MYANMAR 4: HSIPAW (engl.)

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start reading from the beginning: Myanmar 1

The morning started with a nice surprise: Win, the lady from our cooking class the night before had sent lunch packages to our hotel for our bus ride from Nyaungshwe to Hsipaw. Sticky rice and some sort of tea leaf salad would for sure help us through 8 rough hours in a minivan.

As expected we got picked up by an old completely full minivan where we had to squeeze in to. Our luggage was kind of secured on top of the vehicle. Obviously we stopped a few more times to squeeze even more people, boxes and bags containing vegetables. When no one was able to move a centimeter anymore we finally left the little town right at Inle Lake. No aircon didn’t make the drive any more comfortable. It hadn’t rained here in months and the sand from the streets was blowing straight into the windows. Right behind us was a sick toddler vomiting all over the place. After a while more people started joining him. The smell in the minivan was not the greatest as you can imagine. However as we noticed later it is absolutely normal to get sick when driving a car in Myanmar. Locals are just not used to being in cars because they usually don’t travel much or use their motorbikes, bicycles or even a cow caoch instead. At least bus companies are prepared and provide bags for everyone (that then are just thrown outside the window…). Our drive took us up and down the mountains and the so called streets were just sand and rocks. We would probably have flown through the van multiple times if we had been able to move. My step counter was at 26.000 steps after 8 hours of sitting. After an aweful drive and an hour delay we finally reached our hotel. First we were surprised how nice it looked but when the receptionist walked us through the back door into an other old and shabby building it looked more like something we had booked unfortunately. The room was so small that just the bed fit inside. We weren’t even able to close the door while both our backpacks were laying on the floor. The cover of the power outage fell straight into my hands when I tried to plug my charger in there while hunreds of moskitos were swirling around. Not the best choice for sure but I had already stayed at places way worse, believe it or not. The evening got even better when we realised that all restaurants had closed at 7 p.m. already. What a day!

The next morning started surprisingly late. Whereas we are usually up at sunrise, we somehow managed to sleep until 9 a.m.. This meant that we had to run to the roof top to get some breakfast before it was too late. Today we decided to go different ways. John was renting a motorbike to explore the area and I rented a bicycle to get arond town and get some work on my computer done. But as always everything should come completely differently. The night before we saw some cute cafes right at the river front where I decided to head to. I was just parking my bike when an older woman standing at the terrace started waving at me. When I got to her she was pointing down to the water. What first looked like an older man and a woman going for a swim turned out to be an emergency situation. Those two were trying to get another woman out of the water. When I got down to the water they had already dragged the young woman towards knee deep water. Together we put her onto a nearby rock.

We were all completely overwhelmed with the situation and didn’t know if the woman was stil alive. She wasn’t moving at all and she didn’t react to us at all. The other two were just looking at me and I decided to start a CPR. Of course I had learned how to do this in school and when getting my driving licence but I never thaught that I would actually have to use it. Surprisingly fast the young woman started spitting out water and was totally disoriented before starting to burst into tears and starting to scream. She was still fully clothed and we tried to get the cold and soaked clothes off of her and wrap her into something warm. Just seconds before the ambulance got to the restaurant she lost concience again. Up to today I have no idea why whe was in the water or if she survived, I just really hope that she is okay now. Even an hour later I was still staring into the water together with the two other helpers that turned out to be the chef and a waitress.

John thankfully turned around straight away when getting my message. We didn’t move far from our hotel any more that day. Especially after a motorbike accident happened about 5 meters away from our table during dinner that same night I couldn’t have been happier to leave Hspipaw the next morning (the driver got up straight away though and drove off a few minutes later with only some scratches). Well, this truly wasn’t our city!

THINGS TO DO IN HSIPAW

We only came to this town to take the train to Pyin O Lwin over the famous Goteik Verduct bridge. However there are some crazy hikes you can do. Also, there are plenty of waterfalls around that you can easily get to with a motorbike. I have visited some attractions in town such as Lillte Bagan and I was very little impressed to be honest.

HOW TO GET THERE & AROUND

There are mini buses leaving from Nyaungshwe and Mandalay daily. Hsipaw also has a train station. Trains from Mandalay are departing super early every day. The best way to get around Hspipaw is with a bicycle. If you plan on seeing some waterfalls you can get there with a motorcycle.

WHERE TO STAY

As already mentione above our accomodation wasn’t the best and I can’t recommend it. In general we saw only a few aright buildings in this whole city. I guess you have to spend bit more money here to get something or it.

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