Sunday, May 24, 2009

Myanmar Part 5 - Inle Lake Continued

Inle Lake continued - Hold on for more pictures. These really are only a few of what we have but again I will let the pictures do most of the talking.

An interesting story about this pagoda. This is the largest of the Pagoda's on the lake. In this Pagoda are 5 statues of Buddha. Each year they are put on the royal barge and taken around the lake to the different villages. In 1963, as the royal barge was going around the lake, a storm came up and capsized it. Because the lake is only 15 feet deep, they were able to find 4 of the 5 statues but could not locate the 5th. When they returned the other 4 to the pagoda they found the 5th one already there. Since then, they only take the 4 around the lake and the 5th stays at the Pagoda. This miracle has brought even more people to the Pagoda and they have put so much gold leaf on the statues that they are now just little gold blobs.

After we left the pagoda, we went to another village where they make paper and umbrellas and have silversmith shops. In the villages are little dredged islands with small pagodas on them.

In this village is also a shop where the Longneck ladies show tourists how they weave. Their native village is about 30 miles south but tourists cannot go to their village so they come up to the Lake to sell their weaving to tourists.

These are more pictures of the floating gardens. These are tomatoes and the gardeners are tying them up the the trellises and weeding, all from their boats. All the rows float on the water and after long enough they turn to floating dirt rows. It was pretty cool to see them rolling on the waves as we drove by.

This is the jumping cat monastery. The picture below shows the cat before he jumps through the hoop. I wasn't good enough to get a picture of one in the air. Our guide told us that training cats is much harder than training dogs.

We then went up one of the rivers that feeds the lake to a village called Indein. Going up the river was crazy because we went through these little dams and up the little waterfalls they made. There were tons of people walking up and down the banks of the river because it was market day in Indein. When we got there....

there were people selling all kinds of things. As we got off the boat first was the tourist stuff then all the natives were bargaining for everything imaginable. Lots of food we didn't recognize and clothes. I even bought a nice shirt.

Yummy fish, the smell was a little much though.

There were multiple ethnic groups there with way different styles of clothing.

Market day is also wash day for clothes, people, and animals.

From Indein there is a mile-long covered walkway that leads up to a large pagoda on the hill. There are many ancient pagodas along the way and near the top. The tourist vendors have smartly lined the mile-long walkway selling everything tourist. They were pretty persistent so it took quite a long time to climb the walkway, but it was nice to be in the shade.

Ang bought a longee along the way and I got some wood carvings and a marionette elephant.

Part way up we left the walkway and wandered through the ancient pagodas. There are over 1500 in this area. There were way cool carvings on the older ones and some had trees growing out the tops.

Some have been refurbished among the old ones.

At the top they were all refurbished. This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip.

On the way back, we took the scenic route through a bamboo forest. The shack in the picture had tourist stuff for sale out front and the kids that were there followed us along the trail to get us to buy these carved wooden frogs. They were asking a dollar so, what the heck, we bought two and made their day. Only problem was they then ran back and got all the other kids and came back with more frogs. We ended up with three frogs and a wind chime thing, at least that is what we think it is.

From Indein, we went back across the lake to the jetty and back to the airport. Along the way I had to snap a picture of the pimped out rototiller trucks. They are pretty resourceful people.

This is the airport parking lot at Heho. I wish our airport parking lots were like this, complete with volleyball court and no traffic. The flight back to Yangoon was way hot because either the AC didn't work or they didn't turn it on? We made it though and took a nice swim in the pool when we got back.
Next up, Yangoon street market (ah the smells), the reclining budda (the eyes are how big, 8ft in diameter), orphanage and the dinner show with a begging elephant and a dance competition between humans and marionettes.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Singing Telegram!

Eliza's first birthday is Monday and so Grandma sent her a birthday present. If Eliza's reaction to the box is any indication, she is going to love it. (The sound is coming from inside the box, when it was delivered is was singing and if it gets shaken it starts up again.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Myanmar Part 4

I have been stalling putting this post up, partly because there are so many pictures but mostly because I am not sure how to do justice to this part of our trip. It was amazing! Thursday morning we flew to Heho and then drove on the main highway, (which would be a backroad in America) to the jetty on Inle Lake. From there I think I will just let the pictures do the talking. This was a little monk with his lunch.

This makes herding cows easy, just ride the cow or water buffalo. After this picture we saw farmers using oxen to till their rice paddies.

Once we got to the jetty we got in a boat like this one and rode down the river to the lake.

The river was lined with homes like these, all built on stilts.

Inle Lake is famous for these fishermen. The deepest part of the lake is only 15 feet deep, and there are lots of plants growing in it. The fishermen row around looking for fish and then stick the net over the top of them. They then let the net down and slap the water with their paddle to scare the fish into the net and they can pull it out.

We even got lawn chairs and umbrellas on our boat.

This is a town built on the lake, nice power poles. The greenery is floating and lines the streets um.. waterways.

This is restaurant where we ate lunch. It was Italian restaurant built on stilts. These girls were just playing on their boat.

In places the lake has been dredged so it is not so deep and this was a rice paddy that had been built up.
Another Town on the lake with bridges connecting the clusters of buildings.

In this town the people weave. They worked in cotton, silk, and other materials but they can start from scratch and make beautiful fabric, it takes forever though.

These are the dyes for the fabric.

and part way through the dying process.

Our hotel was also built on the lake, kind of out in the middle and yes all surrounded by water. The rooms are all bamboo huts built on stilts and connected by boardwalks. Yes those are mosquito nets, but the mosquitoes were not too bad.

This was the hotel lobby, drive up by boat.

Breakfast on Inle Lake.

That is us in our bamboo hut.

Leaving the hotel.

We were in Inle Lake two days the second day was just as cool as the first so look forward to Myanmar Part 5.