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Dalama Adventures Tale of two corporate types ditching their jobs and traveling the world for 14 months... check out all photos, blogs & interesting tid bits at http://www.dalama.net

Taxi Needs Life Preservers and Oars

MYANMAR | Sunday, 20 May 2007 | Views [2289]

We opted to take a "share taxi" to Mandalay, as the cost was similar to that which we would pay for a bus, and we're kind of burned out on Myanmar busses at the moment.  Not sure quite what to expect, we half thought it might be a van with a couple rows of seating.  Not so lucky- a little dinky Toyota 4 passenger car showed up, already packed with two local women and all their baggage.  The car had very low clearance, and shocks were beat.  We piled into the back seat with another woman, and off we sped north bound.  The road to Mandalay is similar to roads we've encountered in Central America- full of potholes, narrow and very windy.  Our driver must have been a race car driver in a previous life.  On the part of the road descending steep hills, on dangerous hairpin curves, he would accelerate and the car would skid on the gravel around each corner.  We had 9 hours of this!  The young girl heading to University sitting in the front seat projectile vomited out the window several times.  Each time, the driver would stop, giver her a minute to rinse her mouth and recover, then he'd speed off for the next batch of turns.  The last hour of our drive was intense monsoon rains.  So hard you couldn't even see a foot distance in front of the car.  We finally got into Mandalay, and the older woman in the back seat was first to drop off.  We started down a back road into a very wealthy neighborhood(she must have an in with the government).  The road was flooded and only Jeeps with large clearance were making it through the water.  The woman belted out instructions to the taxi driver, who sat, bottom of the car doors in the water, contemplating his next move.  She wouldn't shut up.  We said "no, no go!" as we looked at several other cars, literally side by side to us, that had stalled and were just sitting in the deep ravine that had now formed and was rushing with force.  The woman persisted, and the driver, determined to get passenger from point A to point B, floored it, and we eventually stalled like all the other cars around us.  We glared at the woman who was still yapping at the driver.  Water started filling the floor of the back seat, and Darrin and I prepared mentally for our evacuation, not knowing where we were nor how to communicate with the locals to get directions to our guest house.  It would be a really long walk (or swim) with our big packs and camera bags.  Our driver got out, pulled out an electrical part from under the hood to dry off, and after several attempts, he got the car started again.  We finally dumped off the woman to her rich palace, and cruised to our backpackers - the Royal Guest House.  It was a bit dumpy and had unreliable electricity and no hot water or A?C as a result, but it was dry, and the people working here were the most friendliest staff we've ever encountered- from reception managers to the housekeepers.  They were all avid learners of English and loved to practice.  I spent an hour that night downstairs with a couple of young hotel guys in the lobby, going through phrases in English, translating, practicing and answering their questions as they prepared their workbook lessons.  It was a great end to a stressful day, and we were happy to be safe and dry!

Tags: Misadventures

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