I currently live in မန္တလေး Mandalay, Myanmar. It was an ancient capital of Myanmar (the current capital is Naypyidaw). Mandalay’s population is about 1.2 million. Mandalay is considered the economic and cultural center of Northern Myanmar (Yangon is more prominent in the South). The Irrewaddy/Ayeyarwaddy River (depending who you ask) runs through the West end of the city. The old Royal Palace (c. 1861) is considered the center of Mandalay. I live on the East end just before the rice paddies.
Mandalay is spread out on a grid with numbered streets running North-South and smaller numbered streets running East-West. The city doesn’t feel big. It is made up of lots of short buildings (most are one or 2 stories tall with a maximum around maybe 9 stories). Most of the shops are essentially one room that’s open on the front end. Some homes are fancy and new, but some are simple woven bamboo. There are trees lining some roads. From above, the city looks mostly green, even though it feels mostly beige in dry seasons when dust dominates the air. Some of the streets are just dirt, with large potholes. The widest road is 2 lanes going each way. Even the local highways are often one-lane with motorbikes, light truck shared taxis, cows, cars, pedestrians, carts, etc. The terrain is mostly flat which makes the streets prone to flooding in the rainy season. There are a couple of solitary “mountains” around town- Mandalay Hill and Yankin Hill. To the East, you can see more mountains that are part of the Shan State. Mandalay has 3 seasons: hot, rainy and… the other one.
Our apartment is company housing which is… functional. It needs some sprucing up to make it cozy and personal. At least we have a nice view!
For more Mandalife posts, check out my Mandalife page.