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Published: March 24th 2009
From Pyin U Lwin we got a share taxi and drove around the posh end of the town picking up a lady who sat in the front (the more expensive seat). Big houses in Pyin U Lwin; People aren't dying of poverty in Myanmar, people look happy and are not hungry, it's not Africa by any means.
Back in Mandalay, we went to see a Western movie by trishaw, a very cheap experience and the girls - very pretty. But the film was pretty rubbish, some end of the world-aliens coming to save us rubbish - sort of an Al Gore environmentalist wet dream. Anyway, the next day we organized the a riverboat ride up the Irrawaddy to Mingun...we got the trishaw driver from thn night before to take us. According to Wikipedia... its main attraction is the ruined Mingun Pahtodawgyi, the remains of a massive unfinished Buddhist stupa begun by King Bodawpaya in 1790. We took a few photos of the massive thing. The temple was not completed, due to an astrologer claiming that, once the temple was finished, the king would die. Had the stupa been completed, it would have been the largest in the world at 150
meters. Despite its ruined state, the remains are impressive, making it the largest pile of bricks in the world. There are huge cracks in the structure from the earthquake of 1838, but a small shrine with a Buddha image still serves its purpose as a place of worship and meditation. We didn't feel like getting ripped off and at the suggestion of our trishaw driver we didn't pay to go to the top, we just walked to each site taking pictures.
Again according to Wikipedia....
King Bodawpaya also had a gigantic bell cast to go with his huge stupa. The Mingun Bell weighs 90 tons, and is today the largest ringing bell in the world. The weight of the bell in Burmese measurement, is 55,555 viss or peiktha (1 viss = 1.63 kg), handed down as a mnemonic "Min Hpyu Hman Hman Pyaw", with the consonants representing the number 5 in Burmese astronomy and numerology.
Just a couple of hundred yards from the great stupa and bell lies the beautiful white Hsinbyume or Myatheindan Pagoda with a distinctive architectural style modelled after the mythical Myinmo taung or Mount Meru, built in 1816 by Bodawpaya's grandson and successor Bagyidaw and dedicated to the memory of his first consort Princess Hsinbyume (Lady of the White Elephant, granddaughter of Bodawpaya, 1789-1812) who died in childbed. This was a really terrific Paya, I really liked the white payas, I was getting sick of the gold bling numbers ad this Paya really had some serenity to it.
Anyway, it was a baking hot day and the boat returned to Mandalay at 1pm
so we waited around drinking coke, trying our best to resist buying a hat from the female vendors.
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