BAGAN AND MANDALAY are 141 miles apart along the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River, nine hours by a "fast boat", in our case, the good ship "Malikha".
She looks a bit like the one on the left: but alas the shaded areas on both decks were enclosed by windows. It was definitely for foreign tourists, the $45 ticket price steep by Myanmar standards. And it was definitely into high tourist season: both decks were full.
There is not so much traffic on the river, compared to the Nile or Niger...
...but what there is, is interesting.
Not much of fishing, from watercraft or shore,maybe these people were.
One stop was made, maybe at Pakokku,...
...where cargo is shipped; maybe bananas because...
...that was the popular item with shoreline hawkers, as a boarding plank was positioned.
Near Mandalay, is Sagaing, with its 1934 British built bridge, and ...
...its 2006 Chinese built one.
Sagaing itself is an important center of Buddhist teaching; the spires of its temples and monasteries sprout up and down its hillsides.
Some craft are rather "doo-lux" craft, charging $240 for the trip .
But, after nine hours of our crowded and noisy craft, Zhufeng looks at it longingly.
Riverbank arrival: tour buses, taxis (formal and gypsy), and, behind the vehicles, horse drawn carts, and their drivers await.
Luggage is lugged down the plank and dropped on to a tarp covering the muddy bank, surrounded by passengers seeking theirs.
One by one, the tag number is called out, one goes and shows matching number receipt to collect it. The on to the vehicle of your choice and your accommodations.