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Published: February 15th 2007
Staking out our spot on top of Buledi
Another long-winded blog entry for the punters. Like I mentioned previously, the internet in Myanmar is bloody hopeless, and not helped by the frequent power outages and random rainstorms.
Caught the boat from Mandalay to Bagan. As the river was really low we had to be transported 18kms downstream to board near Sagaing. Supposed to be the fast boat, but it took 11 hours meandering from one side of the river to the other. Even Ian (bugger) got to Bagan by bus before I did. Oh well, at least I got 3 seats to myself to snooze the day away.
On arrival at Old Bagan jetty, there was a desk waiting to nab a US$10 govt entrance fee on all foreigners. Managed to scoot around on the pretext that I already had a ticket. Hooray! They never ask to see it anyway.
How best to describe Bagan? Kind of like "Temple Kingdom" (same as Disney World, and flat as a tack to boot) - a huge theme park filled with wondrous temples, stupas and buddhas. Best way to temple-hop is by bicycle, even if you have to sometimes peddle through boggy sandy roads and walk through someone's paddock.
Temples as far as the eye can see
Thousands of temples on the Bagan plain. Stunning view from the top of Mi-nyein-gon looking towards Mt Popa.
Visited 8 temples on the first day, and another 7 the following day. Very dusty and hot. What I liked most was that you could discover and explore little-visited and out-of-the-way places (very peaceful), and marvel at the colourful wall murals only visible by torchlight. But 2 days is more than enough.
Then it was onto Inle Lake (Nyaungshwe town) on the most tortuous bus journey of my life. Nothing like bumping along dusty and windy roads on a thinly padded wooden bench with your legs wedged under the front seat for 12 hours.
Hired a boat to tour the lake's sights with an Aussie couple. Dirt cheap at 11000 Kyat (about A$10) for the whole day. The amazing thing is that the locals can row with one leg to give their arms a rest. But what I enjoyed the most was the Jumping Cat Monastery where some (presumably bored) monks taught their cats to jump through hoops. Hilarious! Even stayed for the next performance.
Last day was spent in Yangon watching a Bollywood movie called "Krrish", and paying respects to the National Flag of Myanmar in the movie theatre. Don't know what was funnier -
Sandstone bas-relief on pillar
the movie itself (great over-acting & cheesy musical numbers) or the locals cracking up at the visual gags even though the movie was in Hindi with English subtitles. Great entertainment and a bargain at 500 Kyat - about 40 cents.
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