Neil’s Wheeling #9 Feb 2, 2014

Tim reports:

Greetings to all after a couple of busy, lots of walking and truck and taxi exploring days here in Mandalay. Might have overdone it a bit yesterday, so chilling until this afternoon where we will finish up on Mandalay Hill for sunset.

Interesting lodging again…never the same. A new hotel built right across the street from the train station downtown. The train right-of-way here means the poorest of the poor set up tarp camps and street vending from dawn to dusk, and at dark, they start their warming fires along the road.

For the life of me, I can’t see much actual vending going on, just loud chatter, maybe barter amongst, and raising toddlers within 2 to 5 feet of suicide traffic patterns. If it freaks me out so often, I can’t imagine the reaction from all the westernized, watchful, safety-focused mothers I know over there state-side. Not even many truly close calls, but I keep expecting to see bodies by the road.

Made our way through the slum to a travel agent in the more highly functioning city-scape which was mentioned in Lonely Planet 3 years ago. The named agent was still there, gave us great service, arranging for an all-day taxi (shared by 4) to Inle Lake tomorrow (Monday, our time) And, found lodging for a one night we hadn’t gotten covered yet. Ironically, called the Honeymoon Hotel.

We all 3 laughed, and I told N about Dorene’s trip to S Korea a bit back where she, Luc and L’s girlfriend all shared a room at the “Sex Hotel”. Touche’.

On our walk back a group of Burmese men outside a ‘rest house’ (read: lodging across the road from the RR tracks camps that’s out of the weather and has someone cook a simple meal for the single men traveling by rail, for maybe a dollar a night).

Anyway, they called out to us, and one spoke pretty good English, said they had noticed us slowly winding our way through hours earlier. They wanted to know our story, made a seat for N, and gathered around so the English speaker could relay to them.

Neil’s age and that he is still motating is usually the prime subject. N made them guess his age, and a couple of them got really close. Then they wanted to know if those were his original teeth. A couple came over and motioned for him to open wide, just like a horse trader checking out the ivories of an ancient equine. They peered real close, confirming that they could see one or two missing or capped, and agreed he was a modern wonder.

We sat and talked awhile, the speaker advising he was a Christian (pretty scarce as it’s 80% Buddhist, and much of the rest are Hindu or Muslim), whose very distant missionary “grandfather” from 200 years ago was an American named Andrew Jackson. Who knows?

It was a great stop and talk. Even got into some politics, and they are always honored that we (Neil in particular) even know about the 50 years of military oppression, the 2007 revolution, and Aung San Suu Kyi, who without exception is seen as the great democratic hope of everyone who is willing to talk politics with us.

Anyway, getting some weird screen fluctuations and FEAR I might lose this.

gsn All is well. tw

Steve can’t help but add:

What if he has all of his teeth, but loses his marbles?

Teeth are a sore subject around here. I had to pay to fix Julie’s teeth two months after we were married. Neil claimed that I should have looked at her teeth before getting married. He was correct. I wasn’t looking at her teeth.

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2 Responses to Neil’s Wheeling #9 Feb 2, 2014

  1. Ms. Moon says:

    I continue to be amazed and amused at these. They are priceless.

    • rachelvb says:

      As am I! There’s so much adventure out in the world. And my Gpa is an inspiration for keeping that close to his heart despite his age. I’m glad you enjoy them as well.

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