On the Way to Mandalay

October 25, 2013

Bicycle travel is not only one of the best ways to see the world, but to hear it as well. I love how varied the soundscape can be from country to country. Sometimes the visuals are so stunning, they overwhelm the sound. So sometimes I like to close my eyes and simply listen to a country — the different bird calls, market sounds, even traffic sounds.

Kat and I were pedaling the back roads from Inley Lake to Mandalay in Myanmar. It was the peak of harvest season, so the mountains were a lush green, and the fields painted the countryside with bands of color. The sound track of our ride was often provided by old radios with worn out speakers, or music DVDs blaring out of the windows of homes or shops along the way. I carry a small audio recorder, as well as a camera. One day I stopped and recorded the music we heard throughout the day. When I listen to this short medley, memories come flooding back that are more vivid than any photo I took.

Roadside Music Medley

Photos by Willie Weir

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His latest book Travels with Willie: Adventure Cyclist will inspire you to hit the road and just might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at http://yellowtentadventures.com.


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