Friday, 21 April 2017

South to Dawei

Events of Friday 21st April 2017

Breakfast was taken at 7.00 a.m. Doctor Hla Tun had planned for us to set off by coach in the afternoon, on the long journey to Dawei, in the south of Myanmar, some 600 km from Yangon. Accordingly, I thought it might be prudent to have a restful morning at the Doctor's house, working on the computer and trying to compress enough changes of clothes for the trip into a small rucksack, which I attempted without conspicuous success. I was summoned to lunch at around 11.15 a.m., a time when at home I would be thinking about a morning cup of tea! Various departure times were mooted, which finally settled at 3.15 p.m. and I tried to prepare myself for another long journey.

Related Posts on this Website

Next 2017 trip post.
All 2017 Burma Trip posts.

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Arriving in Yangon

Events of Thursday 20th April 2017

Emirates gave me an excellent journey to Yangon, both in the air and on the ground. Emirates operate a 'hub' structure, so the first flight was Birmingham - Dubai, followed by a Dubai - Yangon 'leg', both operated by Boeing 777-300ER. The flight to Yangon was then going on to Hanoi. We were a few minutes early arriving in Yangon, using the new section of terminal which had still been under construction on my last trip. Formalities were quickly completed, my luggage arrived promptly and my host, Doctor Hla Tun, was waiting for me. We drove through fairly heavy traffic to the Doctor's home where I was made very welcome.

Lunch was the usual friendly affair, with my food and portion sizes adapted to my preferences, as discovered by my hosts during my previous visits. But, however much I eat, there is always encouragement to have an extra portion, or try an extra item. The legendary hospitality of the people of Myanmar has not been exaggerated.

It's become a ritual that I travel on Yangon's Circle Line suburban railway on my visits and I decided that, despite being fairly tired after the long trip from England, I would make a railway trip in the afternoon since, the following day, we would be setting off by coach to the south of Myanmar. The Doctor insisted on taking me to Yangon Central Station and making arrangements for my return to his home. Over the years, I've used clockwise Circle Line trains more often than anti-clockwise, so I decided to wait for the next anti-clockwise service. The wait was longer than planned but there's always train movements around the station worth watching.

Yangon's Circle and Suburban Lines.

A major project has started under which Japan will modernise the Circle Line and I was eager to look for visible signs of this work and record the earlier methods of working before it changes.

When my train arrived, I was pleased that it was locomotive-hauled stock, with one of the elderly, hard-working 900 h.p. Bo-Bo locomotives at the front (I failed to get the number, sorry). Circle Line trains were formerly all locomotive-hauled but, as I've documented in earlier posts, second-hand Japanese Diesel Multiple Units now share the work. Late afternoon, we were well into the rush hour and there were lots of standing passengers.

Circle Line - 2017: Yangon Central Station.

It didn't seem to discourage the food and drink hawkers who work their way up and down trains, noisily shouting their services. Air temperature was in the mid- to high-thirties and there's no air conditioning on these old passenger coaches (often no continuous brake, either) so electric fans mounted on the coach ceiling did their best to stir up the air and all sliding windows were kept permanently open. Although I found plenty of interest in studying the railway infrastructure, 'people-watching' can also be undertaken. I think that my first trip on Yangon's Circle Line in 2008 helped to lead to my fascination with Myanmar and its wonderful people. It's certainly rather different from London's Circle Line!

It was dark by the time I returned to the Doctor's house after my rail trip. I was very tired and retired to bed early.

Related Posts on this Website

Next 2017 Trip post.
All 2017 Trip posts.

There are a number of posts describing Myanma Railways and my previous trips on the Circle Line. You can find them all here.

There's a brief introduction to railway diesel traction in Myanmar, and the various classes in use, here.

My Pictures

Where necessary, clicking on an image above will display an 'uncropped' view or, alternately, pictures may be selected, viewed or downloaded, in various sizes, from the album listed:- Circle Line - 2017.

All my pictures of Myanma Railways and the Circle Line can be found here (photographs can be selected, viewed or downloaded, in various sizes).

[Pictures added 2-May-2017]