My 4th day was a very long and unexpected day, but one full of greatness. I arrived early morning to Mandalay and didn't really have a plan or know what to do/where to go. I left my hotel to get some breakfast and think the day over when I ran into Jacinta on the street. I met Jacinta a few days prior in Yangon as we both stayed at the same guesthouse. I asked her what her plan for the day was and when she told me I asked if it was cool if I tagged along. It was, so we headed off to get some breakfast and head out for the day to go to Saigang. Saigang is a not as visited area of Burma and even though it is very small in geographic area it is home to over 6000 monks. A famed spiritual place in the country, it's beautiful to visit as the land is draped in stupa's stretching from every eye's corner. We took a tuk-tuk type truck there for 200kyat (about 25cents) and got to spend a lot of time mingling with local people as this is how they travel. Once at Saigang we just hopped off and started walking around. It's hard to know where to start as there are so many stupas and temples and you don't want to miss the important ones. But in places like this, you just have to know that you will miss things… and that's ok. As we ampler our way up to one of the bigger hill top stupas, a small 3 wheeled tuk-tuk stopped to give us a ride. When we asked how much he said, "no charge, I am going that way." We kept waiting for the catch, but there wasn't any. Even when we got off at the temple we were wondering what the deal was. This would never happen in Laos or Thailand and certainly not in Vietnam. We ended up having a lot of experiences like this during the day, people being nice and generous because it was in their nature. Not looking at us like walking ATM's but as people. It was really nice to feel this way, and both of us kept marveling in the generosity of the Burmese people, at least in the rural part of the country.
After stupa and temple hopping we caught a ride to U-Peine, a famous wooden pathway over a lake in Amarapura. The ride was in the back of a truck transporting large sacks of rice as well as some local farmers carrying bananas and corn to sell up the road. It was rustic and a very enjoyable, albeit bumpy ride. The U-Peine bridge was also charmingly wonderful. Full of Burmese coming to walk across the bridge at sunset, families coming for the cultural history and young couples coming for romance. Again, few tourists to be seen which meant getting a plethora of "Hello. Where are you from? What's your name?" and other questions like this that you hear over and over and over and over everyday here. As the sunset it started to lightly rain and we had no way back. We tried hailing a taxi or truck back but no deal. Eventually, a truck of some fishers drove by and said they could take us back. When asked the price, again they said no cost. free. What was going on here? We took it and had a nice time not being able to communicate with the people but trying sure as heck too. They dropped us back in town at a famous temple, the Mahamuni temple, where we ampler around for a bit and then decided to walk home. The rain was coming down much more but we weren't in the mood to deal with these motorcycle drivers trying to scam us. From being in the country where people were so generous to coming back to the city where cash rules all. Eventually a motorbike driver stopped and offered to give us a ride for free. But only one could go on so I sent Jacinta home first. I was actually more tired and my feet were cut up from my sandals but I'll be damned if I wasn't going to be a gentleman. She left and I walked a lot more. Eventually, fed up and tired and wet and sore I tried to hail a cab or two down and nothing. Then out of nowhere this three wheeled wagon stops and offers me a ride for free. Heck yeah!! I hopped in the back and cruised through the city on top of a cooler behind the driver. When I got back to my hostel I took one of the most welcomed showers I have ever taken.