On the last day in Inle Lake, I met Katie and Olli who took the same bus with me to Nay Pyi Taw. Beth met Katie somewhere else hence introduced her to me.
This is the only time I took a VIP bus with 3 separate columns and enough space inbetween the seats to push down the seats, very comfortable. But different than exptected, we arrived almost 2 hours earlier than scheduled. At 2:30 am, we were standing in the market square of Nai Pi Taw trying to look for a taxi. When we were trying to get off, Katie was forcing her way a little bit being very convinced that this is where she wanted to get off and would not listen to anything else.
At the square, we found a taxi driver for 5000 Kyats who brought us to the hotel (to my surprise, who did not want to rip us off, especially considering the time and place and the surroundings), which was more than 5 kms away if I remember correctly. The entrance hall of the 3-star grand ACE is more like a 5-star one. After waiting for 15 minutes, Olli went to negotiate for an “early checkin”. I would never have done this myself, but rather tried to sleep in the lobby until 7am as they said that was the earliest they could do. The front desk guy called the manager again at this time of the night and surprisingly, they gave us the keys to the room. The facilities are all made by chinese manufacturers. The look good on the outside, but when you use it, sometimes not really fulfilling your expectation.
We got up the next day and got a cab which took us to the 20 lane “highway”. It is only a road passing in front of the goverment main building. Usually, you would think that such wide streets are required only when different ones merge into eachother and then diverge again. But this highway made no sense at all. There were almost no cars, and the roads are also blocked by the military. When we wanted to step out to take a photo, a guy from a small house appeared suddenly to shoo us away. Hence, I only got a short video when we were in the cab.
After the bus lane, we went to the market where we got off in the early morning. You can notice very quickly that the composition of shops are very weird. In vietnam, you can find mostly restaurants, mechanic shops. But here in Nai Pi Taw, no food shops, and mostly just general goods, electronics. People brougth their own food to eat and we were not successful in finding any restaurants. Only after 15mins wandering around we found one. It really feels like that nobody really lives in this city since there are no real needs for anything.
In the morning, we talked to the restaurant manager and another front desk guy as well. The restaurant manager is very helpful and he actually comes from Yangon. Mostly, when he has days off, he would go back to Yangon. The front desk clerk actually comes from Mandalay and got sent here for the new job/assignment.
We spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool with many flies and went to a restaurant on the hill. After that, we visited a park close by. That was quite interesting to see with a lot of local people hanging around the park. they had a fountain and some electronic music blasting out of the speakers. The music is even out of sync from different speakers. Young people were dancing (or rather just jumping up and down) to the music.
Entrance to the park.
A small water park iin the park
We boarded the bus to yangon the next day with Olli taking a different bus than us because he booked later. On the bus, I sat next to a geologist who was working in the Gem museum. He is originally from Yangon (mengalagon) and is going back for the water festival. Even though he spoke OK english, it was becoming increasingly difficult to discuss other topics. We only got that far that he has a girl friend, visited Bagan with some friends and is a Arsenal football fan.
In Yangon, I parted ways with Katie and Olli since I booked another hostel than they did. I chose a quieter one than what they did.
Me, spending the last day in Shanghai to visit families… And finishing it up with pics in Los Angeles, transfer here is a pain in the ass …