The circle train, a moving market

The hostel I stayed at in Yangon was a really good place to get to know other travellers. The first night I met Douglas, who was also interested in riding the circular train, so after breakfast we walked to the train station. We almost walked past it, but I noticed a poster inside a building that looked like a train map. We had a look inside and a man was sitting in a cubicle, behind green bars. He made a circular motion with his hand and we nodded yes. It was easy enough to get the tickets. On the platform they were working, improving the drains it seemed.

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I got super excited when the train arrived. We climbed in and found a seat. The train had some fans on the ceiling, but most of them didn’t work. We really crawled through the city, stopping often to let people on and off. I waved to a family that was staring at me at the station. I received smiles and waves back. At Insein everybody seemed to leave the train. A man came towards us and told us it was the end station. I guess we weren’t on the circular train after all. We bought a new ticket and were directed to another platform. It took a while before the train arrived and the locals kept looking at us. This train was the best! It was more like a market. We went all the way up the train line and passed several markets where goods were loaded and offloaded. Vendors were walking around selling cauliflowers and tobacco. I’d seen the corn guy pass several times and then couldn’t help myself. I had to get some. So there I am, eating corn on the cob in a train filled with Burmese people doing the same. It seemed to be the snack of choice.

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Unfortunately for us, the train started going backwards. After looking at the map again, it turned out to go too far backwards, so we got off the train again. Third time lucky though, we actually found the circular train. This train had tourists in every compartment, so really we were lucky to have the experience we had. The other train had been so much more interesting, so much more hectic. The landscape was still impressive. You see so much from the train. Too bad you can’t really take good photos. Normally the circular train takes 3 hours, which is long enough, but our route took way longer! It was time for another snack. We saw a guy walking around with quail eggs. They are already boiled and sold in small bags. I was cracking the egg on the bench to the amusement of other tourists, who probably couldn’t believe we were eating it. Eventually, after a lot more swaying from left to right, we rolled into central station. We got off a few stops later. One of the guys who had been on the train for a while waved goodbye to me, a big grin on his face. What a brilliant introduction to Myanmar!

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