Last Day in Bagan

Trip Start Mar 04, 2006
1
7
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Trip End Apr 13, 2006


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Monday, March 13, 2006

My last afternoon I rented a horse cart to get around Old Bagan. To be honest, all the sitting on wooden chairs and riding dirt roads on a bicycle had left me a little "saddlesore". The family genetics didn't exactly provide me with a lot of natural padding...

Much like the tuk-tuk drivers in Bangkok, the horse cart drivers have the commission system wired. This means you are going to hit some shops as you navigate between temples. To be honest, that wasn't such a bad thing here. Some of the shop keepers are very entertaining, and haggling over little things can be fun. Sometimes the most fun is when you shake your head and walk away. Often they chase after you, slashing their previous rock bottom price drastically to make the sale. The most fun though, were the kids. It's their summer vacation now, and hawking trinkets to tourists is there summer job. I had four of them follow me around a temple for 15 minutes, with the boys telling me how great Americans are, and the girls telling me how handsome I was. About halfway through the temple, as you look down from that ancient fresco, they all pull out whatever it is they've got to sell and start pushing it at you. It's all a game, and once they see that you're onto it, everyone has a good laugh. Afterwards, I stopped outside for a cola, and as I was drinking it in the shade of the cart, one of the girls came back for a second try. She was so determined, I ended up buying from her. I made her promise not to tell her friends until after I left though, so I wouldn't leave being chased by a horde of kids yelling "you buy mister, lucky money!"

All in all the horse cart was a good idea. I saw some great temples that I had missed on my own, and got to watch the sunset from the roof of an abandoned monastery. Getting up there was interesting. I had to climb three steep staircases through a passageway not much wider than my shoulders, with my only light being what filtered through the cracks in the bricks.

There was one drawback to the horse cart I guess. My driver was an enthusiastic beetle (sp?) nut chewer. This is pretty much the Asian version of chewing tobacco, just grosser. It stains their teeth red, and results in a lot of spitting. At one point my driver turned and started talking to me, and I (shudder) felt something land on my face. For probably the only time in my life, I thought "please god, let that have been horse crap that just hit me in the face. Please."

Time's up in Bagan, next stop Kalaw.
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