Musings from Mawlamyine

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February 8th 2015
Published: February 18th 2015
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As many adventures begin, we started our jaunt to Mawlamyine in true ignorance but with the best of intentions. The Lonely Planet said that over the "first couple days of February" there was a big festival commemorating the birthday of a certain monk who made it his life work to make the Worlds Largest Reclining Buddha. The festival was to be at said enormous Buddha, attended by thousands of monks and pilgrims and mucho festivities would occur, in particular a Thai boxing tournament. So all of this sounds all right, so off we went.

Lizzie, Mat, Jess, and I all left Yangon on a bus, which thrilled us. This bus was a VIP bus, chairs reclined well and blankets and travel pillows were provided. Air con was turned up to full power, of course. After Lizzie and I satiated our need to take pictures of us in travel pillows with different filters on our cameras, we settled in. 7 hours later we arrived in Mawlamyine, a small town heading down the southern tail of Burma, the tail that runs along the Thai peninsula.

Mawlamyine was hot. But we got to the hostel, to be promptly told that the festival had happened two weeks previous....but what about the monks birthday? Is it like the 'Queens Birthday' and fluctuates regardless of the current royal on the throne? Doesn't seem right. But alas, right or not, fact was, this year's festival was now in the past. Oh well! Let's see the big Buddha anyways!

The four of us got a tuk tuk, which in Burma is a pickup truck with two benches going down the length of the bed and a cover over it, to take us out to the Buddha, WinSeinTawYa. We knew we were close when we started driving past statue upon statue of saffron robed monk. They were probably on time and at the festival, so they got statues. Each one was different, some more in need of Botox than others.

The Buddha itself is gigantic. It's 560feet long and wide enough to make that proportionate. The recline posture, the Buddha lying on his side, is a representation of Buddha during the time of his 6 year fast, when he was too fatigued to sit or stand to receive visitors wanting his advice. Umm, yeah, so the guy hasn't eaten in 6 years and people are still hassling him. Give the guy some peace!! If I go more than six hours without food I not only need to lay down, but am pretty cranky about it all! I guess that's the main difference between me and Buddha.


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18th February 2015
I climbed anyways, shhhh

Good advice?
I don't think ladies should be climbed either...unless they want to be climbed of course. :)
19th February 2015

I thought it was just me...
"Lizzie and I were confused at best, terrified at worst. We thought it was the Buddha story depicted, and then it all went sideways. We really liked the spiral staircase we found at one point, but really the whole inside experience made us want to drink." I feel that way more often than I should on some travels! Loving your Burmese adventures :)
19th February 2015
Snack time!

So sorry, but so glad...
Ok, so you missed the big Buddha festival, but in my opinion, you probably missed out on being crowded in with lots of people like the lady on the boat, "all about expressing herself with bodily functions, noises, and fluids" and in a scene from the inside of that Buddha. My experience in Latin America has steered me away from big festivals (I just flaked on Carnival) with everyone drinking their liter beers and peeing and falling over everywhere. Hopefully the Buddhists are more discreet than the Catholics, but I think you were better off with the Ogres.
22nd February 2015

Buses boats and tuk tuk's are the way to go in Burma. Sorry you missed the festival but sounds like a good time was had by all. Glad you are embrace the local foods. No telling what taste treats you will find. We didn't make it to this part of Burma so it was great reading your impressions.
22nd February 2015
Hat making in Mon village

Hat making
Nice photo

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