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Published: December 29th 2016
I'm doing this blog in 2 parts mainly because I took so many photos, but there not all on here I hasten to add!
Up early (again) and this time for our Christmas Eve Boat Trip on Inle Lake, doing all the touristy stuff you do when here. However as the market is being held at In Dein we are starting there first. We were met by our boatman and after picking our way across tree roots we got to our boat and with a bit of wobbling about got into our wooden armchairs and were ready for the off, it was very exciting!
You travel along a canal for about 15 minutes which takes you away from the town and out into the lake proper. The lake is vast, surrounded by high hills and mountains and dotted with stilt villages and the occasional super posh resort.
Straight away we spotted the fishermen, who use the traditional method of leg rowing to steer the boat,leaving their hands free to do the fishing stuff. We followed a side river past tiny huts, people in canoes, through villages, squeezing into the gaps in the river fences
Traditional leg rowing fishermen
and onto In Dein.
Our boat moored up out of the centre and by a restaurant. Following the path through it we came out to a little bridge which led to the market place. This market rotates round the lake villages on a 5 day rota and everyone descends to sell their produce and to flog the tourists tat. It closes at 10 am, hence the reason for the early start.
Picking our way through the stalls, past heaps of fruit and veg, ladies using wooden scales and on past the stalls coking up spring rolls and other fried delicacies we came out onto the ‘main’ road – well the only road really and as usual covered in dust. This was lined with cafés and souvenir stalls and there were masses of people all trying to cross the one bridge at the same time. So we joined in with the Pa O ladies in their traditional dress and smoking their cheeroots, the tourists, the cars, motorbikes and tuk tuks and eventually got across.
On the other side were lots of very ancient pagodas and lots of very persistent scarf sellers and
I was quickly surrounded! After finally giving in and buying 4 scarves we were allowed to look around in peace, there were stupas with trees growing out of them and ones which trees had covered, some still had their Buddhas intact and some were worse for wear but they were a fine sight.
Somehow we managed to find ourselves on a very long covered walkway going up the hill. It looked as if all the market souvenir sellers had dashed up here once the market shut and were busy setting up their stalls again. There weren't many other tourists around yet and apart from the occasional ‘nice tattoo’ we were left in peace. Once up the top we were astonished to discover the pagoda was surrounded by nearly 1000 stupas of various colours and nearly as many dogs and puppies! It was all very jolly and after a good look about we headed back down the steps, stopping only to buy a traditional Burmese tattoo pen – yay. I was chuffed and so was the stall holder who proceeded to shout out lucky money and hit everything on his stall with the money I had given him,
first sale of the day see.
After a bit more potching we stopped for a drink and met 2 people who had stayed at our last hotel in Bagan and had taken the same bus as us, so we had a catch up before heading back to the boat and on to do more tourist stuff. We really like In Dein, it had a really good vibe to the place.
Unfortunately now it was time for the floating markets, cringe, the bit where you go round the stilt villages and stop at various workshops. Much to my amazement Howard actually wanted to do this!!!!! So first up was silver – mega expensive, then the Karen aka Long neck ladies weaving – felt like a zoo, then boat building and cheeroot making – hmmm and finally lotus weaving – give me strength. Needless to say we bought nothing and I felt mega embarrassed.
Then we tootled round some more villages and now it's part 2 ……
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