In the area of Mandalay, motorbike are the vehicles number one. There are just a few cars and busses, and car-taxis are absolutely rare. This is a strong contrast to Yangon, where motorbikes are prohibited and streets flooding over with car-taxis.
Getting around thus equals taking a moto-taxi. Unused to this and wearing a skirt most of the time meaning a sideways sitting position results in holding on to your life at the beginning – being afraid of falling off at any bump in the road (but I can say you get used to this). But imagine this for about 30-45 minutes, depending on which field site to visit and it is not that comfortable, too. And then there is always someone waiting for you. In total not quite resulting in a relaxed working atmosphere.
So I tried the compromise. Feeling that it is no less dangerous than driving by myself I went all in.
I need to be as mobile as everyone else here. If all myanma girls can do it – I can manage as well. So I received a motorbike driving lesson by my friend, explaining everything about the gears etc. as I never drove before. It went well and now I am the proud owner of this black beauty (the buying process itself deserves a post on it’s own…).
Yesterday I successfully reached the field site all by myself, concentrating on changing gears, the traffic and finding the right way – so I was quite relieved.
Nonetheless, certain risk remains that I am aware of and I wouldn’t take in Germany – so this decision prioritized professional over personal considerations.