There are no proper jetties at most of the stopping places along the river, so it is a matter of walking along a gangplank and then clambering up steps carved out of the river bank. The staff are out in force helping everyone with smiles and "mingle a bar" (Burmese hello). We walked along the dried mud paths, which are totally flooded during the monsoon season, and into a large village. Each family in the village has a large house where they all live and sleep together. In the dry season they live on the ground floor and during the monsoon season they move up to the upper level. Historically this village is important because it is where the first Anglo-Burmese treaty was signed in the 19th century to end the 1st Anglo-Burmese war. It is also very important because of its pottery making. Each family makes thousands of pots a year, each with its own design so that they can tell which is theirs when they come out of the kiln. The pots are made from a mixture of clay from the river, sand from the river bank and dried rice husks. They are shaped and hammered by
the women who have more patience than the men to hammer them into shape. They also must have strong arms as each pot weighs a lot. We watched one of the ladies shaping and hammering her pots. They start at 3 in the morning when it is cooler and go on until they have made the 30 or so pots. Any broken pots get recycled and are used as supports for the mud walls at the sides of the path. The only electricity is from a solar panel for each house and all the cooking is done on a wood fire on the ground. They clearly have very little in the way of possessions but all were clean and looked happy enough. All the pots are exported to China and Thailand and presumably some to the West. After this fascinating tour round the village we went to the local school where the most adorable children were assembled to sing songs for us. We took pens and stationary for the school and others had brought clothes and toys. The class rooms are very basic but they were all keen to learn. They must think we are a strange looking bunch!
I am a retired doctor with 2 kids, one of whom lives in Australia so travelling to the other side of the world has become second nature. Apart from socialising and gardening, travelling is my favourite hobby. I love travelling with my husband as we have the same likes and dislikes when it comes to food, wine and things to do (apart from sport that is !)
Former TravelPod Member: tizwoz
Joined: October 11th, 2008From: England lives in Sutton,United KingdomFavorite Book: Any fantasy or science fictionFavorite Movie: Lord of the RingsFavorite Music: Prefer peace... full info