for my last day in mandalay i paid a visit to mandalay hill. besides the entrance fee, there's also a fee if you decide to take photos. outraged, i told them i wouldn't be using my camera, but secretly took some photos anyway. when i was about to leave somebody said they saw me taking photos so i had to pay after all.

one of many enormous buddhas

temple guardian

back in town i tried some burmese ice cream. the parlor was pretty busy and seemed like a popular place for folks to hang out. it certainly didn't hurt business that it was 100 degrees every day though.

buses in mandalay can be unreliable, to say the least. drivers stop at street corners and call out to try and get more passengers onboard. since none of them spoke english, figuring out which local bus to take was too daunting a task, made more difficult by the fact that bus numbers are written in burmese script. fortunately there's plenty of trishaw drivers willing to take me around town. buses often break down as well: here the driver is trying to wench his vehicle back into service. passengers have no choice but to wait and enjoy the natural air-conditioning courtesy of paneless windows.

phone service is scarce in mandalay. nobody has a cellphone and i actually read foreigners are forbidden to bring theirs into the country (i brought mine in anyway, they never checked my luggage). i did see one burmese man back at the capital with a cellphone the size of a brick (he must've been a very important man). the young woman in the foreground of this photo is actually using the burmese version of a pay phone.

a typical street in mandalay. notice that bus is still stuck.

i finally tilled the soil of my garden, after spending 15 minutes at target trying to find some suitable flower seeds. i ended up only buying a packet of morning glories. i'm looking for flowers that i can plant and not have to worry about, say, for the rest of the summer. do they exist?* with my hands covered in dirt i went home and took a shower, after spending most of the day working on some code. my father dropped by around 6pm with a delivery of homemade chinese dumplings and some boiled peanuts. i ate some dumplings before riding out to brookline village, to attend a flash lecture at the NEIA. i almost didn't go but riding the bike made it worthwhile and i knew i wouldn't have any problems finding a parking spot. the lecture was interesting, all about bitmapdata, the flash equivalent of director's imaging lingo. the speaker showed some examples, the most impressive were the rotating 3D models formed from dots that changed colors.

coming back i parked my motorcycle by the side of the road and ran across the BU bridge to get some photos of boston. i could see the flashing citgo sign and nearby the glow of the yankees-red sox game still in progress. i didn't find out the score until i got home, the red sox were down a few runs and would end up losing another game.

*update: found a place online to buy wildflower mixtures: www.americanmeadows.com. i like them because they're local (vermont) and their prices are decent. i got the northeast mix, which includes the following flowers: cornflower, siberian wallflower, ox-eye daisy, shasta daisy, lance-leaf coreopsis, plains coreopsis, sulphur cosmos, wild cosmos, wild larkspur, sweet william, purple coneflower, california poppy, perennial gaillardia, baby's breath, wild annual sunflower, dame's rocket, rose mallow, scarlet flax, blue flax, perennial lupine, baby blue eyes, red poppy, mexican hat, gloriosa daisy, black eye susan, and none-so-pretty (27 total). too bad i won't be here when they bloom.