Irrawaddy River, Myanmar

At 4am we got our little taxi to the port.  Actually our sandbar that the boats pull into. We walked across the narrow wooden beams that served as gangplanks to the boats the boys directed us to. Our seats are relatively good. The are like bus seats, and we have a set of two that is near a window. They left the bright fluorescent lights on, so getting back to sleep was somewhat impossible for me. 

A quick tour of the boat showed us that there is lots of upstairs deck chairs and a cafeteria to get food. Breakfast and lunch are included. I bought some coffee and it wasn't too bad, and we watched the sun rise as we steamed up the river. Breakfast was served at 7:30am. The first people got white bread spread with butter-like cream cheese and a hard boiled egg. The later people got the white bread with bananas.

We had our fried rice with chicken and vegetables lunch at 11:30am. 

At about 3pm, the guys came down and stood on the front of the boat sticking depth sticks in and calling out to the bridge. We were doing a pretty good clip and were’t quite sure what would happen if we ran aground. We decided to eat just in case, and ordered chicken and noodles.

At  6:30, we finally touched ground. Yea! we thought, we are here!! We started packing up… until we saw the guys run forward with the depth sticks and realized we had run aground. We heard the sand scratch against the bottom of the boat as he reversed off. 

Small villages at the edge of the river

Even way out here in the middle of nowhere, there are giant gold Stupas 
They said this boar ride was 8 hours. We have now been sailing for over 13.5 hours. It is now after 7pm and only breakfast and lunch was included. At least Mandalay is in sight now, but it has been for an hour. People are cheerful and happy, but if we don't get to shore soon, I think the hunger and tiredness will wane.

The sun was setting as we begin to see the first glimpses of the Mandalay area