Mandalay Travel Blog› entry 3 of 13 › view all entries
The bus ride up from Rangoon took a miserable 18 hours. It was very disheartening to see the teams of what had to be forced laborers breaking rocks by hand on the roadsides. At one town, the bus broke down and the driver and a few looky-loo's popped open the engine cover to examine the fuel line, all the while smoking away on their cigarettes. I kept a respectful distance from the impending fireball. Dad made the mistake of heading off to relieve himself at one reststop on what was apparently the female side of the bus. He learned his lesson in a hurry.
We spent most of our time in Mandalay being shepherded from one cottage industry to the next: budha carving, gold leaf making, budha carving, metal working, budha carving, tapestry weaving, budha carving....did I mention the budha carving? Seems to be the single largest occupation in the country! One night I ate a dish that had several hot peppers that nearly killed me! My dad laughed, watching me gasp for oxygen with my face going from red to blue.... I really did think they were simple green beans. Big mistake!