Events of Tuesday, 3rd May 2016
I had breakfast at the Aye Yar Resort and checked-out at 8.00 a.m. The monastery car picked me up with the usual driver, together with one of my other young friens from Clinic. We drove via the Anawratha Road to a pagoda famous for its wall paintings, Gu-Byauk-gyi, I think. Although the souvenir sellers were starting to set up their wares, it was still quiet. My friend said most guides take their clients to Nyaung Oo market first and that it would become busy later. We continued to Nyaung Oo and took the familiar road out of town, past the airport turn, then the railway station turn. I think Nyaung Oo is unique in having an airport nearer the town than the railway station. We carried on along the main road we’d used the day before, through Taung Zin.
The crumpled caldera of volcanic Mount Popa was visible through the haze on the left. Our route started to rise out of the plain so that we were travelling through wooded mountains. The area appeared to be the source of rock, with large piles of graded sizes which I assumed were for roadbuilding. There were also two new electricity transmission routes, one low voltage, one medium voltage, being erected. We passed a number of areas where minor improvemnts were being carried out to the road. As is usual, most of the labourers were women. Barrels of tar were being prepared for use by having a fire set under them but I also spotted a couple of ancient, wheeled tar boilers. We passed through a series of fairly small one-street villages, with a variety of stalls on both sides of the road and, of course, a profusion of tea shops.
We then entered a fairly major town with proper shops, rather than stalls, and a couple of impressive-looking modern bank buildings. There were at least two sets of modern traffic lights with countdown-timers. Providing the contrast at which Myanmar excels, there were also oxen grazing on the patches of sparse grass. As we threaded our way onto our road, I noted not just the number of teashops but also their large size.
We passed through another area of farmed land populated by pairs of oxen ploughing or hauling carts before we entered another fairly large town, Meiktila with its lake. We parked near the bridge which takes the road across an arm of the lake. I walked along a rather rickety bridge thrust into the lake leading to a very small pagoda.
Meiktila Lake Pagoda.
The lake water was clear and lots of fish, carp I think, could be seen. Walking back to the car, I spotted a wooden pumphouse extracting water from the lake. As we drove over the road bridge, we passed a huge, gilded ‘concrete barge’ with a bird's head at the edge of the lake, apparently another temple.
On our way out of town, we passed a massive, walled factory with a least 20 large sheds. A sign in English as well as Burmese revealed that this was Meiktila textile works.
Before long, we were running into Thazi, with one main road running through and a network of generally unmetalled side-streets. We easily located the Moon Light Guest House and I was made very welcome by the proprietors.
My friends who had delivered me safely to Thazi agreed to act as interpreters at the Diesel Locomotive Depot, where I had been given two Inspectors names as contacts. Unfortunately, they were both absent that day, but I was allowed to take a few pictures before we left. Having returned me to my hotel, my friends declined hospitality and set off back to Bagan.
Although it was rather hot, I decided to go for a walk along the main road to see a little more of the town, which I believe has a population of around 30,000. I passed a rather smart modern fire station with four appliances near the Police Station for Thazi Township. Both KBZ Bank and CB Bank had impressive modern buildings. Having got used to seeing pairs of oxen doing the ploughing and pulling, I was surprised to see two modern farm tractors pass along the main road. I found it reassuring, somehow, that most of the 'taxis' were horse-drawn 2-wheeled 'hackney cabs'. After exploring the main road, I took the side road leading to the station to make a photographic survey. By the time I was back at the Guest House, I was thoroughly exhausted but a cold drink followed by a nap restored me sufficiently to prepare this report.
Then I broke off for an evening meal, which was prepared exactly to my preferences and was excellent.
There's a report on my visit to Thazi Locomotive Depot and Station here.
Next post describing this trip.
All my posts on this trip can be found here.
There are a few pictures of this trip here.
Pictures at Meiktila Lake are here.
More pictures will be posted as soon as possible.