Saturday, February 15, 2014

Myanmar - Day 3 - Inle Lake Morning

Fishermen on Inle Lake on a foggy morning

On our third day we set out early onto Inle lake. It was pretty cool - maybe 45 F - and there was a light fog on the lake.

Turns out this guy was just posing for pictures looking for a little cash. When I realized what he was up to we moved on.

This is what passes for electrical infrastucture at Inle lake. In general, it seemed that most homes had electricity. Running water seemed to be whatever was pumped out of the lake. Perhaps the larger villages had a water system but I didn't see any sign of it.
Vegetable seller at floating market on Inle Lake

First up on the itinerary was the floating market. Turns out the most of the market floats only when the lake is higher. We were visiting in the dry season and the lake level can fluctuate through the year up to 6 feet.

I have no idea what these are. If anyone knows, I'll update the blog and give you credit.

Remember the old anti-smoking campaign - "Smoking really does make you look older?"

Check out these two sisters.

Click to enlarge.
Peanut and sesame snack at floating market on Inle Lake

The peanut and sesame brittle was pretty good. I bought some.

Silver workshop on Inle Lake in Myanmar

After the floating market we headed to the silver jewelry factory. They start from ore and smelt it and refine it right there. The blue stuff is nitric acid. The silver has been reduced by copper added to the solution. Looks like it would be an OSHA and EPA nightmare.

Margot couldn't resist making a purchase. It is a very trusting society. We didn't have enough US cash with us and they didn't want to take the bank charge on a credit card. Solution, give us the silver and ask us to give our local tour guide the cash the next day.

Our tour leader Feng Cheng took this picture.

We then headed up the Indein River to Shwe Indein Pagoda. The river had a series of these little dams to keep the water high enough to irrigate the fields on either side of the river. They are made of bamboo with a gap in the middle with only horizontal pieces. The boats just slide right over.

The river is used for everything. Water source, bathing, washing clothes, transportation. These folks are loading bamboo for transport down stream.

Shwe Indein Pagoda dates back to the 11th century. Some of the pagodas were in an advanced state of disrepair.

Here is a Google Maps link if you are interested in where it is located.

Shwe Indein Pagoda
Temple at Shwe Indein Pagoda

This temple has been around for awhile. You can scramble up the former steps and take a look at the Buddha inside.
Buddha inside a stupa at Shwe Indein Pagoda

This is the Buddha inside. Notice that the Buddha's fingers are all the same length and that his earlobes touch the shoulders. I understand this is characteristic of Burmese Buddhas.

The frescoes have taken a beating. I hope they can protect these before they disappear.

After this we walked up a road to another to the main collection of stupas.

Anyone know what this is? Those are recycled whiskey bottles. The signs will tell you.

This is a gas station for the motorbikes widely used in the area. The gas is pumped out of the barrel in the background into the bottles.

The road is under construction. The improvement will be significant especially in the rainy season.

That's a Chinese made truck.
Hill tribe women carrying firewood at Shwe Indein

As we continued up the road we encountered these women hauling firewood on their back. I understand that they are from a hill tribe as indicated by their turbans.

There were hundreds of these stupas at the top of the hill.

After lunch we continued to back to the main lake to continue the tour. More on that in the next post.

If you missed the earlier postings you can find them at these links.

Myanmar - Day 1 - Yangon
Myanmar - Day 2 - Yangon and Trip to Inle Lake

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