Day 76, Tuesday 20 March 2012, Bagan
Lots to track back on as it is now 10 days later and I am in Bangkok. I have a few scribbled notes and some photos as a source for the post – as well as some good memories.
I am also experimenting with a new tool called BlogDesk that I have just downloaded off the net, so this could be either a great post with some detail, or a second attempt using MS Word that is really short! I will soon find out, if it has a faster method of uploading and inserting images I will be mega-happy.
Mike and I tried to book direct bus tickets to Inle Lake for tomorrow but there were no seats available so will stay here for another day and go the slow way and get a bus to Meiktila and try to catch a bus from there to the lake, there must be more backpackers around than are visible ! I am not complaining too much as I quite like it in Bagan and we have a couple of spare days up our sleeves.
Today we hired bikes from the shop next to the hotel, only 1000kyat and with normal valves in the tyres, which will hopefully mean we will have less issues with leaking valves than we did two days ago.
First stop was Kyan-Sit Thar Umin temple which was right on the edge of town, there is a new and old temple here, we visited the old temple first and got up to the roof to snap a few photos of town, there was some quite good art work inside.
Bob had told me about a couple of good temples just out of town on the old road to Old Bagan so we pedaled there next. Passing these young monks on the way.
First up was Thagyapone Phaya, I was looking forward to this one as I had been told it had an 11th century Buddha figure with 13th century Buddha built around it, I have not seen this before so was quite keen 🙂
On the way up to the roof I discovered a wee bee hive right on the inside of a tight corner, so with safety in mind I backed the truck up…. the bees are very small here, about 1cm long.
The next temple in the group was undergoing some renovation, unlike some of the shoddy work we saw in Inwa this looked to be pretty good. There was also some very good original wall art in this temple, the best I saw in Bagan that was not in one of the heavily touristed temples.
While I was in the temple Mike was spending some time chatting to some of the workers outside, including one in Arsenal shirt, so when I came out we got to chatting about the team and their fortunes over the season, he was one passionate Arsenal supporter ! Football has its good side – two men from wildly different backgrounds with a common interest to chat about!
From here we rode back to Old Bagan and to one of the main temples – Htilo minlo Guphayo-Gyi, as we were close to lunch time there were not a lot of tourists about, though of course it was damn hot !
and then a minor temple before lunch, the elephants had all been repaired as well as the ogre, but the work was quite good and will hopefully age to the same colour as the original. There were only a small number of elephant carvings around.
Mike bought a painting here while I milled about taking photos – and I took a lot…
Back to Yar Pyi for lunch, where we met up with Bob, Paulo and Giovanni and I had the famous guacomole and poppadoms, which I will say was damn good…. we also had a game of Burmese dominoes (I am sure it has a name in Burmese) with the owner as Bobs 4th visit (and final) and everytime he came he brought more customers…
After lunch Mike and I rode to Shwe Gu Gyi another one of the big temples, which was starting to get a bit crowded again. this temple was built in 1131.
I loved the way the gold leaf was pealing off the Buddhas in this temple, but had been utterly left alone.
There was also a neat stairway to one of the lower roof’s with a good view out over some of the other major temples.
When we went to leave here I found I could not release the lock on my bike, Mike had a go, one of the local kids had a go, the lady selling water had a go, her husband had a go – by then we had a small crowd and I decided it was time to carry the bike back the main road…
Mike rode back to the shop to get help as I walked, I got to the main road and a guy on a bike stopped to help, he couldn’t work it so flagged down 2 guys on a scooter, he couldn’t do it, one of them went an organised a horse and cart – against my wishes, but I believe out of a genuine desire to help, so I ended up spending some cash to get a very slow horse and cart back to town. As we hit the edge of town the bike shop owner saw me and flagged down the horse driver. We unloaded the bike, the owner turned the key and the lock magically opened…. Burger !
I rode like mad back to the shop, got another bike and then tried to find Mike who had gone looking for me, after riding all the way back to Old Bagan, I gave up and rode back to the guest house and found Mike lying down waiting 🙂 not sure how we missed each other a he had ridden all the way back as well.
We said a farewell to Bob who was heading off that afternoon and the went back to the Weatherspoons for dinner with Paulo and Giovanni. I had my first salad in almost three months and it was great !
I made the mistake of asking the owner how much a Grand Royal Whisky was he said 200k a shot, this is 25cents…. Grand Royal is advertised everywhere in Myanmar and I had been wanting to try it. I got a double and it was damn good – OK it is not a fine single malt, but as a blended whisky it stood up fine. the guys all had a sniff and ended up with one each, and the Irish guy at the next table did likewise….. A good score!
We said goodbye to Paolo here and I said I would catch up with him in Italy when I am there and he promised to show me some good food and wine – sounds good to me!