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Trip Start Jul 31, 2008
137Trip End Jul 31, 2010
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We took a taxi for about an hour into Kalaw. We had to take two taxis since 5 of us couldn't fit in one car. We followed where Danielle and Warren were going
We finally made it to the head of the trail we started our trek through a small village. They were drying red chilies and garlic. The trek was gradual up and downs, but nothing too strenuous. We'd go past places where there were children. They'd always run up and yell "buh- bye" over and over and over again. It was adorable. We saw people working in the fields, walking water buffalo, and riding on their carts pulled by two oxen. It was very surreal and I felt like I was in a time warp
The highlight of the entire week was the time at the monastery. The monastery was in the valley of the mountains and the temperature dropped quite drastically. It was a lot colder than we were expecting it to be and a lot cooler that during the day. We arrived and shortly had dinner made (a cook traveled with us along with a guide). Our cook made lentil bean soup, cold tomato salad with garlic and onion, French fries, white rice, and tons of grilled vegetables. It was a delicious way to end the day.
At the monastery, there were two adult monks and ten junior monks. The ten boys were there because their families couldn't afford for them to go to school- which everyone has to pay for, even public school. After they get their education from the monastery, they can decide if they want to continue on to be adult monks or go back to their families and work. We had pads on the floor, a couple pillows, and some warm blankets to sleep with.
At 5am, the junior monks are up and saying prayers
By 8am we were on our way for the rest of our trek. We had another 14 km to go for a total of 30 km. We traveled through the mountains and valleys of Myanmar. It was not quite as beautiful as the day before, but was still quite wonderful. We did go past a school and completely disrupted class! It was a one room school with five differenct chalk boards. Each grade level had its own section and there were two teachers for all five grades. We noticed that some of the students in first grade looked really old and some in the older grades looked really young. When you start school in Myranmar, you start in first grade. So if you are 8 years old when you start, you still start in first grade. It is an interesting concept and it doesn't seem to both any of the students because that is the norm.
Jessica, Pavla, and I went ahead of Danielle and Warren since Warren was having some difficulty with the long walk. He is 64 years old and Danielle is 65, so I was impressed they did as well as they did. We ended up at the bottom of the trek about an hour or so in front of them. It was about 2:30 in the afternoon, I think. We waited for them of course, enjoying the shade and some snacks. After they made it to the bottom we let them rest of a little while and then we all got in a motor boat and headed down the river to Inle Lake. It took about an hour on the riverboat, going through villages. We dropped Warren and Danielle off at their guesthouse and then continued across the lake to where we were staying.