After 20miles or so we looked at the map and realised we’d taken the wrong road. We decided on a cross country off road track that looked like it would take us back on track. The road started off ok and the bikes and racks seemed to cope with it ok, but the road soon got worse. The best way to describe it is rocks covered in several inches of dust, so it was slow going.
Nick was navigating using a pre-downloaded Google map and I had a GPS Burma map on my phone but missed a turning and got a bit lost. It took us a while to slowly pick our way through a series of narrow dirt tracks and roads, but we got to do a couple of fun bridge crossings
By this time the sun was baking. We had a quick break in the shade and after what was around 20miles of off-road we finally hit Tarmac again. We found a shady place by a pagoda for the midday sun stop and devoured a whole fresh pineapple for lunch.
One thing we’ve seen a lot is teams of road workers laying new road, pretty much by hand with very little equipment. It’s been shocking to see that almost all the workers are young girls around the age of 10-15. It seems to us like child labour.
Edit on 26 Jan 2016 : See here for a good article on the situation
We did a loop of the town but only found one guest house which was full. We were about to leave when a guy turned up saying he was a policeman and asked us lots of questions. It was all a bit strange. He was dressed as a police man, seemed very young and was a mixture of helpful and dismissive of our situation. After a while he concluded that we would need to go to Yangon 50 miles away…which seemed a bit extreme. By this time it was dark so we decided to get some food (more rice and chicken) and decided we had 3 options (a) go to the police station and ask for help finding a room (b) get a taxi to Yangon (c) ride to Yangon.
We decided on (a) but on our way we were approached by another guy on a motorcycle who spoke decent English and offering to find a guesthouse. Nowhere had space and we ended up back at the original guesthouse! At this point this guy ( said his name was Vin Thi – but I probably have that wrong) also concluded that we should go to Yangon and that the police would tell us the same…so we decided to do it…we stocked up on Coke, red bull, biscuits and peanuts and set off with Vin Thi leading the way on his bike, as he insisted he show us the first junction.
We both had really good lights but it was a bit crazy riding 50miles through the Burmese countryside at night! We stopped a few times at garages.
When we got to Yangoon it took a while to find our hotel and we were glad they had rooms as were a day early.
It was 12.30pm and 200km and the longest day I’ve ever spent on the bike! We showered changed and had beer and room service 😀