Sunday, August 22
Since it was my last day in Mandalay, I went for one last serving of vegetable and potato curry at Marie Min, a vegetarian restaurant that was responsible for cooking the only food I liked in all of Mandalay and Rangon. Then I worked on my Taungbyone photos for a short spell and said goodbye to the congenial crew who runs the shiny clean Royal Guest House. As 6:00 p.m. arrived, I departed by jumping on the back of a motorcycle with my heavy-ass backpack for a hair-raising half-hour ride through anarchic intersections to the equally chaotic and dust-choked bus station.
When I boarded the bus and sat in my assigned aisle seat, the guy who sat next to me bitched about the backpack between my legs, claiming he couldn't get in and out when he wanted. I told him all I had to do was move it out of the way whenever he wanted to get up. Then I figured out the overhead luggage bins were big enough, so I threw it up there. Then that guy, who looked 30-something years old, fidgeted like a little kid for half of the 12-hour ride to Yangon. He finally fell asleep after the Burmese ballads and sit-coms ended after midnight.