Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Myanmar - Day 2 - Yangon and Inle Lake

Sule Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar

Our second day in Myanmar started with a quick tour of downtown Yangon. This is a picture of the central park and the Sule Pagoda in the middle of the main traffic circle in downtown Yangon.
High Court building in Yangon, Myanmar

There is a fair amount of colonial period architecture in Yangon. This is the High Court building.

However, a lot of the buildings are not in good shape. I understand the government has a policy to preserve and rehabilitate the older structures.

Friday was the first day of Chinese New Year (year of the horse) and this was on display in the hotel lobby. Why a red horse? Well, since ancient times a monster called Nian has terrified the countryside on the second new moon after the winter solstice. Nian would go around eating people - especially children. The good news is that the Chinese discovered that Nian is afraid of the color red and loud noises. Consequently, Chinese all over the world splash red all over in decorations and set off firecrackers to frighten Nian and keep him away. It is very effective - there has not been a single documented case of Nian eating anyone for thousands of years.

There are a fair number of ethnic Chinese in Myanmar. I guess this isn't too surprising since they share a border. This is some sort of Chinese celebration. It looks like a dragon dance troupe but that is usually at a different time of year.
Bogyoke Market in Yangon, Myanmar

We headed over to the main market. It seems to be a regular market but tourists were catered to as well.
Puppet vendor in Bogyoke Market in Yangon, Myanmar

Margot bought some stuff here. The store owners were more than happy to have their picture taken.
Art vendor in Bogyoke Market in Yangon, Myanmar

Myanmar could learn something from Vietnam about marketing their art and artists. It is very low key here. I thought this was quite colorful although we didn't buy anything.

The telephone and power wires reminded me of Thailand. I'm not sure how you ever sort out a problem with a particular line.

Click to enlarge.

Here is another building slated for renovation. It is the old railway administration building. It will be converted into a high end hotel, I understand.
Recllning Buddha at Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda in Yangon

After the market we visited Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda to see the reclining Buddha. This is a fairly new version of the Buddha that has been at this location since the early 1900s. The Buddha used to be outside but they build a shelter during the last renovation.
Tom and Margot in front of the reclining Buddha at Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda

This thing is huge - about 200 ft long. That's Margot and me in the foreground.

Buddha's footprints (in the context of fingerprints) show images representing the 108 lakshanas or auspicious characteristics of the Buddha.

I took this out the bus window. I'm not sure if this is the right side or the wrong side of the tracks but I was surprised at how close the houses were to the rail line.

After the reclining Buddha we headed to the airport for our flight to Heho aand Inle lake. These ladies look like airline employees but for some reason they were dressed in traditional dress. They were happy to put down their cell phones and pose.

Our flight was a little late so I amused my self by photographing the pretty flight attendants.

The trip involved a flight, a bus and a boat ride to get to the hotel.

We arrived at the village of Nyaungshwe for transfer to the hotel.

This isn't exactly the type of boat I had envisioned. That's our luggage being loaded into the boat.

A little surreal but I guess dock space is at a premium. This lady was washing clothes from the dock as we boarded the boats.

Click here for the location on Google Maps --> Nyaungshwe

Here are 4 of the ladies from our group as our boat passed them. It was a very international group. These ladies are from France, Nicaragua, Slovenia (look it up) and India.

It was a little cool as we scooted across the water. Everyone was wearing jackets when we arrived.

Boats are the main mode of transportation on the lake. There are essentially no roads near the lake. These boats are carrying tourists back to town at the end of the day as we were heading out onto the lake.
A fisherman using the leg rowing technique on Inle Lake in Myanmar

There were a lot of fishermen out on the lake. They use a rather unique leg-rowing technique.

We stayed at the Myanmar Treasure Resort. It was very nice. It is build on stilts on over the lake.

I wasn't expecting this. The entertainment at dinner was this guy singing mostly country and western songs. He also did some Beatles, Bee Gees, etc.

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