19 November 2015
Just a short day today, taking us east to one of Myanmar's biggest tourist centres, Inle Lake, and the town of Nyaung Shwe.
I think it's today we finally realise that the people of this country just seem to be high all the time. Some guy drifts past us on a motorbike, singing along loudly to some tune that presumably was playing on his headphones. A guy stopped by the roadside comes over to get photos with us when we stop to look at the view over towards the town of Heho; the whole process is accompanied by smiles and wide grins. Bands of dancing promo people make noise about products that we can only guess at, all participants seemingly lost in the moment.
There's a few short ups and one big down today. During the big down, we turn off the highway onto a smaller road that takes us into Nyaung Shwe from the west. As we drop onto the valley floor, it all gets wetter, the road banked up above the water.
Nyaung Shwe has a tourism-frontier up-and-coming vibe. It's dusty, sparse and isn't as far along the tourism road as you might expect given that it's been five years or so since Myanmar tourism began to open up. There are opportunities here, especially for people with already-functioning businesses. If you can make a good burger, pizza or, well, pretty much any iconic Western grub item, you're set.
58km, 2hr35, 22.3km/h
Bike along eastern side of lake before boat back to town:
24km, 1hr20, 17.7km/h
Bike to train station to exit:
14km, 0hr35, 23.2km/h