I spent most of the day reading ‘The Adventures of Tin Tin’ at Black Bamboo Restaurant while Amanda took it easy back at the hotel. Around noon we checked out and hung around the lobby area playing on the internet. Amanda’s stomach situation had been improving, but the rising mercury and lack of ceiling fans weren’t doing her any favors. Late in the afternoon I convinced her to join me on one last sunset scramble to the temples. Luckily, we found Momo standing on her usual corner and her driver soon found us after finishing his roadside game of chance. Just look at that flowing mane. You go Momo.
Off we went to the temples for the last time. I had an pretty nice itinerary, but our driver convinced me that he knew a much better spot to catch a sunset – and it was a secret spot. I was instantly hooked. After a bumpy ride full of Amanda’s signature ‘I can’t believe you talked me into this’ death glances, we arrived at an ancient Buddhist monastery. Up we climbed, through the darkest and most claustrophobic passages we’ve encountered in Bagan. But as always, the view from the top and the cool breeze were so worth it.
The day before, I decided to pony-up for the nicest bus I could find. All the buses looked the same until I saw the flyer for the ‘Joyous Journeys’ line. For once, I was ready to believe the photos. And for once, the experience turned out better than we could have imagined. Not only did we have leg room – we had fully-reclining leather chairs, neck pillows, clean blankets, air conditioning, and a foot rest. Not to mention the adorable bus attendant that basically sang soft Burmese lullabies anytime she had an announcement to make. For the next 10 hours, we relaxed in the most comfortable accommodation we’ve had since landing in Mandalay.
We watched the sun disappear for the last time over the mountains before climbing back down the spooky passages. Then we jumped on the back of the cart and hauled ass back to our hotel. We had a Yangon-bound bus to catch!