Day 4 – train to Hsipaw
After a perfect dose of scrambled egg and smashed avocado (locally grown might I add), I set off to the train station with my new American friend, Chris; a ‘digital nomad’. What in Buddha’s good name is a digital nomad I hear you cry. Well, Chris has no fixed home and has travelled for 12 years now, selling domain names as his main source of income. In other words, Chris is living the ultimate man dream!
The train station just 3 miles down the road, I insisted on meeting Chris there. The ultra courteous hotelier had other ideas and insisted on thrusting my bike into the back of his car, the contents of which already included 6 fully grown humans. But, around here, they just seem to make stuff work. Health and safety not always at the forefront of mind. But then wasn’t life so much more fun when we had a few less rules.
Moments after arriving at the train station, we paid the equivalent sum of around £1.50 for a 7 hour train ride, including, according to the typeset on the ticket, a small contribution to ‘life insurance’. Well, the train was conceived here over 100 years ago, so things can be expected to be a little rickety.
About half way into the journey lay the famous Gochiliek pass, a maze of steel, built by the British, to span one hell of a canyon. In keeping with the complete lack of safety procedures, we dangled our bodies out of doorways and windows to achieve prime viewing position.
Arriving in Hsipaw, pronounced ‘See Bo’, Chris and I checked into the great value Red Dragon hotel, initially for 1 night. After a walk about town to set the scene, I cycled up to ‘sunset hill’ for views of the same theme.
Side note – Chris couldn’t join me as during a trip to a beautiful waterfall ( later covered in this blog), he was chased up and down a mountain by 4 Burmese women, imposing as guides – apparently this was a lie A they were only there to make Chris’ legs hurt.
After chatting to ransoms, befriending a local and being randomly given bananas, I returned to town, found Chris, got fairly drunk and ate body weight in shrimp spring rolls and local speciality Shan Salad.
As sleep beckoned, I realised how completely privileged I am to be able to experience this place and embark on this adventure.