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Published: March 11th 2016
Nyuangshwe is a smallish town about 20 kilometres up a canal from Inle Lake. It is less hectic than the other places we have visited. There are more scooters than car but not as provincial as to have ox-drawn carts in the street. It seems to thrive on tourism. Most visitors appear to come from Europe. We hear a lot of French in the streets. There are a lot of young people wandering about. I have seen only a couple of 5 star type resorts. Lots of backpacker accommodations.
The reason for coming here was to take a boat ride on the lake. There are hawkers on every street corner offering their boat for a ride. They are not pushy and wish us a good vacation when we turn them down. We had booked through our hotel and within 10 minutes the boatman was at the gate waiting for us.
The simplest of these craft are dugouts. Then there are the motorised fishing boats. They are different from the larger freighters in that the bow is squared so that the fisher can stand on it to cast his net and use one foot to paddle
is boat. As our ferryman passes the first lot of fishers he slows down, the fisher poses for us but we don’t take the bait. They do this for money and I have serious doubt they are real fishers. They are too well dressed when compared with those who ignore our passage and truly look busy.
We pass floating villages and gardens. This is reminiscent of Lake Titicaca in Peru. We eventually turn into a canal and pass several villages. It is hard to tell if it is terra firma or afloat. No scooters or cars to be seen. Houses have boat ramps cut into the banks like driveways. Some even have roofs over them. Foot bridges, from solid cement affairs to rickety bamboo affairs cross the canal. We see people bathing, washing their clothes and young boys fishing. Having no horns, the boats slow down when they come to a blind curb. Craft flowing downstream have priority. At several places a dam has been built across the canal with an opening just large enough for the boats to pass. This means speeding up to make it through the current as the water level is higher upstream.
Houses on Stilts
Some western communities should consider this if they insist on building on flood plains.
It looks like the water level can be controlled for irrigation purposes.
We had specifically told the boatman that we didn’t want to shop so he did not stop at any of the several silversmiths or lacquerware craftsmen. We were getting close to the mountains so I guess this was definitely solid ground. There were cars and scooters but not enough to cause traffic jams. There was very little honking. We visited the market and found a few interesting trinkets and then crossed the bridge to visit yet another temple, Inlay She Inn Taint. This one was mostly in ruins but some relief carving were still visible. A fee of 50 cents was charged for recording devices. There were several young children in bright costumes hanging about to make money from pictures. Also a few kids begging for food.
Wandering a bit further we came to a long covered corridor. Thick pillars on each side stretched what seemed like milked. Each side of the corridor was lined with stalls selling the same stuff we had seen elsewhere in the area. This corridor finally ended in another temple which seemed to be a monk’s cemetery.
Enough walking so we went back to the jetty to find our boat. The trip back was much quicker since we did not want to see another temple.
When we got back to town we wandered about for a bit and then retired to our room to get away from all the noise. When hunger began to announce itself, we went out in search of an Indian restaurant we had seen on an earlier ramble. We found it closed. The owner said he had sold all his food. A group had stopped in and cleaned out his larder.
We did find a chic establishment called the Green Chilli. It is open to the elements, nice tiled floors and comfortable chairs at a height suitable for 6 footers. They even served wine, with a small selection from France. I cannot understand the French obsession of having at least one glass of wine with their supper, regardless of the cuisine being served. The service was impeccable and the food very good and priced accordingly. Still cheap in relation to what we are used to. My belly left satisfied. It was late enough in the evening that
Locals heading down the shallow canal to their homes on the lake.
there was little traffic so the stroll back to the inn was pleasant. Again, early to bed. I guess I am tired because I have been missing my afternoon nap.
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