Hsipaw

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The train arrived from Mandalay on time but was an hour late leaving, which gave everyone time to stock up on food for the journey.  We made very slow progress on the hills but as the train picked up speed between the inclines we found ourselves bouncing  around in unison with all the other passengers, like peas on a drum.  There was quite a long delay before crossing the viaduct as the down train was late.  

Photography of the viaduct from the train is forbidden and the rule was strictly enforced.

We reached Kyaukme at 3.45,  whereupon our locomotive was detached and disappeared into the distance returning an hour later pulling a kaput loco and two goods vans.  Hurray, we would be on our way.  However the locomotive went off once more ,returning in an hour with a couple more goods vans.   Obviously the 'goods' were more valuable than we.

This put us in to Hsipaw quite late and in the dark.  I had arranged for the guesthouse to  pick us up at the station and sure enough a trishaw driver was waiting.  Only one poor guy to transport us, our backpacks and camera bags.   Fortunately it was all downhill from the station.

The Clocktower Guest House (Nam Khaw Moe) is very clean and comfortable, especially the rooms around the ground floor communal lounge.  Upper floors and rooms at the back have tin roofs and if there is heavy rain you will be glad to be on the ground floor of a two storey building.  Naynyo the house boy and general factotum made our breakfast, and brought us endless cups of tea, he  made the lousy weather more tolerable..

This is the clocktower, it chimes every hour on the hour but is shut down between 9.00pm and 6.am to enable everyone to get a good nights sleep.   We were woken by the  6.00am rendition of  Fur Elise, the recording so bad we barely recognized it.   "Roll over Beethoven".

2005 update.

Stayed here again and was happy to be welcomed by Naynyo and  newcomer Porqois.  The clocktower doesn't work at all now which is a shame I quite liked the tinny classical sound bites.

 

I liked everything I had heard about this small Shan town before I left home and I fell in love with it when I got there.   It was wet and gray for the whole of our time there but it really didn't matter.   The locals were friendly and helpful and there was plenty to see.  Along the streets are all sorts of small manufacturing operations.   The buzzing sound of the saw being used to chop the cotton to make quilts attracted us to this storefront.   

Furniture being stained and given a final coat of varnish 
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