Nywoman in Thailand and Myanmar

Old Nov 8th, 2009, 04:35 AM
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Yangon continued,
Last night I went on the recommendation of the Englishman and his guide to Kandawghyyi Palace for dinner. It was the same place my friend Sue had recommended, and she had lived here for months.In a few words stay home, I had been told they had a puppet show and anyone who has read “The Piano Tuner” knows that a puppet show is a must. Note there is no puppet show at Kandawghyyi Palace, there is a very kitschy, actually rather sweet, set up with costumed people greeting you. There is a plentiful buffet for $12 and a 2 hour show with traditional dances. I have no problems eating by myself, but to be seated way up front at a table set for a single person on a raised level, made for many a curious glance.

As an aside, if anyone ever mentions the ugly Americans while traveling they have not met an Italian tour group. I had the great fortune of being seated next to one. They should have been filmed, and shown the reel.
Sue, this could not have been the place you had in mind????????????????

Today I went to see a temple where Buddah’s hair was enclosed in an ivory pendant, paid my foreigners fee, gave a donation to a begging monk, who I think sneered at what I gave him. Am not sure, though and will give it the benefit of a doubt. Took one of the small local buses to the Strand, it was too hot to walk, for lunch and had a lovely Lamb Burger, sometimes one has to have something different.

People are extremely puzzled by the fact I am alone it is invariably the first question asked, except by the touts who want to know where I am from.

My impressions are that though this is a very poor country, not as many beggars as in India, but with a far worse infra structure, there is a growing middle class. TV and Refrigerator shops are in abundance, as are electronic stores. Internet cafes have great connections, they are plentiful, and the cost is 40 cents an hour and are jam packed at night. Telephones may not be easily available, though cell phones are commonly used. The telephone booths are young women sitting at tables with a few really old telephones in front of them. At first I thought they were for sale, then I realized what they were for.

The supermarkets seem to be stocked with almost everything you can imagine and prices are not high by our standards. That said, the public buses, trains and taxis are in deplorable conditions, the taxi I came home with last night had no interior on the door, so the metal and everything was painted white to give the illusion.

Last dinner was at the Sarakan Tower purely for the view, a beer and a prawn dinner $7.50. The trio played lovely music, Gershwin and and all very easy to listen and dance too. Can absolutely recommend when you have a date.
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 05:22 AM
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Sounds like you are having a great trip. Can't wait to hear more next week at the GTG. In the mean while travel safe..Karen
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 05:35 AM
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NY - I reread my post to you and I see it comes across as critical rather than observant of your writing style. Of course you are not going to change it for me and of course there is no right or wrong way to travel - I am still enjoying your report. Please carry on...

We wanted to visit the Sarakan Tower for the view but never made it - sounds like we missed out.
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 06:44 AM
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loving the report
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 07:34 AM
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Enjoying your report and would love to return to Burma.
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 08:09 AM
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Sorry NYW but I must put in a good word for the Kandawghyi Palace as I wouldn't want others to cross it off their list of places to stay in Yangon.

We booked for 3 nights after a 10 week stay low on the hog at Motherland 2. It was our treat to ourselves, we deserved it. It was a great place to relax. We ate at three of the restaurants and enjoyed them all. We loved the jazz in the lobby too.

The low rise building is in traditional style and the grounds and pools are charming. The view at night from the open corridors to the illuminated Shwedagon is a bonus.

Our room overlooked Kandawghyi Park and lake, if you book be sure to ask for a room overlooking the park. At $53 a night the price was right. We didn't go to the "cultural show".

Only downside for us was that it is used by tour groups who tend to be sufficient unto themselves so not a great place to meet fellow travellers. For that Motherland is better.

Hope your health problems are behind you as you move on.

Sue
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 09:15 AM
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Hi Fanny, I love following along with you in Rangoon - we can't wait to get there!

A lamb burger at the Strand... isn't it funny what one craves in foreign countries? You've been traveling in SE Asia for more than a month now, I'm sure you need something different. One of the books we have has a story about eating lobster thermador at the Strand... somehow I doubt we'll do it, but it was a very evocative story.

Oh, and thanks for your comments about the supermarkets. I love going to supermarkets in other countries!
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 06:04 PM
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Am really enjoying this as I will be in Yangon and Bagan next month. Your impressions of Yangon - the train ride, the "telephone booth" are so vivid!
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 07:17 PM
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we also had a very nice meal at the palace hotel a couple of years ago..
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Old Nov 9th, 2009, 05:02 AM
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Inle Lake

What a bizarre thing it was to check into Air Bagan 6.30 am. Show my ticket, no ID, no passport absolutely nothing except a ticket was required. My luggage was under the limit, I was tagged with an Air Bagan label and waited with yet another Italian tour group, as well as one from Hungary. There were very few independent travelers, it seemed those that were had a guide with them. The flight was to make one stop, in Mandalay before proceeding to Heho, which is the airport closest to Inle Lake.

It was very fortunate that my seat companion was a very pleasant American, since the seats are very narrow, who was here on a return visit. He had somehow gotten hooked up with a guide and a school in the Delta, this time he was here with money to have desks and chairs built. Last visit he had brought school materials. We had a very nice conversation, especially about the merits of single travel, and N.J. politics. After a quick continental breakfast we landed in Mandalay, and were son airborne for the 30 minute flight to Heho. I had been advised by my travel agent to see if I could hook up with other travelers for the taxi to Nyangshwe, since it is $30. The first travelers I approached were a Dutchman and a Frenchman who already had a guide and driver with them. The next were two good New York boys, 26 years old living in Bangkok here for a short visit. We shared a cab and commiserated or gloated over the Yankees win depending on whom you spoke to of the two.

Checked into Paradise Hotel which is very pleasant, the staff is beyond pleasant and helpful. After settling into my room I walked down to the market which is very close and had some corn and onion fritters, followed by a delicious Shan Soup, unfortunately this is food that will not travel well, in the sense it won't translate to NYC. Then I walked to the Boat Landing, to book a boat, or so I thought, of course I read the map wrong, but had the good sense to ask for directions. I was escorted by several nuns and possibly grandfather and granddaughter who both spoke very good English. Travel karma prevails, or maybe it was the nun promising to pray to Buddha for me, I meet the perfect boatman for me. His English is quite good, he seems to totally understand my requests so off we go onto Inle Lake.

Nothing has prepared me for this lake, it is immense or so it seems flanked by mountains on the East and West sides, Nyangshwe to the North at the end of a long channel. There are many natural floating islands separated by water hyacinths. It is not until we finally reach what I think is the lake proper that there are clear waters. Ko OO that is the boatman’s name takes me to several villages, I see boats loaded with tomatoes, from the floating gardens. The famous Inle fishermen, with their bamboo cages, he stops very frequently so that I can observe how they fish, and take pictures. There are 4 different types of fishing taking place on the lake. The bamboo cages that are lowered into the water, then a triton is lowered into the center and pushed up and down in a churning motion to attract the fish. The next method are nets, the fishermen go out in teams lay the nets and then hit the water with bamboo sticks to scare the fish into the nets. The third method is line fishing with bait attached at regular intervals and last there was something I am not sure how to describe. There is a small handheld square piece of cloth attached to a frame that is lowered into the seaweed, dragged up and the fish picked out of the seaweed.

There are many different kinds of houses on the lake, some are ramshackle bamboo, others solid wood, there is an obvious have and have nots. Many of the villages consist of bamboo houses, some have aluminum roofs, which make them very hot, but require less upkeep. Wherever we traveled on the lake children would run to the windows wave and shout hello, which is in marked contrast to inland where they are afraid of white people and start to cry. That could be due to the fact that they are told “unless you behave the white people will get you”.

The lake is also home to floating gardens I don’t know the percentage but it seems a fair amount of produce gardening take place on these islands, The main crop appears to be tomatoes that are grown in mud from the bottom of the lake on these natural islands. The lake water used to be so clean you could drink it, that is no longer the case due to chemical fertilizers used for the crops. There are huge warehouses in Nyangshwe that ship the produce to Yangon and Mandalay. The output seems to be very large to warrant all those warehouses. I get a bit confused if I have been here or there, since there are so many village actually on the lake and most seem to resemble each other also don’t know if the tomato islands are new or already seen.

This morning we got a 6 am start and went to the floating market at Ywama, was there at 7 am way before the tourists. It was interesting seeing the tribal women down from the hills. Today is also a large religious day. If I understood it correctly it is commemorating the day the Phaung Daw OO Paya was founded. There were hundreds of novice monks in Indein having the day off. Bubblegum was blown, candy purchased and apart from the robes they were just little boys on holiday. Will report further tomorrow.
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Old Nov 9th, 2009, 05:22 AM
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I'm enjoying reading about your adventures. Thanks!
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Old Nov 9th, 2009, 05:41 AM
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I am enjoying reading your report. I am so impressed that you are doing this trip on your own. I think that being a "NY women" has given you a lot of courage. I am originally from NY, and my DH feels that those roots have affected my personality in a major way. But I definately would not have the courage to travel independently to some of the countries you have travelled to. My hat is off to you.
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Old Nov 9th, 2009, 06:09 AM
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My favourite Myanmar airport memory is of the ground crew at Bagan standing by the runway to wave bye bye as we left. Sue
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Old Nov 9th, 2009, 06:38 AM
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great reporting...i see the picture
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Old Nov 9th, 2009, 07:30 AM
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We are following in your footsteps. I can't wait to get there!
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Old Nov 9th, 2009, 09:32 AM
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Fanny-is it true that you scared young children? It seems so out of character. Maybe you have a hidden side. keep on writing, please.
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 04:49 AM
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Have not been able to finish my Inle report. Lack of electricity which means a very dark room, hard to see to write. It is back up right now hence the internet.

Have explored the lake for 2 1/2 days as much as one is allowed to it is absolutely lovely. Am off to Ngpali tomorrow am according to L.P. internet is almost non-existent there will post as soon as possible.

Wonkyknee
I will try to give you some idea of costs when I have figured them out myself. So far it is not expensive meals average $5-$10 the lower range when I eat local. Hotels Around $30 or so depending on which class you want. Flight approx $80 per leg.
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 09:39 AM
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Heya NY: I'm following along, every inch of your way. Like you, I'm in and out of internet contact, so it's difficult to keep my best wishes and support coming in regularly. Just know I'm watching and traveling with you. Hugs from outer space.
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Old Nov 10th, 2009, 06:25 PM
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dog... where are YOU?? Have you said where you are traveling this time?
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Old Nov 11th, 2009, 01:32 AM
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Hello from Rangoon!
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