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2015 - THE CIRCULAR RAILWAY OF YANGON

THIS ENTRY IS JUMPING AHEAD IN THE STORY OF MY TRIP. I WILL START FROM THE BEGINNING LATER.

FIRST I WANT TO SHOW YOU WHAT I SAW OF MYANMAR & INTRODUCE YOU TO SOMEONE I MET WHO MIGHT BE OF HELP TO YOU IF YOU WANT TO VISIT MYANMAR. SHE OWNS THE NEW TRAVEL AGENCY, RED IXORA , IN YANGON. HI SOPHY, IF YOU ARE READING THIS. YOU WILL SEE HER LATER.

I ARRIVED AT YANGON AIRPORT FROM SIEM REAP. THE IMMIGRATION GUY WAS THE MOST RELAXED & FRIENDLY OFFICIAL I HAVE EVER COME ACROSS. HE INTRODUCED ME TO THE MAGIC WORD 'MINGALABA' - HELLO OR WELCOME.

I HAD ZERO PROBLEMS GETTING A TAXI.
ON THE WAY TO THE RATHER SWANKY, VERY EXPENSIVE, CHATRIUM HOTEL, I WAS STRUCK BY THE ALMOST TOTAL ABSENCE OF MOTORBIKES & SCOOTERS.
UBIQUITOUS ELSEWHERE IN SOUTH EAST ASIA, THERE ARE ALMOST NONE IN YANGON.
LOTS OF CARS THOUGH, & PEOPLE, PEOPLE EVERYWHERE, MOSTLY WEARING WHAT I WOULD CALL SARONGS , INCLUDING THE MEN. AGAIN, SOMEWHAT DIFFERENT FROM MOST OF S.E ASIA.

I ARRIVED JUST AT SUNSET & THIS IS THE VIEW FROM MY HOTEL ROOM ....

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I THINK THIS IS THE FAMOUS SHWEDAGON PAGODA, ALSO FROM MY HOTEL ROOM.
I DID NOT GET TO SEE THE PAGODA UP CLOSE BUT, AS YOU WILL SEE LATER, I SAW PLENTY OF OTHERS.

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.... AND ANOTHER SHOT OF THE POOL.

I GOT UP LATE & ASKED THE CONCIERGE TO HELP ME FIND THE CIRCULAR RAILWAY THAT I HAD READ ABOUT. HE WAS VERY HELPFUL & QUICKLY HAD ME INTO A TAXI TO THE STATION WITH INSTRUCTIONS TO THE DRIVER TO GIVE ME DIRECTIONS TO THE TICKET OFFICE.
I EXPECTED TO BE ABLE TO FIND THAT MYSELF BUT WHAT DO I KNOW?
SEEMS THE TICKET OFFICE IS LOCATED ON THE PLATFORM. PLATFORM 6, OVER THE BRIDGE.
I DOUBT I WOULD HAVE FOUND THAT ON MY OWN.

TAXIS ARE VERY CHEAP IN YANGON BY THE WAY, COMPARED TO CANADA. A TEN MINUTE RIDE WAS ABOUT THREE DOLLARS & AS HE 'DID NOT HAVE CHANGE', HE GOT A TWO DOLLAR TIP.

ON THE WAY TO GET MY TICKET, I BOUGHT MYSELF BREAKFAST OF A COUPLE OF SANDWICHES & A TAMARIND DRINK FOR NEXT TO NOTHING FROM A LITTLE SLIP OF A GIRL AT A BOOTH. THE HOTEL WAS CHARGING A LOT FOR BREAKFAST

I JOINED THE LINE FOR TICKETS & WHEN I TOLD THE GUY IN THE BOOTH THAT I WANTED A TICKET FOR THE CIRCULAR LINE HE TOLD ME TO GO TO THE OFFICE BEHIND HIM.
I ENTERED THE OFFICE WHERE THERE WAS A MAN SEATED AT A TABLE.
THE FIRST GUY THEN CAME IN, TOLD ME TO SIT AND ASKED ME IF I WANTED THE AIR CONDITIONED CIRCULAR TRAIN. ACTUALLY, HE TOLD ME I WANTED THE AIR CONDITIONED TRAIN & I READILY AGREED.
IT WAS A BIT WARM OUT.
I PAID THE 80 CENTS FOR THE TICKET & THE OTHER MAN GAVE ME THE TICKET. THAT'S ALL HE DID. NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT.
THE FIRST MAN TOLD ME WHERE TO WAIT & THAT HE WOULD COME OUT AT 9:30 WHEN THE TRAIN ARRIVED TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO.

SO I WAIT ON THE PLATFORM AND WATCH THE ACTIVITY AROUND ME.

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9:30 & NO TRAIN

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9:40 - & STILL NO TRAIN ... BUT IT'S OK ON THE PLATFORM .. & HAVE YOU NOTICED WHAT LOVELY CLOTHES THE LADIES ARE WEARING? YOU WILL SEE A LOT MORE ..

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TRAINS ARE COMING & GOING BUT NOT MY AIR CONDITIONED ONE ..

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LOOK AT THIS LITTLE DARLING BELOW ... BUT 9:50 AND STILL NO TRAIN .

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THE TICKET SELLER COMES OUT TO TELL ANOTHER COUPLE OF TOURISTS THAT OUR TRAIN IS HELD UP & WILL NOT ARRIVE FOR AGES SO WE SHOULD GET ABOARD THIS TRAIN INSTEAD. NO AIR CONDITIONING BUT THEN THERE ARE NO DOORS & NO GLASS IN THE WINDOWS SO WHO NEEDS A/C?

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STILL A BIT OF A WAIT TILL WE LEAVE SO I CHECK OUT MY TRAVEL COMPANIONS .. NOTE THE SIGN ON THE WALL - NO SMOKING, NO LITTERING &, PAY ATTENTION NOW - NO CANOODLING.

HERE IS OUR ROUTE ..


.

NOT TOO FAR ..

WE ARE ON THE MOVE NOW & THESE TWO WATCH US LEAVE YANGON. THIS TRAIN TRAVELS IN A LOOP BACK TO YANGON SO THE BONUS IS I CANNOT GET LOST AS LONG AS I STAY ON THE TRAIN.

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THESE LADIES GOT OFF AT THE FIRST STOP ..

LIKE SUBURBS ANYWHERE, YANGON'S ARE NOT THE PRETTIEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN BUT A BIT MORE INTERESTING THAN THE 6:05 FROM LIVERPOOL STREET.

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A SOMEWHAT HAZARDOUS PLACE TO DO SOME LAUNDRY ... AND GRAFFITI IS HERE, AS IT IS THE WORLD OVER.

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MORE SUBURBS & A FEW STOPS, LETTING PASSENGERS OFF & ON ..

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OUT INTO THE COUNTRYSIDE NOW & THE TRAIN IS FILLING UP A BIT. I HAVE MOVED DOWN THE COMPARTMENT TO GET NEAR A DOORWAY. NOTE - A COUPLE OF WESTERN TOURISTS DOWN THE WAY ..

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THIS STATION HAS A LITTLE MORE BUSTLE ABOUT IT ..

AND A FEW PEOPLE GET ON .. MORE THAN A FEW, & THEIR PARCELS OF FARM PRODUCE ..

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YES - IT'S FILLING UP NICELY ... MUST BE A BIT OF ROOM FOR THIS LADY ..

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THE TOURISTS LOOK A BIT GLUM. PERHAPS THEY ARE WONDERING WHEN TEA IS SERVED ..

THIS GUY JUMPED FROM THE TRAIN SO HE CAN'T WAIT AROUND FOR TEA, OR THE STATION EITHER ..

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MORE GLAMOUR BESIDE THE TRACKS

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AND MORE GLAMOUR COMING ON BOARD. WHERE ARE ALL THESE LADIES GOING DRESSED UP LIKE THIS? & NOTE THE GIRLS SITTING DOWN HAVE THANAKA ON THEIR FACES. MORE ABOUT THAT LATER..

A GIRL IN YELLOW - MORE ABOUT THAT LATER TOO ..

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AAHH. TEA TIME. WELL NOT TEA BUT ALL SORTS OF OTHER FOOD TO BUY. I HAD SOME FRESHLY CUT MELON & SPRAYED JUICE ALL OVER MYSELF. VERY TASTY ..

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SOME PEOPLE WAITING FOR THE TRAIN TO GO BY ..

AND I WASN'T AWARE THIS WAS THE SLEEPER ...

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THESE TWO COILD NOT SQUEEZE INTO MY CARRIAGE & I HOPE THEY MADE IT ON FARTHER BACK.

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HOPEFULLY THIS GIRL IS SWIMMING AND NOT DROWNING ...

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STIL IN DREAMLAND ..

AND THIS LADY HAD BROUGHT SOME FLOWERS ON. SHE PUSHED THEM INTO THE CARRIAGE & I DRAGGED THEM AWAY FROM THE DOOR. I HAD HELPED OTHERS GET THEIR PRODUCE ABOARD & THEY WERE ALWAYS VERY APPRECIATIVE.

ONE ELDERLY LADY TOLD ME TO PASS HER STUFF DOWN TO HER ON THE PLATFORM. IT WENT THROUGH THE WINDOW.

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TICKET INSPECTORS CAME ON BUT NEVER EVEN GLANCED AT MY TICKET. EVERYONE ELSE EITHER HAD A TICKET OR PAID ON THE TRAIN & THERE WAS A FARE PAID FOR THE BUNDLES OF PRODUCE TOO. HOW THE KEPT IT STRAIGHT IS A MYSTERY TO ME.

AND A NUN, LOOKING VERY NICE.

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NOW WE KNOW WHERE THOSE TWO LADIES GOT OFF ..

AND THE FLOWER LADY LEFT HER FLOWERS ON THE SIDE OF THE TRACK & WALKED OFF. TO GET SOME HELP I EXPECT. THEY WERE VERY HEAVY.

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COMING INTO YANGON AGAIN .. THE END OF A THREE AND A HALF HOUR JOURNEY. THE BEST FUN I HAVE HAD FOR A LONG TIME. AND I NEVER DID GET A REFUND FOR NOT GETTING THE AIR CONDITIONED TRAIN. THIS TRAIN WAS BETTER ANYWAY AND AT 80 CENTS I THINK THEY CAN KEEP THE REFUND.

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I STOPPED AT THE BOOTH TO GET A DRINK AND WAS STANDING, LOOKING TIRED & SWEATY NO DOUBT WHEN THE LITTLE SALES GIRL GAVE ME A GIFT OF A PACKET OF TISSUES TO WIPE MY BROW. WHAT A SWEET THING TO DO.

TOMORROW, ITS ALL ABOARD PANDAW FOR THE BOAT RIDE TO MANDALAY. FIFTEEN DAYS AWAY.

Posted by hasbeen 05:00 Archived in Myanmar Tagged yangon_circular_railway Comments (7)

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