soft drizzle

that soft
monsoon drizzle
reminds me
of rainy
sundays at
the hotel
swimming pool
when we
had the
pool to
ourselves because
who else
would go
swimming in
the rain?

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what we did in nyaung shwe

we arrived in nyaung shwe early morning and
woke up at a leisurely pace and decided to explore

one of the fun things to do is
to rent a cycle and move around

we cycled past a barber’s salon
as the wife showed us some mask
they use at some performance there

the destination for the day was the
red mountain vineyards and winery

which is located in a beautiful hill
overlooking the Shan valley and we
decided to taste some Burmese wine too

we then cycled to maing thou village
and spent time watching people and soaking
in the sights while we went for a short boat ride
Nyaungshwe11
what impressed me most was the clear reflection
of houses where they lived in the still water of the lake

i also enjoyed meeting the many boatmen/ women/ children
who rowed the boats with their legs -a special talent and tradition

during the boat ride, our boat lady got me a lotus
Nyaungshwe18
after we got off the boat, we sat on the bridge
and watched Burmese students return from school

we then bought some fried fish
from our boat lady’s stall and hung
out with a badass grandma drinking tea

Nyaungshwe25
We then rode past this beautiful garden of sunflowers
and got permission from the house owners to take pics

but what a day
dreamy and surreal
Nyaungshwe28

 

 

 

 

 

two days in bagan: day two

the second morning in bagan was slightly clearer
and people had managed to get into hot air balloons too
we found a temple where we could climb and watch these balloons
bagantemples3
we then went to the new bagan market near our hotel
these markets are the ultimate destination for fresh produce

but i feel more drawn to the fresh flowers that is available
since everyone probably has an altar or visit the pagodas/ temples,
these fresh flowers are possibly required and add much reverence and beauty

one of the interesting sighting of the day was seeing
a herder trying to get his goats to the other side of the road

for lunch we sat outside one of the temples
in a local food joint and relished the good meal
watching tourists and monks all enjoy the afternoon

and the temple hopping continued…
i like how the Burmese have water vessels
for thirsty travellers outside temple premises

one of the interesting finds was a replica
of the mahabodhi temple from bodhgaya

but we found the only hindu pagoda and
was fortunate to have a guide explain it all

but i enjoyed some shots from inside this temple
more than the history and the stories that she told us

thatbyinnyu phaya is one of the bigger  temples
that we had been riding past here the last few days
but as we walked around this evening it felt so grand and
i was in awe of not just these structures but the people who made it
bagan17
for sunset found a nice temple to climb
but others had made similar discovery too

it was the perfect ending to a beautiful day in bagan

two days in bagan: day one

we had been told of bagan sunrises so we set off early morning
on our bikes except it was drizzling and a sunrise was nowhere in sight

despite an uneventful but beautiful morning
we got back for breakfast and got some journaling done

it was a rainy day but we biked to the mani-situ market
which was full of life and energy as we bargained for souvenirs
bought a pirated George Orwell book enjoyed a scrumptous Burmese lunch

and when you get out of the market and walk around a bit
you see the version of irrawaddy like the calm before the storm

after that we stepped into a trendy “friends cafe” for coffee
and saw a painting of aung san sui ki along with other paintings

a part of me have been wanting to find out how Burmese people
feel about her with recent rohngiya crisis and international criticism
it was nice to see her still revered and find room in a painter’s imagination

the remaining afternoon was spent temple hopping
and these archaeological structures tell so much of the
history, religion and environment of the people of Burma

they have also found humor in attracting tourists
as this particular sign read ‘leaning pagoda of pisa’
to tell of a tilted pagoda that was definitely in need of repair

 

 

Irrawady River Cruise

We got on our boat
before the break of dawn
as the orange sunrise welcomed us

across -the sun kissed pagodas
shone in its glory and glistened

we soon crossed the irrawaddy bridge
irra11
our next stop was at the pottery village of yandabo
the place where the first Anglo-Burmese treaty was signed

the village had some cool children
who lived life in their own terms felt like

we went back on our boat
supported by this thin plank…

the better part of the afternoon
went on watching the other boats
and the coals they were transporting

the final hour on the cruise was breathtaking
as little white clouds exploded in the crisp blue sky.

 

 

 

two days in mandalay: day 2

for the second day in mandalay
we booked a one day tour for $18
and that was probably a good plan coz
we got to see a lot of things in just one day

first, we went to the myanmar handicraft workshop
where artisans were busy working on intricate designs
apparently much of their handicraft is exported to China.

then we went to u bein bridge because our guide said
that it would be crowded later and the next monastery was nearby
but instead of crossing the bridge we hung out with the fisherman below

indeed the next stop was at mahagandayon monastery, amarapura
where tourists line up on two sides of the road to see Buddhist monks
get in line for their lunch. i didn’t quite enjoy this spectacle but the chinese
tourists at least brought some crackers, candies and eatables to give to them

then we went to see the weaving industry & shop
i like how they promote local artisans and weavers
it makes you want to buy their work just by seeing it

then we had to catch a boat to the ancient city of ava

at ava, they took us from one temple to another in these bullock carts
and this would be the beginning of our pagoda hopping exercise in myanmar

for sunset we went back to the u bein bridge
and there were lots of people but hardly a sunset
nonetheless, this teak bridge is iconic since it appeared
in the cover of Amitav Ghosh’s famous novel The Glass Palace

and the best street food discovery for Day 2 in mandalay
was this awesome combination of ice-cream and coconut flesh…

 

 

two days in mandalay: day 1

we reached mandalay at 6:30 am
and had the whole two days to explore

our first sighting were these little monks reading in a roadside library
and our first meal was so good, fresh and only about forty rupees for one…

then we walked to the mandalay palace -the residence of the last Burmese king
but ended up walking to the entrance where foreigners were not allowed to enter
so we ended up taking mobike taxis and went through the main entrance with others

Inside the palace, we were in awe
the golden pagoda architecture told
a story of a rich and wealthy royal family

the palace gardens were well kept
and made good photo opps for visitors

but i specifically enjoyed climbing the wooden watchtower
and looking down at the vast complex of the mandalay palace

we decided to take an auto back to the market area
lucky for us, we had a lady boss driving us back

we got dropped off at the zay cho market and
street food in southeast asia is always so exciting

but the best part of Day 1 in Mandalay
was this golden yellow pagoda that lit up as dusk came
looking exactly how i imagined Myanmar pagodas to be like
pagoda