As is often the case, getting there was half the fun. I nearly missed the train in Mandalay, had to run hard to be able to jump in the last wagon, and since I could not reach the rest of the train from there, I then had to jump out of the moving train, run faster and jump in the next wagon. Anyway, a long ride later, in the middle of the night, we stopped at Naba, and had to wait several hours for the first train to Katha. In a cattle wagon, we reached the town that became famous as Kyauktada in Orwell's novel Burmese Days.
After just having read the novel, it was a little unreal to walk in the same railway station as described in the book. A trishaw ride later and we were on the borders of the Ayeyarwady river, and could start exploring the town. After some walking around, we were able to locate the English Club where most of the novel revolves around, with the tennis court intact. The Club now houses the headquarters of an agricultural cooperative. A little later we also found the jail, and came to understand that it was not allowed to take pictures. We later met a guy who had actually been taken inside the prison to delete the pictures from his camera.
Apart from the obvious sights related to Orwell, Katha is a very pleasant place to visit. Just walking around in the peaceful, car-free town, meeting strangers, being called into the shop of a photostudio to help read the manual of a digital camera and fix it, browsing the wares for sale at the market, seeing daily life unfold in a pace that probably has changed very little over the last centuries, passing horse-carriages: I could have stayed here much longer.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Katha (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Katha.
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