MandalayMay 21 in Myanmar
We arrived this afternoon at a nice new airport, where we were met by a driver and after Tanya had sorted out a SIM card for her phone and we had exchanged a $100 note for a stack of local notes about an inch thick we set off for the ride to town.
The new airport is some way out of town (about 30km according to the guide books) but the drive gave us a chance to have a look at the countryside. Truth be told there wasn’t all that much to notice but it did give me some time to notice a few other odd things, like the fact that all the vehicles are right hand drive, same as the UK and Thailand but they drive on the right, which makes no sense at all from a road safety perspective. Could it have been changed very recently, possibly but unlikely however you could always look it up if you’re that interested (and then let me know😎) Also I saw a number of speed limit signs with a 48kph limit on them - a very literal change from 30mph considering that most people and places just go for 50. And Myanmar has an odd time zone which is half an hour behind Thailand. I have the feeling there may be more odd things before this trip is over.
Anyway, in due course we arrived at the hotel, which is very nice and had a special sign out for Tanya, welcoming her as a VIP - there really will be no living with her now - and checked in. Lovely large room, the only downside is it is a low floor and fronts on to a main road but we’ll see how we get on tonight. Before we say anything. On the plus side there are free cocktails between 1930 & 2030 at the roof top bar - they may live to regret this once Tanya gets there! Once we’d sorted ourselves out we went for a little wander to have a look round the local area. Hardly anyone walks here and we soon found out why, the pavements are in a pretty dreadful state and serve mainly as parking areas and covers for what looks and smells a bit like an open drainage system, although it may be different in other parts of the city as we didn’t go too far. We did find a couple of modern looking malls but it was clear that mall shopping has not caught on here yet and they were pretty empty affairs.
So first impressions are that are that there is investment and modernisation on the way but hasn’t fully arrived yet, which for us is great as so often now one place can start to look very much like another and it’s nice to visit somewhere that hasn’t gone too far down that road yet. In any case we have only explored a tiny part of the city and things might look very different a couple of blocks away, I’ll let you know.Read more