After a greta time in Bagan, Mandalay was to be our next point of origin. Sarah and I opted for the road less travelled option, and booked ourselves on the ‘slow’ boat up stream to Mandalay. This direction on the ‘slow’ boat wasn’t usually travelled by foreigners, and once boarding we realised that we were to be the only foreigners to be on board for the entire trip, in these situations we were fortunate to have each other.
The ‘slow’ boat ride was fantastic. It was a insight into Myanmar life along the river. We were joined half way on the first day by over 10 huge farming pigs (to be sold in Mandalay). The sight and sounds of the local guys loading these huge pigs onto the boat will stay with us forever. Watching men wrestle, push and pull each individual pig onto the boat via a narrow walk board was truly amazing. The farmers where sending the pigs to town to be sold, and they were selling their entire stock. Sarah found the experience quite exhausting, and wanted to know if the pigs were ok once on the boat, which they were. What touched Sarah and I the most was seeing the farmers expressions after the boat loaded with their pigs departed. Visually a little sad to see their pigs leave, all the farmers walked off as if they were seeing loved ones for the last time. It was sad and touching to see, they had cared, fed and grown these pigs and now the realities off life on the river was looking them in the face. Sleeping on the wood floor at night, Sarah and I were reminded how lucky we were in life, dozing off to sleep to the sounds off some disgruntled pigs below deck.