Up the mountain
Kalaw, Myanmar


Time for another bus! We were picked up at 7.30am by the worst bus we’ve yet been on. This bus was more what I had been expecting (I suppose it could have been worse, and I have been on a lot worse). Leg room was non-existent, I had to sit sideways and we bounced up and down on our hard seats the whole way. This was going to be a fun 8-plus-hour journey.

I still haven’t been feeling great, a constant sick feeling, hardly able to eat, aching all over and just tired (despite sleeping more than 12 hours each night!) and covered in a faint rash. The original plan for today was to travel to Kalaw, a hill town and trek to Inle lake over 2 days. I was still very much undecided whether I was going to be able to manage the trek. [Note – still didn’t know I had dengue]

The bus journey was fairly uneventful, we did pass through some very pretty fields and small villages. At one point, a herd of sheep walked by, shortly followed by a herd of goat, then the cows! All just following one lady!

After stopping for a lunch break (and me still unable to stomach any food) we started heading up the mountains! The road twisted and turned, snaking higher and higher and higher upwards. After an hour, we were still nowhere near the top! Sometimes, the edge of the road/mountain was scarily close, just dropping down into nothing.

We arrived into Kalaw just after 2pm and only had a short walk to our hotel. After leaving our bags, we went off to have a look around. Being very small, the central market is about it! Even in the heat of the day, as we were so high up the mountains, it was starting to get a bit chilly. After an hour or so of wandering around, I decided I still wasn’t up to doing a lot, so trekking was out. I was devastated – it looked so pretty in pictures. But I certainly didn’t want to start going, then feel terrible just a couple of hours in, then have to carry on. I would have been a misery.

So after a bit more of a rest – and some tv watching in our room!!!! Ok, so it was only 4 channels; one Chinese channel subtitled in Burmese, 2 international news channels and one film channel! But it was novel. Time for some dinner.

By now, outside it had reached arctic conditions! (zero degrees!) I didn’t exactly come prepared for this. Living on a tropical beach, I rarely use even a cardigan. So had to make do in a hoodie and leggings. We went to a busy restaurant full of locals, however we waited ages and ages for our food. Nearly an hour!! When it came it was nice and I managed a lot more than I usually eat these days! On the way back, we spotted popcorn! Fresh and buttery and sugary, it was delicious!! We enjoyed the popcorn while watching the tv (not because there was anything on, but just because we could!).


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