2/6/18: The Only Two Tourists in Pyay

Today we make our way to Bagan via Pyay. There are no direct buses from Ngapali to Bagan, so we have to do Ngapali –> Pyay –> Bagan.

The first bus of the day is an old Japanese preschool bus.There are a LOT of imported used Japanese buses/trucks here. It’s strange but also kind of funny.

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Our Japanese preschool bus
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Up close. The name of the preschool is blurred out
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Another imported truck
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Imported bus

After about 30 minutes on the preschool bus, we transfer to another slightly larger bus. A bunch of local guys come on and we get going.

After a few hours, the bus stops at the side of road. The men get off to pee. That’s when I realize how patriarchal Myanmar is. All the local passengers are men and can pee anywhere, so the driver doesn’t take into account the fact that it’s harder for females to pee anywhere and everywhere when deciding where to stop.

As we drive, it becomes abundantly clear that there is no infrastructure beyond the big cities. The roads are totally insufficient here– unfinished, unpaved, tiny roads. Constant bumps, weaving from side to side to let those coming from the opposite direction through, honking, and general stress.

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Utilizing the front area as 2 more seats

We stop at a village. I try to ask for plain rice, but they don’t understand me at all. I don’t think the concept of plain rice with nothing else is a thing here. I instead have two bags of chickpea chips for lunch.

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They’re actually pretty good!

We get to Pyay around 5 pm, after about 10 hours on the road.

I quickly realize how kind the people of Pyay are. As soon as we get off the bus, we are approached by a guy. We are initially weary of him since we assume he’s just trying to get us into his cab. However, once he realizes we’re not interested, he hands us a map and gives us a general overview of the area.

We get to the guest house and once again the hotel people are super friendly and helpful. The manager tells us the different options for where to go and what to see in Pyay.

Hannah and I go to find the night market to get some dinner. We get lots of stares from the locals as we walk through town. I think we are the only two tourists in Pyay.

We get to the night market, and it’s pretty depressing. The road is under construction and has cranes/mountains of rocks everywhere, it’s dirty, and there are only a few food stalls. We had read about a restaurant called Grandma Cafe online, and decide to go there since it was on the same street as the night market.

Grandma Cafe is a Korean restaurant, so of course I am super excited about it. Hannah has never had Korean food before, so I’m also really excited to be the one to introduce her to the best cuisine ever.

I get ttteokbokki (spicy rice cakes); Hannah gets bibimbap (mixed rice with veggies). She loves hers.

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Tteokbokki

We buy some fruit and avocado from the market to eat in the morning, then grab a tuk tuk back to the hotel.

We chill for the rest of the evening and go to bed like the locals do: around 9 pm.

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