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Elaine and Peter’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 20 Mar 2016

Location: My in Mu, Myanmar

MapThis morning, the guided walk from the mooring into town was full of glimpses of the way of life of the locals. We were fascinated as we wandered along the dusty road, dodging rickshaws, mopeds and other types of vehicle going about their day of life. We congratulated ourselves for being vaccinated against rabies when we saw the condition of the numerous dogs lazing by the riverside.

You can find most things made by hand at the roadside: the wood carver making Buddhas, the car mechanic with a couple of tools, a watch repairer, a mangle for squeezing out the sugar from the cane, the sellers of gold, fuel filled empty water bottles to refill your moped....the wood carver with his giant statues of Buddha and much more.

Today and every day is market day so the centre of the town was thriving. Again, it was fascinating wandering round the narrow alleyways crammed with stalls of every kind, the most interesting section was where the food was sold. Astonishingly, there is no fresh fish or meat here, it is all dried or salted but it was with the vegetables that we showed our ignorance. The number of vegetables and herbs which we failed to recognise was unbelievable.

And to cap it all, we had our cheeks painted with a type of muddy mixture made from grinding down wood and adding water. Many of the women here use this type of decoration. I do hope it washes off!

After lunch, we took to the bus.... to drive the one and a half hours to Sagaing hill in the area of Mandalay.
The view of the countless stupas, spires and pagodas towering above the Irrawaddy was very impressive despite the heat haze. The maze of stepped walkways and colonnades threaded their way through palms and mango bushes to reach the monuments.
This is sacred ground for Buddhists and is a centre for pilgrimage. The most famous landmark is the Sun y Ponya Shin Pagoda with it's huge guided stupa.

We stopped briefly after this at a silvermith's workshop before driving to the jetty. From here we took a very dodgy tin boat, decidedly overcrowded to take us across the Myitnge River to Inwe, an ancient city.
Once landed on this island, we took an hour and a half ride via horse and cart along very bumpy tracks to explore the more famous monuments. The track wound it's way through rice paddies, fields full of the dustiest looking cabbages and banana plantations surrounding very rustic and basic villages.

The three main sites were impressive:- the leaning tower of Inwa, the magnificent ornately carved teak monastery called Bagaya Kyaung, and finally the brick structured Mahia Aungmye Bonzan monastery. The cart took us back to the ferry.

The journey back across the river on the by this time very dodgy boat was a little disconcerting...planks of wood covered the bottom of the boat so that your feet didn't get wet, and the engine had failed so we were tied by rope to a second ferry which the dragged us back across the water.

another new experience.....mmmmm.
and by the itinerary for tomorrow, it looks like mother very long day!
We have been warned that the forecast is for extreme heat!!