The trip to Mandalay was memorable on two accounts. Firstly, we encountered a procession of elephants being transported by pick up truck to the local sanctuary which took us by surprise.
See my Facebook page for the video.
Secondly, the warm welcome we received when disembarking the coach. Eight locals crowded the door, shouting and raising there hands towards the driver. As I came into sight the chants changed to ‘foreigner, foreigner, foreigner’ and one of the jumped up and down then ran off excitedly. It’s a shame I didn’t catch it on video.
The one thing I will not forget about Mandalay is the motorbike madness. The motorbikes surrounded the taxi for our whole journey from the coach station and on several occasions the bikes were centimetres from the back wing of the taxi and the driver was seemingly oblivious. Safety is not priority here! We saw one family, wife sitting side saddle holding a 6 month old, no helmet. About 10% don’t have lights and another 10% drive on the wrong side of the road. Despite this, I think I prefer Mandalay over Yangon. The city is much more open with few high rise buildings but still lively. The fruit and veg wholesalers were busy well into the night.