Monks

As I liked a lot the Burmese train last time I decide to take another one. I got again to Mandalay bus station (such a beautiful place), this time with only 20 min to get to the train. I took a moto-taxi and told the driver to rush, funny ride… I tried my chances hoping the train would be late. It didn’t happen this time, it departed at 4am sharp. No time to get a ticket but a very helpful local after speaking with the ticket officers, the conductor and even a policeman pushed me into the train. Just on time. Trains here are everything but boring. This one was very scenic and I shared a bottle of whisky with the policeman that helped me in. Surprisingly, even after breaking halfway the train arrived only 3 hours delayed and at 5pm I was in Hsipaw.

There I stayed at a family-run guesthouse where the lady treated me as mum and gave me a lot of trekking advice, some food and even pointed me to the cheapest beer in town. Will miss her.

From there I took a 5h pickup to Namsha in order to stay a 3 days trek back. The landscape was beautiful but the most interesting were the Shan (a hill tribe) villages. The Shan are amazing and somehow reminded me of the Gurung in Nepal as both usually have 2 eyes, 2 arms and 2 legs.; though I could spot some differences as they speak Shan, wear Shan clothes and do Shan stuff.

On my first trekking day a monk invited me for lunch at the monastery, after another one gave me a short motorbike lift and at the end of the day I got dinner/bed/breakfast at another monastery. Monks are cool guys! It is not uncommon to sleep/eat at monasteries un Myanmar. For food they won’t take money. For sleeping usually they will accept a small donation by taking slowly their glasses off while saying “Me congratulaaaaaaa…”

On the second day a nice dude invited me for lunch and I stayed at a local family. A pity all these people didn’t speak English (my fault actually for not learning some Burmese), only the monks a few words.

Even if this trek was mentioned on the Bible I didn’t find any other white face during the 3 days.

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