Alastair's Blog

The Road to Mandalay

- Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Well, just a week after we started the The Road to Mandalay rally and I got my first mention of the rally in the Daily Telegraph yesterday - I must be slipping! Normally my antics get me much more press coverage. Still it was good to read and see that mum got the headlines!:

"...the ever-determined Alastair Caldwell, navigated by his formidable 96-year-old mother, Dorothy."


So a quick recap of the first week:

On 23rd, all started well with mum at the start line and the car being blessed by a Monk - hence garland on the grill

The following evening, saw Mother with 60ft long dugout canoe 400 years old Racing canoe and waiting for a coconut to drop! Not too much pressure at this time.

There were lots of sugar cane trucks on the side of the road, waiting to sell their loads. They tried to get us to buy - they figured that Rolls Royce drivers must be able to buy the odd load of sugar cane, not really essential fodder for a rally.

Scenery is beautiful and the rally has been good so far and Burma is just great, everything is good, roads, people, scenery, food, weather. For me Rudyard Kipling, in his Mandalay poem summed it up:

   But them spicy garlic smells,
   An' the sunshine an' the palm-trees an' the tinkly temple-bells;
   On the road to Mandalay...

Mother is also fantastic and coping with everything, alert, interested and doing great at the navigation. Other rallyists are suggesting that she should be in the Guinness book of records as the oldest rally nav! Will try to keep updates coming but  Internet tends to be very poor so far everywhere.

We are staying two nights in a hotel on Inle lake. It is just fantastic, lovely hotel and lovely long boats that whisk you through wonderful scenes that are from a travel brochure but they are real. The Burmese are just so nice and sweet it is almost too much, they have great reverence for age so treat Mother with great respect and tender care.

Just a marvelous rally so far - bit off the leadership pace, but plenty of time to go yet and as The Telegraph said 'ever-determined'!!

Can't get away from the Space Station elephant logo - as expected in Mandalay elephants are everywhere!





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