I have taken a short walk in the streets of Mandalay. The busy street were full of activities. Open air food stalls are all over the place well liked by locals. The streets are lined with all kinds of small businesses. Motorcycles crisscross the streets carrying people to all the places.
There was a problem though. I have not been to any city where walking is as aggravating as in Mandalay. There are no connected sidewalk in Mandalay. People there freely use the sidewalk space as their front yard, blocking it for storage, parking, market stalls, setting restaurant tables or simply walling it off. The encroachment extend well into the road. The picture shows how difficult walking can be. A red car freely parked mid street next to the vendor, further constricting the already choked road. Be very careful to walk around them, because motorcycles can come from anywhere! I was quite challenged by how to proceed forward from there.
Yangon is a much more lovely city in comparison. It is lot more populous than Mandalay. But the old town is quite nice to walk. The food vendors are operating in a space that enhance the street life rather than cutting off access.
People adapted to their way of life. Perhaps I was overly agitated by the difference? I walked by a group of teenagers who were literally using the busy street as their football field. They were setting up goal post out there, running around and shooting the ball, oblivious to passing traffic. I did not witness anyone getting knock down. Yes, there were a lot of honking from cars and motorcycles. But they always managed to miss each other. People survive somehow.