The ride back to the main road junction, me windblown in the little bouncing vehicle, seemed to last even longer than the one arriving in the taxi. But the nice driver dragged my bag over the rough ground of the yard and onto the station platform for me.
The ticket office was not open yet and I was told to wait until ten. At ten I was told, half an hour more. It was eleven before I was allowed to buy a ticket. Previously I had wondered why tickets were not sold before the train actually arrived. Now I know it is because there is a definite possibility that it may not come at all. They wait until they hear it is on the way.
The train was almost two hours late, but eventfully we left. As soon as we did it began to rain heavily into the open window beside my seat. A kind man came to help me close it when he saw me wrestling with it. This was when I remembered that I had left the retrieved brolley in the tuk tuk! The minder now becomes even more a reality.
Maps Myanmar Photo Gallery
We left the town and soon there were flame trees and yellow flowering trees like acacias beside the line. My seat was comfortable and I had plenty of room Later the seats across from me were occupied by a woman and a cute little girl. A couple of women and a small boy sat in the seats on the opposite side of the aisle.
The train line is a marvel. It snakes along the very edge of high mountains, goes through deep cuttings and tunnels and crosses countless bridges. There was one massively impressive long, high viaduct. Approaching it, the train slowed almost to a stop, then proceeded toward it very cautiously at a walking pace. Once on the viaduct we were reduced to a crawl, literally inching along.
The scenery was sensational. In cuttings where creepers and vines grew into a dense green wall on both sides, tendrils reached out and brushed the sides of the train as we passed. At times leaves fell in on me and once I got smacked in the face by a small branch. In places enormous patches of rice were terraced down whole valleys ringed by jagged blue mountains. In other valleys large plots of vegetables grew. Sometimes I was looking down on verdant slopes from a great height where a motorbike on a far winding road was the size of an insect. There were patchworks of rice, corn and vegetables, some grown on bamboo trellises where the creepers of the vegetables formed a thick roof overhead. All was green and lush.