|I woke up with a high fever, and nausea. Myles packed up everything, settled our bill and got us on the way while I got some more sleep. We were catching the 8am bus to Mandalay. We arrived at the terminal at 7:30am. Heavy items were being loaded on the roof of the bus. Our bikes were strapped to the back with some rope. I wasn't looking forward to the next 6 hours or so.
The bus left the terminal on time. We barely got a chance to say goodbye to Thura who came out to see us off. We were one of the last passengers to board the bus. Inside, every seat was occupied. Oranges and luggage were stacked at the back of the bus, and the entire floor was laid out with sacks of potatoes. Fold out seats occupied the space between the two rows of regular seats. Several people were sitting between the aisle seats directly on top of potato sacks. The bus looked about as full as it could get, and then we stopped to let more people on. At one point a woman with 4 little girls got on. They sat in the aisle space between the seats. We gave them each a little notebook and a pencil. They liked it. Then they all got sick. We gave two of them, half a gravol each, after asking their mom for permission. They seemed better afterwards, and all four fell asleep.
When we stopped for lunch, I felt really sick myself. The smell of food, hot sun and even noise send me spinning . I didn't eat, but instead caught a quick nap stretched out on our seat, while everyone was outside. It did the trick, I felt a lot better afterwards, well enough to somewhat enjoy the rest of the trip.
Throughout the ride, we must have passed through ten different police checkpoints. On our way to Kyaukme we just blasted past them, without paying much attention. One of the guys on the bus kept hopping on and off delivering bribes to the key officials, as the bus continued on it's way without stopping. At one point he ran across with a bag of oranges, and probably something else inside.
Then we arrived at the bus terminal 7km outside of Mandalay. It was scorching hot, and I felt like my brain was melting. I am not ashamed to admit we caught a taxi. It was a cute little pickup. Our stuff barely fit at the back. Nothing was holding it all together, and Myles sat at the back making sure nothing got lost on the way. We were "home" again, or at least a familiar place with a bed and a shower.