The water festival starts on a baking train
Trip Start Apr 07, 2006
8Trip End Aug 01, 2006
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Oven Class to Thazi
The road to our next destination was apparently out (We found out later that this is untrue). To our dismay the only option was to catch a Government train. Foreigners are only allowed to ride "Upper Class". It sounds comfortable but believe me it wasn't. We only had 400km of flat plains to travel across. It took 14 hours!
Upper Class consists of reclining seats permanently stuck in the recline position
The other thing is that the 3 day national water festival started the same day. Train occupants are a prime target because we can’t really dodge. You’d think that this is a good thing, cooling us down ect. The locals didn’t agree and had their shutters closed most of the way… we baked!! On two occasions huge buckets of water came streaming into the windows and we got drenched, I mean totally soaked!.
Then the train was delayed 4 hours so we had to stay in Thazi overnight in a sweat box of a hotel room, as the generators stopped at 9pm and therefore fans and a/c only worked til 9pm – we think we lots 3kg in sweat that night! We had to get up several times during the night to have a relieving shower. Thank god that worked!
Next morning we were awake early and were lucky enough to watch a procession of about 100 monks walking the streets collecting their days food.
Was Thazi worth it? Well we only went there to get a pick up to Kalaw – an old colonial hill station it’s supposed to be cooler up there... I hope so!!!
How to burn out a clutch in one easy step
The trip to Kalaw was meant to be an easy 3 hours in a pickup - a ute with wooden planks lining each side as seats. However this was not so as we spent 1 hour getting drenched by full buckets of water thrown by very small children – they would make a barrier across the road, making traffic slow down in order for them to run up and throw buckets of water at us!
Our pickup driver couldn’t change gears for shit. Based on the noise every time he changed gears he never fully took his foot off the clutch. Within about 5 mins of being in the pick up I thought the clutch would burn out and was proved right an hour into our 3 hr journey. They pulled out the drive shaft and dismantled the gearbox in about 20 mins. I guess this isn’t the first time… Then the driver jumped on a pickup going back to Thazi to buy a new clutch pad. We could be here for a while..
Festivities got serious as we were stopped by villagers at every town we went through and got a thorough drenching. The little boy didn’t see the funny side, but it was sure better than baking on the side of the road.
Being in the back of his ute was was great except we were extremely easy targets and so spent the next two hours unsuccessfully dodging litres of water and sitting in puddles in the back of the ute. We arrived in Kalaw looking like drowned rats! 7 hours after we had left Thazi…amazing as it was only 69km between the two towns! Spent the afternoon drying out and avoiding Kalaw’s busy street corners we they were lined with the wicked little water throwers!