Yangon Naypyidaw HighwayNaypyidaw Highway
You' re gonna be retarded for nothing.
Naychi, Nang Nuu Mai and Pauksi have joined forces for the cool journey from Pyin Oo Lwin to Kyaukme in Shan State. The" Expressway", which extends over 366 mile from Yangon to Mandalay, was only opened a few years ago, and it did not take long before the poorly constructed street was nicknamed" Death Highway".
The Irrawaddy website says: "The former army regimes have focused on the swift emergence of a new highway between Burma's main towns after the start of the clandestine building of a new city. "Naypyidaw, the new capitol, has been the state' s formal administration centre since 2005.
This highway has quickly reached some of the highest crash rate in the state. For example, from January to November 2013 there were 219 automobile crashes with 100 dead and 546 injured. Riders are prone to blaming these events on the inadequate technology, while the authorities like to point the fingers at bad handling and driver insecurity in Myanmar.
At the beginning of 2011 my spouse Naychi's nurse was in a motorway accident: As a translator for business people in Japan, she travelled from Yangon to Naypyidaw in the back of an off-road vehicle that crashed into a cement bar. The girl managed to survive with slight wounds to her face and back, but the incident did kill two people - a Japaner and a Myanmar - who sat next to her.
On December 21, the briefest of the year, I took the motorway for the first ride. We went with my steppdaughter Nang Nuu Mai and my Mrs. Pauksi to the north of Shan State to see other members of my household for the Christmas holidays. At 4am we started because we knew we had about 10 hrs ahead of us: 352 mile on the Death Highway, then another 100 to Kyaukme on the Shan Plateau along the much slower Mandalay-Lashio Road.
Night rides in Myanmar can be annoying and dangerous: A staggering proportion of car owners are not even the slightest bit familiar with the way they drive, and almost everyone drives around with their high beam at all time. However, when the day came out, I no longer found riding the so-called Death Highway so horrible.
Yes, there were the badly placed cement bars, the too tight turns, the straying strays that trot in the midst of the street, the ox carts, the slowly riding bikes, the crowded jalopy with bare tyres and the SUV riders at the service area who swallowed ale at 10:30 am - but for the most part I could drive at the stated top speeds of 100 km/h without leaving me on my punching to keep the gum side down.
One of the major dangers was boredom: the similarity of the slightly undulating, bushy countryside and the fact that there are only two real resting places along the whole length of the motorway. However, those hater who explain that the Myanmar administration does not take account of the driver's security need only look at some of the useful, philosophical wise signals that the officers have pensive placed along the highway.
Some my darling who, in his utmost insignificance to highway traveling, seems to have been stolen from the pages of an onboard travel magazine: Using these plates and my ability to drive, we made it to Mandalay without filling up the highway crash stats. Approximately one hours from Mandalay we stoped at the old Pyin Oo Lwin mountain terminal to meet Naychi and her man Maung Maung Lwin, who would accompany us on the remainder of the journey.
Recently they relocated to Pyin Oo Lwin to open a cafe in the traditional Japonese design, which is scheduled to open later this year. December breezes were already freezing in Pyin Oo Lwin - 3510 ft above sealevel - a forerunner to the freezing climate we would face further up North. The last 90-minute trip to Kyaukme was driven by Maung Maung Lwin, while Pauksi, Naychi and Nang Nuu Mai joined forces and voluntarily sat in the loading area.
More than eight and a half hour's drive later, I was able to take advantage of the co-driver's position for the last part of the ride.