Nywoman in Thailand and Myanmar

Old Nov 11th, 2009, 12:21 PM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,121
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It's a mystery, even to me, Carol, and changes on a daily basis. I might let the secret out, very soon. But first, they have to let ME out. I'm surrounded by men with guns.

Now back to the main topic.
dogster is offline  
Old Nov 15th, 2009, 05:54 AM
  #42  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 897
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Dogster,
You certainly know how to make me happy. Was very concerned about you, now I know you are in my footsteps I feel better already.
Am now in Mandalay for the next 3 days
Nywoman is offline  
Old Nov 15th, 2009, 10:02 AM
  #43  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,121
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
And I'm not where I'm supposed to be. Heh. As usual. Look in your backpack. Maybe I'm there.
dogster is offline  
Old Nov 16th, 2009, 07:43 PM
  #44  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 897
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We make arrangements to meet the next morning at 6 am, I want to see the sunrise on the lake and also get a head start on the floating market, to get to the lake from Nyaung Shwe you go through a channel the ride is about 15 minutes. The mist is lifting and we pass fishermen who have slept on their tiny boats. About 7 o’clock we stop for a picnic on the lake. Ko Oo brought tea and hot water for instant coffee, as well as deep fried dough. Polo had gotten me sticky rice, the hotel provided bread and butter sandwiches and then we had bananas.

The night before I had wanted to buy bananas for breakfast and I was asked how many, 3 or 4 should do it I answered. The next thing I know he is handing me bunches, 1 bunch was 50 cents and was more than I could handle in 3 days. It was so nice. We then proceeded to the floating market in Ywama. We got there before any of the tourists but not before the souvenir boats. We never even went ashore, though the market had quite a few tribal women shopping. I did buy some flowers to put into my traveling vase. Asters and yellow mums were basically the only flowers for sale though I did see roses in bloom, but in private gardens.

We then went into a narrow channel leading to Indein, which was one of the places I had really wanted to see. We dock and make our way through bamboo groves along a small creek. It is early morning and mothers are bathing their children, we pass the empty market place that looks quite large. There are many novice monks playing around, like little boys do.

Today is a big religous holiday and they are free, some have money in their pockets and buy chewing gum, or other treats. They are laughing and giggling and absolutely adorable.

We continue our walk and come to the Stupas, There are hundreds of them in various states of ruin. Though these are much younger and it is completely different from Angor Wat there are similarities, as I see it. The jungle has taken over trees are growing in the middle of some of them, roots are holding some of the structures together. A striking difference is that here we walk on barely discernible paths, narrow footways and we are the only ones around, except for a young man with a little girl. Some of the stupas are beautiful, all of them have a Buddha inside. Not for the first time, do I wish I understood more of the religion. We continue walking around and come to a roofed colonnaded uphill walk to the Pagoda.

The Colonnade is lined on both sideas by shop keepers selling some really lovely things. I dare not stop and look, because as soon as I do I am surrounded by them, anxious to show their wares. After our visit to the main Pagoda and more Stupas, I stop at stall and buy a small hand painted box from an artist who has no arms and only one leg. He is extremely talented and has a smile that could melt anyone’s heart.

As we make our way back to the boat we encounter more children swimming in the creek, when they see us scramble up the bank to say hello. We come to a small souvenir stall and Ko Oo points out pictures of President Obama. The shopkeeper is so excited she has to show us her 2 ½ months old infant, called Obama, he is also dressed for November weather in the States, not Myanmar. It is really felt in this part of the country that the election next year will make a difference, and somehow Obama is a symbol for change.

We leave Indein, pass many boats with children going to school and more boats with novice monks, we make our way to Phaung Daw Oct Pagoda where it is almost impossible to move. The line to get into the Pagoda is three or four deep, families are having pinics on the grounds and the loudspeaker is blaring. After awhile it all starts to make sense. This is the ultimate making merit. There are tables lined up with bowls of raw rice, big bags on the ground to refill the bowls, and the process ion starts. It is heade by what appears to be a golden sedan, followed by two white lotus parasols and then the monks file by, monastery after monastery, as they are called by the loudspeaker, with their alms bowls held in front of them. I am very glad we came I was also able to see the golden ship that is launched on the lake in October. If I understood correctly this festival was to commemorate the founding of the Pagoda, but it could have been another reason too for this very religous holiday.

Time for lunch we end up at a lake restaurant and share pork fried rice and mixed vegetables, it was quite tasty, even if I think that Myanmar food is a little bland. The rest of the afternoon was spent visiting a family that make Cheerots, a process most different from any cigar making I have observed. They also had fish breeding pens, we amused ourselves by feeding the fish bananas . A total first, who have ever seen fish eating bananas, but these did. We also went to a silk weaving factory, it was interesting seeing how they made thread from the lotus plants. Since I was not in a shopping mode have no idea if prices were good or not, they did have beautiful things, though. Time to head back since tomorrow was going to be a very long day visiting the south lake.

In order to visit the southern lake which is called Sankar, you need permission, and a Pa O guide. You pay $5 admission fee and $10 guide fee at Golden Cottages, which are Pa O owned. Sankar is quite different looking from Inle, it appears much more prosperous with many, many wooden houses with their own generators and satellite disks. The lake is surrounded by rice fields and mountains and doesn’t appear to have as many floating gardens as Inle. We stop at a market which is very small. And since it is 10 am, is already winding down. It is not a very large market, there are some interesting things for sale, e.g. hand tooled knives and scissors, soy pellets used in curries, some textiles and since I didn’t know what to find in Ngpali I bought Longi. May be I need to be cover my bathing suit?.

The guide takes me to an old Shan village that have a Myanmar Buddha in it. The difference between Myanmar Buddhas and regular ones, is that the Myanmar has a crown on his head instead of the lotus knot. We saw some absolutely gorgeous Stupas later on, my guidebook with notes got lost in Mandalay so I will let Kathie describe the glorious sights.

All in all I spent 2 1/2 absolutely fantastic, wonderful days on the lake
Nywoman is offline  
Old Nov 17th, 2009, 07:08 AM
  #45  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nywoman
Your trip (adventure) sounds fantastic! Keep on giving us the details. I love reading your report.
Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Old Nov 17th, 2009, 07:47 AM
  #46  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,894
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
NY - we saw many of the same things at Inle Lake but it is fun to experience them again through your eyes.

Is this the Myanmar Buddha you are referring to?:
http://craigandjeane.smugmug.com/Tra...561_7ygkN-A-LB

I didn't know that about the crown versus the lotus knot...
Craig is offline  
Old Nov 17th, 2009, 11:29 PM
  #47  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 75,863
Received 22 Likes on 2 Posts
Loving the report, in particular Obama
starrs is offline  
Old Nov 18th, 2009, 04:18 AM
  #48  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 897
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Craig,
These were two buddhas on either side of regular buddahs. Not the reclining one, when I have normal internet connection will post pictures. They were in the Shan village.

Am sure there are only so many things to see, yet we all view things differently, I think. Tomorrow am off by boat to Bagan.
Liked Manadaly too, not enough time to see things in 3 days.
Nywoman is offline  
Old Nov 18th, 2009, 07:13 PM
  #49  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,049
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
see you on 25th in bkk
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Nov 19th, 2009, 12:28 AM
  #50  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,234
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Fanny, we loved Bagan! We had a horsecart driver who was fabulous. Mintu is his name, No 54 horsecart. 15000 Kyats per day sunrise to sunset (though both you and the horse will want a break mid-day).

We're back in Rangoon where the weather continues to be unbelievably hot, 40C here on our previous stay, almost as hot now.

Yes, we also got many comments about Obama. His speech at ASEAN has attracted the attention and raised the hopes of the people here. We had a fascinating conversation with a monk about this. Typically, when we say we are from the US, people say, "big country" and then "Obama."

Like you, we would have loved to have another day at Inle and more time at Bagan.
Kathie is online now  
Old Nov 19th, 2009, 09:02 AM
  #51  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 26,000
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Finally had access and time to read this - great report and great travel!
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Nov 22nd, 2009, 10:11 PM
  #52  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 897
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Craig,
Finally found out what the leaves are for. They are used for wrapping things in. The government is trying to curtail the use of plastic, and encourage natural materials to be used. So far I have only seen them wrapped around flowers.

Of course I think it would also help if the government educated the people in not throwing everything on the ground.
Then that would be an ideal world, wouldn't it.
Nywoman is offline  
Old Nov 22nd, 2009, 10:29 PM
  #53  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 897
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ngapoli

The plane is approaching the airport and as I am looking out over the Bay of Bengal and the beach of Ngapoli. I am once again so grateful for what I am experiencing, and also for the fact that my psyche permits me to travel like this. I am starting to recognize that perhaps my way of traveling at my age is a little different from most people’s comfort level. Be that as it may we are landing and no more time for philosophizing.

A tall man with a cane approaches me as I get out of arrivals, he is obviously German and informs me that he is the greeting committee for Lin Thar Oo hotel. He is also holding the hand of a young Burmese boy whom he claims saved his life at Inle lake. As it turns out he is staying at the other Lin That Oo hotel. The partners had a fall out so now there are 2 places with the same name. Everything gets sorted out and I am taken to the correct place.

This could be any Caribbean island, or tropical resort, long sandy beach, palm trees, hot sun and very crystal clear water. My cottage with a front porch, $20 per night, overlooks the beach, and it doesn’t take many minutes for me to change into my bathing suit, we are next door to an extremely posh resort, I see women in bikinis, my Longi wasn’t necessary after all. I make my way into the water, it is warm, bath tub warm, and very shallow, , It seems to take forever to get so that I can swim, when I do it is heaven. The water is surprisingly not very salty there are a total of 5 people in the water, and hardly anyone of the beach.

My next door neighbors are two young men from the Basque region of Spain, there is also a young Italian couple and a Polish physician and his wife staying at the hotel as well as a French man in his 60’s with his 21 year old Burmese wife and finally a German woman who comes for 3 months at a time for the last 10 years. Certainly an interesting group of people. The Spaniards and the Polish couple join me for dinner at the Friends restaurant up the road. The food is good and as usual the conversation flows. We decide to hire a boat for the next day to go snorkeling and fishing. We are indicating to the boat owner that we want to go snorkeling and fishing. These trips are arranged through the restaurants, not hotels. The Polish couple decline since they are leaving, but my two Spanish friends are very excited, as am I.

8.30 the next morning we set out and are in the middle of the bay when we drop anchor and start fishing. With my hook and calamari for bait manage to catch a few small ones. The big ones got away. When it was deemed that we had enough fish we go to a small island, where we go swimming while the captain and his mate start a grill and prepare the fish for lunch. This is where they suggest we should go snorkeling, around the cliffs, I feel the sea is too rough and decline as do the boys. The fish was delicious but we never got any snorkeling done. The cost for the day was $30.

The next day I went out with the Italian couple for half a day at $15 where we snorkeled and fished. The boat owner brought along his mate’s 10 year old son, because the father had been too drunk to make it. The two of them harpooned several Parrot fish, and we caught some more with our lines The snorkeling was very good, there wasn’t any coral but plenty of fish amongst the rocks, we even saw some barracudas. Then we went to another small island that was obviously set up for cooking the catch. While they grilled the fish we went to a fishing village nearby and bought lobsters off the boat, and a red Grouper all to be cooked for dinner at the local restaurant that evening.Unfortunately 2 of the lobsters were bad but we enjoyed the fish and the one survivor.

The next day left me without any playmates, I walked the entire beach, approx 3 miles, to the fishing village where the fish was laid out on netting to dry. Took some pictures of the women who sorted the fish and walked back, a pleasant way to spend a few hours. In my estimate there could not have been even 100 people spread out between the different hotels. After lunch, a swim, then spent the rest of the afternoon reading.

The following morning got picked up at 8.45 am for the flight to Mandalay, which was very delayed, we had a choice of returning to our hotels and I was invited to join some people at their,German owned, de luxe resort next to my hotel. We still used the same beach, they had a pool and AC and I am sure paid much more per night. My connecting flight to Mandalay from Yangon was at 3 pm we landed at 3 pm. Was whisked through the arrivals building through security and to the departure lounge where the flight was just boarding. Arrived in Mandalay as it was getting dark, and ready for more adventures.
Nywoman is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2009, 01:24 AM
  #54  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,234
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi, Fanny, the beach sounds heavenly. I'm looking forward to what you have to say about Mandalay.
Kathie is online now  
Old Nov 23rd, 2009, 08:53 AM
  #55  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,513
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
NYW I have only just found the time to read through this & love it. Burma has been on our "list" for a while & between you & Kathie it is now climbing up there! But we have a trip planned for India in Jan so it will be a while before we can head to Burma! Happy travels. J
jules39 is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2009, 06:59 PM
  #56  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,147
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just catching up to this. Very entertaining and interesting. I'm intrigued about your "travel vase." How does that work? When I stay in a hotel for A few days, I always try to have flowers but usually have to make do with hotel glasses and such.
My kind of traveling...
LAleslie is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2009, 07:06 PM
  #57  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 897
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The vase is collapsible plastic. I bought two sets of 3 at the museum in Seoul last year. Have also seen them in Sweden.

Since I have a spare will be happy to give it to you. We'll have to figure out how once I get back to the States.
Nywoman is offline  
Old Nov 24th, 2009, 12:07 AM
  #58  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,049
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
fantastic stories
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 03:46 AM
  #59  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 897
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Mandalay the first 2 days

It was already evening when I arrived at the totally charmless Hotel Hongtha, my room was adequate and it was within walking distance of the market and internet. The AC worked and the shower had hot water. What else can a weary traveler ask for?

Mandalay is as different from Yangon as night and day. The streets have mainly paved sidewalks and are for the most part walkable. There are no or very few sidewalk vendors, the ones that are sell food. The city is very flat, except for Mandalay Hill, and very spread out. There a large avenues and in general it appears to be much better kept than Yangon.

I was met the first morning by my driver who was also supposed to be my guide. His English was not very good so I insisted that his boss, who came along, and who spoke very good English be the driver for the day. He took me back to his house, to get changed, and I met several of the extended family. His father-in-law who was 92 with a mind as clear as a whistle, expounded on the upcoming election, in his opinion nothing will change. We had a pleasant chat, since his English was excellent, having been in the British army. There were many family photos with him, in the army, and at his wedding, hanging on the walls. All in all there are 4 families living in the house. The parents eat with James and his wife, the others cook and eat by themselves.

James, my driver was ready and off we went, he asked if I wanted to see how the gold leaf was made, since I did, said yes. It was interesting to see how it was pounded into these super-thin leaves and then put between sheets of bamboo paper. Grueling work, the pounding that is, great disappointment for the owner that I made no donation nor did I buy anything. Did however see a small shop with lacquered umbrellas and stopped to pick one up. Am not sure why I wanted it, nor what I am going to do with it, but I like it.

We are finally on our way to Amarapura, home of the famous U Bein’s bridge and also many pagodas including, Maha Ganayon Kyaung home to hundreds of monks which take their meal at 10.30 in silence.Though I had read about it, hadn’t really given it much thought, except that it could be an interesting experience. What I wasn’t prepared for when we arrived were the many tourist buses and hordes of people there to watch. Though I was as much of a voyeur as the others, it left me with a bad taste, there is something unseemly watching people line up for food and then watching them sit down to eat it.

Before we had gone to watch this ceremony, we had stopped at a temple that looked like an an amusement park, there was a reclining Buddha and many others. I was trying to find the name in L.P. and James offered to search for me, while I looked around. It wasn’t listed, and we left, when we had driven a few minutes I asked for the book and James realized he had left it on top of the car, we went back but nobody acknowledged seeing a Lonely Planet guide book. I wasn’t particularly upset since I thought it would be easy to replace it. This book is not sold in Mandalay used or otherwise, actually there are no guidebooks readily available. When we returned after the day’s outings I walked over to The Royal Guest House to see if they had an old copy. No such luck, but one guest had already been to Bagan so he cut out the relevant pages. Another lent me his copy so that we could Xerox the pages for Mandalay.

Anyway we continued on to Saigang which is home to 500 stupas and numerous monasteries. It has many very beautiful pagodas. I have to confess that, I have no idea how many I saw. Having lost my book, had problems locating where we were. It seemed we crossed bridges climbed to pagodas, crossed other bridges and climbed to more pagodas, yet when I asked is that the one we were just at the answer was almost always negative. I was very disoriented as to where we were, really missed reading or marking down what I had seen. We had lunch at the Chinese restaurant next to Happy Hotel, by the same name. It was expensive and not good at all, avoid it at all costs. I really liked what I saw and am very anxious to return fo9r further discoveries.

Next stop was the boat ferry to Inwa and a horse cart to see the sights. So far I had not had to pay any tourist fee, but when we got to Bagaya Kyaung the teak monastery, my $10, were duly handed over. The monastery was very nice, if a little spooky, I was alone and wasn’t sure if there were bats or birds flying above me, under the eaves so I made a rather hasty retreat. Next stop was the tower which I declined to climb and then onto a most magnificent pagoda, which I loved walking around. Inwa looked like a place that I would be most happy moseying around, apart from the 3 tourist sites it is very much a farming community, unfortunately, it was hard getting off the tourist paths.

Most of the day had gone and it was time for the sunset view at U Bein bridge, it didn’t look like there was going to be much of a show, the changing lights overlooking the opposite side of the river with the farmers tilling the earth was a very worthwhile sight. There were many beggars on the bridge and all they kept on saying was “money”, there were also many young courting couples, tourists and monks. One little girl totally stole my heart, all she wanted was her picture taken, she was so cute with pigtails and a smile that could melt icebergs. The young men loved my smiley stickers, wore them as earrings, and goofed off in general. Since the sunset was not going to be spectacular, James and I decided to leave. That night I had dinner at an Indian restaurant which was alright, and early to bed.

Woke up early and had my usual breakfast of fried rice with a fried egg. This must be one of the most delicious breakfasts invented, L.P.’s walking tour starts, decided to follow that for the morning. It was fun , especially the market which is situated in two buildings, it appeared that similar merchandise was grouped together. Have never seen so many flip flops ever, after awhile it becomes mind numbing seeing the same items over and over. What was really nice at the market was the fact that nobody hassled you. I had lunch at one of the outside stalls, where I also fed some begging street urchins. Continued walking and came across the vegetable markets that went on for miles. Now I understand the Myanmar reputation of being the largest consumer in the world of onions. They were everywhere ,mountains and sacks of them, little ones resembling shallots seemed to be the norm. After having walked for hours, in the heat, found an internet café that was air conditioned and popped in to cool down. It was on a street that only sold religious paraphernalia, including monks attire. Interesting seeing warm sweaters in different sizes, this was while I was trying to find yet another Pagoda, but somehow missed it.

The market went on for miles, finally I went down a small alley and hailed a trishaw to take me to the palace, since I had already paid my $10 might as well see some of the included sights. The Mandalay Palace and Fort and its grounds are surrounded by a square moat that is 230 ft wide and 2 miles long on each side. At this point I had no idea of distances, so I bargained the poor boy down to 2000 kyiats =$2 when I got to the East Gate of the palace I gave him his asking price, which was still a bargain.

The Palace grounds are also home to the military, many of the roads on the grounds are forbidden for visitors to enter. The road from the East Gate to actual Palace is quite long fortunately another trishaw driver was on hand. Did a quick tour of the palace, where I came across a group of nuns who insisted of having their pictures taken with me. They were having such a good time on their outing, running up the steps to the tower, giggling the whole time.

There was still time to see the Zoo, having gotten those Gibbons on my mind, and according to L.P. there were a lot of them at the new and quite nice Zoo, which were part of the palace grounds as I understood it. It was a fair distance and not part of the grounds. I arrived before they closed, but not before the Zoo train had stopped running. Paid my entrance fee and went in search of those apes. The grounds are very lovely but very poorly marked, I saw one lonely monkey and no other animals, rather a wasted visit. Time to head back to the hotel and dinner.
Nywoman is offline  
Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 05:17 AM
  #60  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,049
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
all very interesting and just the right amount of detail
rhkkmk is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:14 AM.