Aug 23, 1996
We hopped on the bus, and off we headed back to Yangon. We needed to change buses here as we wanted to spend a day in Pyay. According to the Lonely Planet, there was some good Payas to see as well. Cutting a long story short, the bus chucked us out, we hopped onto another bus, being ripped off in the process, we arrived at Pyay, realised that it was a one horse town and decided to see the large seated Buddha which was located in the Shwesandaw Paya. The Paya was nice, the seated Buddha not as large as the one in Nha Trang. As we had seen it all in a couple of hours, we jumped back on the bus, arrived in Yangon for one last day before we flew out. It was a heavy day of travelling. Mawlamyaing, Yangon, Pyay, Yangon, all in one day !!!!!
The last day, we hit the markets, buying the last of our Burmese gifts, and then landed in Bangkok. We had 12 hours here, so we hit the weekend market, buying up as it is so ridiculously cheap here. And then it happened, that was the end of another three week trip to SEA. Looking back over the previous weeks, it's hard to imagine that this country is ruled by the army, considering how the majority of people here are so fixated with Buddhism. We could never get over the fact that they spent money on Payas, old and new, rather than the everyday people. There is only one comment to suffice, such is life
After our last trip in the ute, Lucy was set to ride in the back, but for an extra dollar, we rode up front. Just as squashy, but nice seats. It was a 4 hour trip to Mawlamyaing. We had a brief stop in a town, Thaton. The boys needed to do some work on the ute as it was running on 3 cylinders. They had a nice Paya here. Shwe Zayan Paya. Had a look, took some photos, then we were back on the road. Eventually we arrived at the ferry crossing, paid the toll to get across the river, and we arrived. We grabbed the room that the hotel offered us, and then went for a walk around the place. Above Mawlamyaing, was a hill with 5 Payas, so we took a walk up to view these. Quite a few reclining Buddha's were to be found. I have never seen so many in this country. There was also a great view to be had. The highlight of the Payas was Mahamuni. We sat down for a while and watched a 3 novice Monks play with a soccer ball. We started to join in, but a couple of Monks told us all off !!!! Such is life. We spent the next day across from where we stayed on Bilu Kyun Island. It was a little place, and being the only Westerners over there, everyone was saying hello and such. We saw all the local industries, with most probably the highlight being the rubber band factory. Lunch was in a family's house. US1.50 for all you can eat. As good as what we had at Inle. Before we left the island, we were dragged into a cheroot house. All the women were rolling away and all the neighbours came to see the white people in town !!!!! Once back on the mainland, we had a look at some of the mosques and then went to see the Chinese Buddhist temple there. The following morning, we had a couple of hours to kill before we left the town, so we jumped onto a ute. All of about 40 people were packed onto it. We went for about 45 minutes before we got to Win Sein Taw Ya. This was another reclining Buddha, but one that was 150 metres long. This had taken over10 years to build and it was still not finished. This was indeed the country of big. Inside the Buddha was a complete history of the life of Buddha. As there was still building work going on, we found a hole, and climbed out onto his hand. Once finished, we made our way down and walked back, doing past all the concrete Monks that lined both sides of the road. From a distance, it looked like the giant Monk was receiving acupuncture over his head, due to the scaffold and rio coming out of his face.