musings on music, travel, books, and life from Southeast Asia

Crosstown Traffic

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When cycling around Myanmar, sometimes I felt the only thing missing was a Jimi Hendrix guitar solo, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to get yourself to Electric Ladyland immediately! And don’t take the A Train!

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Even if what you see in Myanmar doesn’t qualify as cross town traffic, you can call it around town traffic, dirt lane traffic, or even country road traffic. Sometimes the traffic is insanely congested, as so often happens in the heart of Mandalay, but at other times it might feel like you’re the only one on the road, as you’ll occasionally find in parts of Shan State. But no matter what the traffic conditions, you are guaranteed to see a wild variety of transport choices in Myanmar. In addition to cars, buses and motorcycles, you will encounter mobile carts, bicycles, trishaws, and even a few other non-automotive varieties.

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I never did take a proper shot of the real traffic chaos that I often encountered in Mandalay. Frankly, I didn’t have the courage. The non-stop buzz of vehicles darting through intersections (most of which have neither traffic lights nor stop signs) and zooming towards me on the wrong way of the road made such a task a bit daunting, if not flat-out dangerous. Just try to imagine a color transport stew of bikes, carts, motorcycles, buses, trucks, cars, and trishaws coming at you from every angle … and then get out of the way!

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