Published: April 19th 2006April 17th 2006
I don't know if you have a map in front of you but you might find that Pyay and Inle Lake aren't really smooth destinations considering Bagan in the Middle. Actually we just combined these two places because we didn't have a whole lot of pictures from either and they were both more small towns so we figured it would work out easier this way.
Pyay turned out to be way more fun than we originally thought it would be, sure it has temples and historic stuff and those always hold some interest for us, but the people made the place just awesome. After a night of sweating because all the power turns off at 10:30 pm and the silence and heat was pretty uncomfortable. We decided to check out another place in the morning after breakfast (boy is this country awesome with every place having breakfast in the cost) and met a man selling bus tickets along the way. We figured we could see Pyay's sights in one day so we signed on to Bagan for something like 8 pm. Thats when he offered to take us to some English speaking friends of his and since we really
didn't have much else to do at the moment we went with him.
Well he took us to a guy named Scott who spoke pretty good English and ran a Yogurt stand (which he gave us some free later after we had talked for a while). Soon though they brought the their kids and friends who were in their early twenties who spoke English very well and we ended up talking about everything from books to genetics. We actually just talked for a couple hours, stopping every once in a while so they could write new words before giving them definitions to write in their already almost full notebooks of things they had never heard. It was great fun.
Then after the talking all 6 of us packed onto 2 mopeds and roared around the area checking out the sights that they thought were worth seeing and not to mention FREE from the USD fee's so common everywhere. They even played basketball with us for a little while before we saw smoke and heard firetrucks across town where they had their houses, so we rushed back over there to see where the fire was and it was a
block from Scotts (where our backpacks were stored).
It was great though to just spend some time hanging out with some people who REALLY were interested in just walking around and talking with us, not to mention they were good tour guides and even took us to see a huge snake that kev put on and is about 12 ft or more in length. Good times though.
After Pyay and Bagan we had a chance to check out the chill life on Inle Lake. This also turned out to be a really cool place and would go there again if all that was left was the Queen Inn. We got recommended to it by the people in Bagan and figured it was just another one of those joint ventures and decided to just check out places when we got there. Well the last place on our list ended up being the Queen and boy were we impressed, they gave you breakfast AND dinner in the price of the place not to mention fruit during the middle of the day and strawberry shakes that came with every meal. We even got some fried tofu and tea one afternoon. The
people were just amazing there and it was really fun to just hang out around the table and talk to the other people there and enjoy the food (which they kept bringing it seemed like until you said no more).
We had another bike experience and actually only a day or two after Bagan so I relied on the bone numbing ruts and bumps to work out the already bad feeling from Bagan. Pretty much though other than the bumps it was really quiet and scenic with lots of rice paddies and friendly people saying hi left and right, even a few that popped out of the bushes magically to give us a friendly hello. We also took a trip out on the lake in a boat, that also turned out to be interesting because you go through the stilted villages and floating gardens and it just puts you in a totally foreign element.
Also amazingly enough, they had hotmail for once in Nyaung Shwe and we don't really know how they made it work but it was great because of some loose ends we needed to take care of. All in all I'm not really one to
get tired of the lake scene with people fishing and canoeing, though the fresh water is a little scary in these kind of climates so we didn't try out the swimming like we love to do at home. Though the water was definitely warmer than Alice Lake in the middle of summer..... Anyway cool place to relax for a couple days following one of the notorious knee bashing bus rides.
Dust really summed up these places well so I will just quickly give some of my own perspective. My experience with the snake was really unforgettable, I don’t really like snakes, actually they creep me out …but I thought it would make a good picture. I was glad I was holding its head, because its tail was exploring up the neither regions of my shorts…and if it would have been his mouth crawling up there I think I would have lost it! I will remember Pyay for my snake encounter, and also for the friends we met there. They were so anxious to learn English they absorbed every word we said, and the words they did not know they would write down in a notepad
and ask for its meaning. I talked to a really smart girl named Angela, who really wanted to have an opportunity in North America. She was frustrated because her options were so limited, and she was aware that the chance that she would actually be able to get to North America was slim. I am so fortunate I virtually have a world wide pass, People in Burma like Angela do not…in fact it is rare for them to see more than two or three towns within their own country.
Following Pyay, we headed up to Bagan (12 hr bus ride), then headed to the cooler climate of Inle Lake (12 hr bus ride). I am amazed that no matter where you head in this country the bus ride inevitably takes 12 hr’s are more…and these busses are not VIP style. Also inevitably the bus seems to break down, but I like these breaks because they give a chance to stretch the legs. Anyways when we arrived in Inle Lake I soon forgot about the bus ride, and my thoughts switched to supper and the serene setting that was unfolding before me.
Supper at Inle Lake is worth mentioning
Another edition of the Buddha tree
and Dust all ready did…some advice to fellow traveler’s, stay at Queen…they treat you right! The vegetarian meatballs and pumpkin soup was delicious.
I loved Inle Lake, it was easy to immerse myself into the lake culture and village life, each night was full of picturesque scenes of locals on the rice paddies silhouetted by the sun. My favorite part of it all was definitely eating at Queen’s though, it is a very good thing to be properly full.
There are more photos below