Myanmar Diaries: Hours on the Road
The minivan swings violently from left to right as we scale down the mountain. Anna is feeling ill — she is sweating, her dark hair curled around her temples by the mountain air. She is clutching onto a stray seatbelt as she lays across three empty seats, her body long and limp and her skinny legs violently jumping up and down in concert with every bump on the cracked asphalt road.
We've been on the road for at least nine hours, although there's no way we'd know for sure since we all stopped counting after the last pit stop. As we fly down the road, we pass countless odd-looking factories and farms. Someone swears they saw a North Korean flag on a factory door. I've been reading so many books about the corrupt Burmese government that I'm inclined to agree, even if I didn't see the flag.
When we arrive in Mandalay late at night, the mountains seem like a hazy dream. Goats, cows, and paddies have turned into unlit city streets and street dogs that run away whimpering if you pretend to throw a rock at them.