) …….just to entertain ourselves!) were not going to dry off strapped between my dry bag and pack safe mesh as I rode along afterall!
After getting fuel we found ourselves coming back the way we had been previously, over the mountains, we were engulfed by the cloud and mist and along parts of the road it enshrouded us so we could hardly see in front of us…..quite dangerous and spooky! We were allowed to ride ahead of the 4x4s and we made good time arriving at the suggested lunch stop around 11.00am….we decided to just keep going until noon and would stop somewhere along the way. The boys all had a toilet break and I had to use my She Pee……and just like clockwork another 5 bikes (4 BMW GSAs and 1 KTM)…. we had met at the hotel over breakfast, who were travelling from Vietnam all pulled up ……Vince says I’m like a magnet for this ……but he managed to protect my privacy!
Back on the road time passed quickly and the rain had eased off….with only intermittent sprinkles now…..we pulled up at a small roadside store where we could see locals eating…..they looked a bit shocked but curious as the three big bikes pulled up and we descended. I struck up a conversation of sorts (via mime and sign language) with a small boy who was eating …..the elderly matriarch watched me carefully and I then approached her asking about food……she and another women offered me taste of a small and indescribable morsel……which was simply delicious I smiled and nodded and she smiled back……she then showed me a bowl of noodles and I smiled and nodded ……we understood……I beckoned to the others to join me…..before we knew it the group of boys had vacated the wooden bench seats and table for the new customers. We sat down and a small crowed gathered around us as well as out bikes……but everyone was very respectful. Vince alerts me to the existence of an elderly gentleman who was behind me and fascinated with my camera…..I got up and went to show it to him…..a serious of photos with he, myself and the matriarch ensued…..to much laughter and cuddles!
When lunch arrived we were personally served and shown what to do with what and how to eat it…….Aad (Art) was given s personal lesson in how to use chopsticks as clearly the local group had decided his skills were lacking and in need of remediation……much laughter and fun was had by all……I think we provided good entertainment! Showing my appreciation by smacking my lips, rubbing my tummy and blowing a kiss…..the faces beamed back at me with pride. I asked the price and the Matriarch said clearly “1200” ….I asked if that was each or all……..ALL! What a bargain…..lunch for 4 for about 25 cents each! I was using some hand sanitiser before and after my meal ( as there was nowhere to wash up) and I could see the group of women watching me and nudging each other to look ……completely mesmerised……so I got up and offered some to one of them. She quickly thrust out her hand and as I poured some of the clear liquid onto her palm she began to rub her hands together mimicking my earlier movements….before I knew it I was walking along the line squirting each held out palm to give it a go……hygiene lessons on the road in Myanmar!
We bade farewell to our new found friends and hit the road again……we arrived at the Bagan Zone Fee Check Point around 2.15pm, because we didn’t have sufficient local currency, where we parted with 40 Euro instead of the US$20 fee each…as we were not carrying any UD$ ….. which seems to be the preferred foreign currency here. We for over an hour for the 4×4’s and when they still hadn’t arrived Aad (Art) asked the ladies in the zone fee office to call Win…..we discovered the Sprinter had broken down (2 flat tyres)…..and they would be held up….so we to proceed to the Yar Kine Thar Hotel, we arrived around 3.45pm. We parked the ANIMAL, and the other two bikes, across the road in a compound…..joining the 5 Vietnamese Tour bikes. We could see them from our room and whilst I was unpacking Vince shot out the door in his underwear muttering profanities……I looked out the window and a local was sitting on a “double” take of our ANIMAL……of course it wasn’t her…..I could still see her safely tucked under her tarp……I followed Vince into the hallway but he was long gone and Aad (Art) was just standing there looking confused ….I think the whirlwind that was Vince must have flashed past him…..I quickly explained and he shot off after Vince…..it all got shorted with the local and his photographer friends being left in no doubt that you don’t sit on! or touch, someone else’s property!
I hung up the remaining damp things from our dunking in the lake yesterday to dry in our room whilst Aad (Art), Mike, Vince and I went out for dinner (19,000 Kyet for Vince and I ) at 6.30pm ……thankfully the rain had let up enough to that there was no further pannier leakage today ….and if fact, with the wind flow, even my Landals had dried!
Unfortunately, I had to ditch my favourite Icebreaker V Neck T-Shirt (had it since Jan 2007) as it has now become so threadbare that it keeps getting holes faster than I can mend……time to say good by my old friend…..snif, sniff!