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March 18th 2015
Published: June 22nd 2017
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Old Palace WallOld Palace WallOld Palace Wall

The palace grounds (2km square, encircled by the moat) now house government officials and their families. It's like a large gated community.
Geo: 22.0069, 96.1026

We have rearranged today's schedule because we were going to see pottery, vegetable markets, pagodas and a horse and cart ride again. Instead we now have wood carving, golf leaf hammering, silver smithing, a short ferry ride and an optional cart ride. Importantly we now expect to have time to check out the main Mandalay market before getting back to the hotel and enjoying another massage this afternoon.

I was fascinated by the gold leaf hammering. The wood carver also was a tapestry vendor and the workshop and shop were interesting. The silversmiths were at lunch so we had an abbreviated visit there, and the consensus was that their shop was too expensive. We had a local passenger ferry ride across a small river to our lunch venue, then another dusty and bumpy horse and cart ride to view another teak monastery.

All this took a lot longer than our guide expected and we didn't get back to the hotel until 4:45pm, without a stop at the market. Not happy, Jan.

We had a brief happy hour at the bar and another great dinner at the hotel. The quantity and variety of food at the buffet encouraged serious over-eating but
Gold leaf makingGold leaf makingGold leaf making

Pure gold is rolled out to a thin strip, ready for conversion to gold leaf. Small pieces of the gold strip are sandwiched between specially-made bamboo paper in 200 layers! This giant sandwich is then hammered for 30 minutes. Each piece of flattened gold is then split into six (we now have 1,200 layers) and hammered for another 30 minutes.
what the hey, we're on holiday!


Additional photos below
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More hammeringMore hammering
More hammering

The thick gold/bamboo paper sandwich is rhythmically hammered with a 6lb hammer, at about one beat per second. After the first hour of hammering, the gold is transferred to larger sheets of paper and consolidated down to 740 layers. This is then hammered for another 5 hours to get the gold to the required size. Incidentally, the making of the bamboo paper is another story, including a soaking in a lime solution for 3 years. Fascinating!
Ferry, 'cross the Myitnge...Ferry, 'cross the Myitnge...
Ferry, 'cross the Myitnge...

A short ride across the river to the old capital, Inn Wa.
Bagaya MonasteryBagaya Monastery
Bagaya Monastery

For me, the only interesting thing about this umpteenth teak monastery, was the impressive size of the timbers used in its construction. The circumference of this corner post is more than 9ft.


19th March 2015

Has Robyn managed to get to any markets...if not I am starting to feel sad for her.
19th March 2015

I always knew there was a use for our bamboo
21st March 2015

Yes, there have been (limited) market opportunities. We have no formal plans for our last day in Bangkok and I think markets for Robyn and pool time for me will be on the agenda.
25th March 2015

Great reading and fascinating. What perseverance and i often wonder with such achievements what were they doing or thinking at the time to lead to these creations.

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