Wednesday, 29 January 2014

May Town

We travelled by bus back to Mandalay, stopping at Pyin Oo Lwin en route for a night. Due to the early departure from Hsipaw we arrived at our hotel in Pyin Oo Lwin at 9.15am, a new check-in time record! After an hours nap we donned our walking boots and set off with a map to explore the area. The map was abstract and suggestive at best.  We covered a few miles more than expected and got back after 8pm.

Founded by the British in 1896 the town was originally a Hill Station called May Town, after a colonel who created the place to escape from the Mandalay summer heat. It became the summer capital for the British colonial administration until the end of British rule in 1948. The name was changed after the British left, but we were told no one likes the new name and the residents still call it May Town. Numerous colonial half-timbered buildings remain, as you can see from the photos they must have been extremely grand in their day.  Some are turn of the century wooden clapperboard style, others look like Louisiana plantation houses.

The British probably also brought grape vines and fruit trees and a hundred years later we had the good fortune to imbibe some local plum wine. It was sour and surprisingly moreish!

We visited the old Governors' house, which has been tastefully restored. Teak paneling, marble floors, large fireplaces, and an original indoor pool with an adjoining bar- they must have held some great parties! There were wax models AKA Madame Tussauds of the various key colonial figures in the reception hall of the house, unfortunately I don't think the temperature fluctuations agreed with the wax as they looked decidedly peeky! 

Some of the previous patrons looking decidedly peeky!

The house in its heyday, now still looking much the same

Beautiful teak hanging staircase

Colonel May, founder of May Town

Indoor pool and bar, these colonial Governors had it tough you know!

Sarah feeling quite at home!

"Pimms on the Terrace darling?!"

"Sorry, the Rolls is in for a service"

Typical remnants of British rule around Pyin Oo Lwin 

Horse and carts still give the place an authentic feel

We found a curio shop selling historical and tribal artefacts from all over Myanmar

These are the crowns of the King and Queen of a particular Chin hill tribe

Sarah enjoying a glass or two of local plum wine

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