As we waited for our bus in Namhsan, the local monks did their daily tour of the town to collect donations of rice from the townspeople. First, one boy walks through the town ringing a sort of bell, to announce that the monks are coming:
Then the monks walk silently down the road and people come out to add rice to the monks’ food bowls for their daily meal.
The bus did eventually arrive, and it was certainly interesting. It was one of the typical buses in Burma, clearly built over 40 years ago and yet somehow still running. There were a few things that were askew, such as this speedometer:
This is the view from my ‘seat’ on top of a bunch of concrete-hard bags full of compacted tea leaves:
I suppose Scott enjoyed the wonderful lack of leg room even more than the rest of us:
Turning around, this is what was behind me: the entire bus was loaded nearly to the ceiling with tea and then a tarp was placed over the bags so that we could sit somewhere, as there were only two seats that could be used.
The first hour or so was terrifically uncomfortable for me, as I kept slipping off my seat of tea bags and the road was nice and bumpy so I had to keep my head down to avoid getting a concussion on the ceiling. After a while, however, I realised that I could wiggle my way a couple feet backward and I was up on the tarp. There was only maybe 2 feet of space between the tarp and ceiling, but it turned out to be quite comfortable lying there for the remaining hours of the trip.
Here’s our bus, stopped for a midday snack:
We arrived safely back in Hsipaw that evening, and slept soundly in our guesthouse before continuing on to new adventures the next day.