Towel clad mountain people and life on stilts
Trip Start Nov 21, 2013
8Trip End Dec 16, 2013
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Men are plowing their plots the old fashion way with a cart powered by oxes, women working in the field while their small ones are napping next to them on blankets, birds are singing. This country is so beautiful!
After about 5hrs of hiking and lunch at a local home, we have arrived at our destination and home for the night. A small village with a little temple and the local “bar” where men are playing cards and getting drunk. My thought is that the women does most of the work around here… I have done homestays all over the world and think it is a nice way to get to know the culture a little better, while supporting hardworking people. It is quite interesting to get to see a slice of their everyday life, which includes everything from no electricity, no running water, pit toilets (if any at all) and animals living basically inside of your home. It certainly makes you appreciate how fortunate you are if you can turn on your lights and drink the water out of your tap. Not to mention the incredible luxury of having hot water. Here one goes to sleep when the sun sets and, yes you guessed it, you get up and the crack of dawn to the sweet sounds of coughing and spitting by your family members, along with the scraggily sounds of a tired rooster.
Another 5hrs of hiking trough breathtaking landscapes takes you to the beauty of Inle Lake. It is incredible to see all the homes built high up on stilts, high enough to stay above water in the rainy season. Inle Lake children can swim before they learn how to walk and will quickly become masters at maneuvering the only means of transportation that is necessary- boats
I stay on the lake for three nights, exploring the area. Here is the only place where the desirable lotus fabric is woven and monks robes are exported from Inle Lake to monasteries around the world. One can go to the shop where this incredibly expensive fabric is created from the loved and treasured lotus flower stems. I visit the famous Nyaung Shwe monastery (oval window monastery), get massages and ooohh and aahhhh when the one-legged fisher men balance on one leg, paddle with the other and use their hands for fishing. These guys are so good, I'm thinking they should start a Cirque de Solei Burma-style here on the lake.
A skip, hop and a flight away and I land in Yangon, Burma's largest city and home to the massive Shwedagon Pagoda, a ton of bustling open-air markets, churches, buddhist temples and mosques alike
My last night in Burma is spent watching the sun go down over the Shwedagon Paya, the most sacred of all Buddhist sites in the country, which every Burmese wishes to visit at least once in their lifetime. This massive golden structure rises almost 100 meters (322ft) above it's base and is surrounded by a dizzying amount of pagodas, Buddhas, golden towers etc, etc, etc. I would call it the "Buddha World" as an answer to the western "Disney World"- the happiest place on Earth. I hope this beautiful country will be able to keep it's traditional ways as things will be changing rapidly in the near future
My next stop is Cambodia and the largest religious structure on Earth- Angkor Wat. See you there!
Peace, Love and Golden Pagodas Galore