zaterdag 31 oktober 2009

Here we are in front of one of the most beautiful pagoda's of Bagan. Inside the pagoda you find at least 4 big statues of Buddha.

In the pagoda's, temples, etc. you have to take off your shoes. And to keep it simple you walk on flipflaps.

Because it is very hot and so are the tiles and stones we have to walk on, inside you take your time but outside, certainly when it is later on the day, you look for shadow or walk faster.

We are now in Myanmar for the third day.
It was not possible to make here in Myanmar a connection to my blog, so I thought I make this text and add that later to the blog.
We arrived in Yangon (from Bangkok) in the evening of the 25th.
Customs was (other than expected) no trouble at all and we were met by a guide from our touroperater at the bagageclaim.
All (almost all) Burmese men wear a long skirt (the Longhi) and most women put a paste on their faces (tanaka) to keep cool, to
whiten the skin and maybe for other reasons which I don't know.
We were brought to our hotel, The Thamada hotel, somewhere in Yangon.
It was already late in the evening but it was still stifling hot.
Because it was already dark we could'nt see much, but there was not much trafic, not many lanterns in the streets, but "enough"
people to see. Practicly all the cars and busses are very old, we saw.
The first evening we already found out that Myanmar is a poor country.
On the way to our hotel we saw a very large golden pagoda (From some old century), one of the highlights of Yangon.

After a drink and some food in the restaurant of the hotel we went to bed because of the heat we were tired and we had to rise early for our flight from Yangon to Bagan,
our destination.
We slept well, the room and bathroom were OK and after an early breakfast (which was good) we went to the airport with a taxi.
Everything went well and with a plane with propellers, we flew to Bagan.
In the entrancehall of the airport everybody's temperature was measured.My temperature was 35.2 according to some apparatus which they put in everybody's ear, and the in- and outside temperature must have been at least 30 Celsius or so (a little miracle).

We were met by our guide who appeared to be a really nice guy. He knows lots about the Burmese history and is fun to be with.
The first two days we visited all sorts of stupa's, temples and pagoda's. There are almost 5000 religious buildings in a rather small area (which is calles old Bagan).
Everywhere you look you see temples and pagoda's. It is awesome!!
The buildings date mostly from the 10th till the 12th century.
We were driven around in a horsecar, the driver and me in the front and Ankie and our guide in the back.
It does not go fast and so we had ample time to look around and visit each temple or whatever we wished to see.
Almost every temple and pagoda has images of the Buddha in it from small (a few feet or so) to really large like ten meters high or (lying Buddha's) like 30 meters long.
Most are guilded and others in the colours white (the face) and red (the rest of the Buddha).
You are only allowed on your bare feet in the religious buildings.

Apart from lots of religious buildings we visited holy Mount Popa (with a beautiful Monastery on the top), a village (no electricity but they got water) with houses on poles (almost everywhere) with in the yard cows, pigs, cats, dogs, burmese scrawny chickens, a horse here and there, mostly young children and women.
Furthermore we saw how lackerware is made (when made well it takes some 8 months to finish one piece from woven bamboo -or woven horsehair- till the endproduct: all sorts of pots and pans and boxes and tables, etc).
We were on a village market (flowers, vegetables, all sorts of meats -with lots of flies for free-, eggs, clothing, kitchen utensils), well you name it and they sell it.
Very interesting compared to our markets in Holland.
We also were in a sugarcane "factory" with a mill propelled by a buffalo, with tables (with the sugar on it) with legs in pots with some liquid to keep ants and termites away.

Trafic in Burma is relaxed.
About once in 10 minutes you see another car. The roads are bad. keeps the speed low and since there are all kinds of people on the road with bicycles, old wagons, horse drawn carts and sheep and cows and goats you have all the time in the world to look at it.
For the ordinary Burmese a car is much and much to expensive, apart form the problem to get permission to buy a car of you could afford one.

This afternoon we went for a boatride on the Irrawaddy river (the river Maas is only small compared to this river).
It is a little bit cooler on the water. The guide had brought beer and the vieuws were spectacular because the sun was setting.
We could see lots of pagoda's from the river, it was very quiet and relaxing.

The food is OK here but I must admit that we didn't eat real burmese food.
You can get for example a chickensandwich, chinese food (is OK), thai food and of course burmese food.
Everyday we have a nice breakfast with bread, fresh fruitjuice, coffee, tea, butter, marmelade, eggs, ham, etc.
Beer tastes like ours. Bottled water you can get everywhere.

The people are very nice and friendly.
Although you find almost everywhere people (from - sometimes very- young to old) who want to sell lackerware, t-shirts, shirts, buddha's, woodwork, etc. etc. they
are friendly, they behave well and they remain friendly even if you buy nothing. They laugh a lot and seem happy.

The service in the hotels is very good. It was the same in Bangkok. They open doors for you, they bow, the wish you good day, and so on and so on.
In Holland the people in hotels and restaurants all should go at least for one week to Myanmar to see what service means.
Everything is well maintained and shines in the sunlight.

This is it for the first three days in Myanmar.
A few days we were driven around in a horsecart.
The horse was a little skinny but the owner said the horse was OK. So, even the horse was happy!!
In the left side you see our guide at the time.
He is called Aung (just like Aung Si Suu Kye or so) because he was born on a certain day of the week.
Practicly all men wear a "longyi" pronounced as "long jee". Only younger people in the cities wear jeans.
In the background you see one of the minor pagoda's.

Uitzicht vanaf onze kamer

Dit is een wat fletse foto van het uitzicht vanuit onze kamer over de Ayerwady rivier.
Aan de overzijde is een gouden pagode te zien.
's-Avonds was 'ie verlicht.
Zoals te zien is, is de rivier heel erg breed.
Overdag zijn vissers bezig in kleine bootjes met het vangen met netten.