Day 11. Mandalay
Dealing with Passport problems proved to be the main topic of the day. We also took in some of the sights around Mandalay by climbing to the Pagoda located on top of Mandalay Hill.
After breakfast we were greeted by the police downstairs with news of David's passport and money. We sat there for 4 hours as they made their formal investigation and traced back our steps over the last two days.
The sheriff and his merry men
I do admit that I’ve never seen such efficiency within a police force - in the short amount of time they had interviewed everyone we had come into contact with, tracked down the driver of the truck, searched the hotel and issued Dave with a temporary travel document signed by the General of Police, which he can use anywhere whilst travelling around Myanmar.
At midday we decided that the best thing to do was to do some sightseeing and make the most of the time we had left.
Panoramic view of Mandalay
We went for a walk up Mandalay Hill where a giant Pagoda complex beckoned to be explored. At the top we admired the 360 degree views of Mandalay and surrounding areas, had some tea and tried to relax.
River & city folk: worlds apart
From here we tracked towards the river and found some out of the way places which lined the river. The banks were muddy; all around us were floating bamboo huts which were pushed into the middle of the river and the islands which show themselves during dry season - plenty of interesting smells and people.
The kids here are always smiling, pulling their kites and run along the bikes as we slowly ride past. Every now and then we would stop to take photos while Dave entertained the kids with balloons or magic tricks - he is a master of body language and I admire his ability to engage anyone or any age into his way of thinking.
The sun was setting and we wanted to avoid riding at night again, so after dropping off the bikes we went for a walk. After a short while we managed to find a nice Indian/Nepali vegetarian restaurant which served yummy food. Stuffed like the piglets we saw by the river today, we hitched a ride on the rickshaws back to the hotel.
Today being a power day, a bit like the water rosters for watering your gardens in Australia, ensured that the fan would stay on all night; Mandalay has rolling and alternating blackouts throughout the week. Even if you have your own generator, these must be switched off after midnight due to noise complaints every second day there’s no power till 6am.