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Myanmar

2015 - THE IRRAWADY of MYANMAR - A day on a golf course

WE ARE OFF TO VISIT THE VERY FAMOUS THAYET GOLF COURSE.

Getting up the river bank .... no problem ... a couple of the crew can give a lift up.

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We clamber onto the days mode of transport ... no not that one ...

... this one ...

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Marianne, being Marianne, takes the reins ...

& I spy todays girl in Yellow ... two girls in Yellow, A bonus day.

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& here they are cracking up at Marianne, also in yellow notice, driving by ..

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We have to pass through the small town ..

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A quick glimpse of another girl in yellow ..

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Is Marianne still with us? Still doing ok? ....

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There is no end to the stuff the ladies are prepared to carry on their heads .. flowers this time ..

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Mingalaba to you too young lady ...

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Right hand down a bit Marianne - Turn, Turn girl, Turn ....

Ok - Phewww !

and the lady on the left has what must be the smallest of loads on her head. What is that?

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A fuzzy shot of Marianne running someone off the road ...

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And here we are at the Golf club. Not just any old Golf Club but the oldest Golf Club ... affiliated to St. Andrews no less.

NIce looking greens ..

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but the fairway could do with a bit of work ...

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The passengers get a couple of chances at a hole in one but it is enough exercise for one day & it is way too hot for me so I head off to the club house ...

... with a quick chat with the horses on the way ..

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The fees seem ok but I think I will pass ..

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And we take the buggy back to to the boat past yet more ladies with things on their minds

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We shove off & head further upstream .. to see more life along the banks of the Ayerwaddy ...

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There is our hill to climb in the morning but I decide to climb it tonight.

I get to the top & it is quite dark. There appears to be only one road & as seems the norm in these villages, the road runs along a raised bank. I turn left & look to see what's what. The raised road lets me look down on either side. I can see people in light from dwellings. People watching TV or just going about their business. No locked doors. No glass that I can see in windows. There are few people on the road. I don't see anywhere to stop & have a drink of anything & what light there is peters out so I turn & trace my steps back & past where I came up from the river. I finally find a rather ramshackle place that looks like it might serve beer. I step down the bank & into the place. There are a few of benches, one occupied by three or four men drinking what appears to be bottles of whiskey. I sit down on another bench. There is an elderly lady at the back watching a small TV. A lady just sitting. Everyone is quite curious that I am there. I doubt they get too many tourists even during the daytime. A man comes over & stands in front of me & I ask for a beer & he sets a large bottle in front of me. I hand him a note & he looks at me & at another man a little away from me. They both shrug & then the second man hands the first some money. I realise I have not paid enough & the other man is paying the balance of my bill. HOW NICE IS THAT? I don't let him pay but I was amazed at the generosity of the man. I sat there while I drank the beer & watched life return to normal around me.

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On the way back to the ship a man walked alongside me & then pointed me down a pitch black alleyway to the ship. Another man on a motor cycle parked his bike so I could walk by the light of his headlight. Another very nice thing for people to do.

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At the end of the lane & just before it dropped down to the ship I noticed some men drinking in another small bar. After a bit of trouble finding the entrance I went in for another beer & a few nibbles of whatever snacks the people there were eating. Again I was made very welcome.
People came in from other rooms to say Mingalaba, shake hands & smile.
Another beer & I safely negotiated the steps down to the boat.

A very pleasant evening ashore. It would not be everyones cup of tea but I enjoyed myself.My first time out at night on my own since Yangon.
I might have spent five dollars - maybe.

Posted by hasbeen 04:26 Archived in Myanmar Comments (0)

2015 - THE IRRAWADY of MYANMAR - Minhla fort

I OPENED MY CABIN DOOR TO THESE SCENES ..

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I had made it down those steps in the pitch dark last night. Wonders will never cease ..

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The locals - hard at work already. I doubt there are any harder working people anywhere than in Myanmar.

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Just to remind us where we are, it gets printed on the steps ..

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... and to remind me where I had been last night, these three are still where I left them. Mingalaba fellahs! They had been there all night .. but still don't look any the worse for wear.

Here we are arriving at Minhla Fort, built by the Portugese I think. I wasn't paying attention again I am afraid.

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I took to the street while the group wandered around the ruins ..

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There goes Mike in blue heading back to the ship. I am the one who went out last night & he is the one who has to go back to the ship early. Though he was not the only one to be sick on this cruise. I can think of five right off the top.

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That's it for the Fort & time for a wander up the road. This is a bit farther than I got last night ,, A nice Pagoda on the river.

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With a right turn into town & we are into the market ..

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Eric there on the left. Head & shoulders above everyone.

Notice how most of the ladies are wearing Thanaka paste on their faces. For fashion, sun protection and adornment. Penny bought some in the market. It's made from grinding the bark of a tree.

Unique to Myanmar I think.

I like it ...

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It is also noticeable that the younger girls wear western clothes like this girls green dress, & when they get older, they wear the Lungyi. Not a hard rule but I often saw that. Whatever - they just about always look very smart.

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Quite a lot of nuns in Myanmar - here is a nun , pretty in pink. I did not see them so much elsewhere in South East Asia.

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Lots of monks though. Here are some young ones collecting alms.

This is a public water jug I think ..

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Boys up til about age ten also wear Thanaka.

Satellite dishes cropping up the world over ...

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Barbara & Nancy at the rear, avoiding the morning rush hour ..

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Back to the bar near the beach. This is one of the ladies who came to say hello last night.

Other ladies at the waters edge, hanging out the laundry. It's no wonder their clothes always look so clean, they are constantly being washed. Dry season & there is lots of dust in the air making it hard to keep anything clean for long.

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Off again - still heading north on the 'ROAD to MANDALAY' which must have been the river..

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Have you ever heard of the Burmah oil company? Somewhere on our trip we saw lots of places in the hills where oil was being extracted - often not legally apparently.

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The end of another day on the Ayerwaddy & I do believe tomorrow I get to meet young Sophy of RED IXORA TRAVEL fame. Take some time & check out her website & tomorrow you can meet her & my mom.

Posted by hasbeen 04:25 Archived in Myanmar Comments (0)

2015 - THE IRRAWADY of MYANMAR - Mya Tha Lon Pagoda

A RED LETTER DAY

TODAY WE GET TO SEE PAGODAS - I HOPE YOU ARE READY FOR THIS

We also get to meet Sophy & my Mom ... Can't wait. It's so exciting ...

But first a bit of a tour to see some sights, which this guy has probably seen before ...

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A couple of nice views close to the boat ..

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We head into another market .. passengers at the back. Pam & Robert I think ..

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Nice shoes young lady ..

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a stop in a small park

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The young lovers moved off when we moved in ..

and the crew gave a demonstration of the national sport. Played with A ball made of Raffia, I would call it Keep-It-Up, these fellows are extremely skilful.

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Marianne - checking out the buns ..

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Note the Lungys are tucked up to become shorts .

An old Steam train across the road from the park ..

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My first girl in Yellow of the day ... there will be more ...

Some pilgrims on the way to the Pagoda .. They sure do pack them in those small trucks ..

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but there's Mike - travelling in style.

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and we arrive at the Pagoda of Mya Tha Lon .. although it is a bit of a climb from here ..

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Still at the bottom ...

Now at the top & it's Just a little bit spectacular ..

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There are lots of Pilgrims here. Paying there respects, but not always somber. These girls get me into their photo ..

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I turn around & this couple also wants a photo with me. It is Sophy & her mom, looking a little tired as they had been to several pilgrimage sites today.

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Sophy explained that she works for a travel agency & she takes my E mail address. When I get home I have an e mail waiting from her & she tells me her mom still laughs when she remembers our meeting at the Pagoda.

We have been in frequent contact ever since & her mother is now my mother.

Lovely girl. lovely mother too.

Nice to see she is smiling here - she does that a lot..

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Since I met her, she has opened her own travel agency - RED IXORA so why not check it out & consider asking her to sort you out a holiday in Myanmar ..

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Some views around the Pagoda .. & looking down hill ..

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Another girl in Yellow ..

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On the way down, I was bringing up the rear with Barbara & Marianne & Mr Soe the guide took us off on a side alley where these young nuns were looking out of a window ..

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A Red Letter day indeed.

Posted by hasbeen 04:24 Archived in Myanmar Comments (0)

2015 - THE IRRAWADY of MYANMAR - A Teak Pagoda

After climbing up the river bank, we waited for the group to assemble, making sure we kept out of the way of the traffic ...

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Wandering slowly down the streets, passing some locals ... Nuns here, gathering alms.

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There's my girl in yellow .. early today ..

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We pulled a left, passing the tiniest of markets ...

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and - what is this?

TOURISTS!

Maybe the first tourist group we have seen since leaving Yangon

The little boy has his eyes on something ---- I'd give a thumbs up to that too ...

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This lady is a fellow passenger & I know she is an American, living in Italy, but cannot recall her name.

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Here's some rather attractive fire buckets ...

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This is the main attraction of the day but I was not paying attention, again. A Teak pagoda perhaps.

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There was a frieze around the building, telling a story.

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I did not go into the building, just walked round the outside. That young lady was the guide for inside as she had the flashlight.

Perhaps I should have gone in after all.

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More of the story ..

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In case you wanted to clean your teeth, here is a Neem tree, conveniently labelled. In india, people use twigs from the Neem as tooth brushes. One use only as opposed to many uses with a tooth brush.

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And a Tamarind ..

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This was taken from underneath the building ..

... and some public drinking pots ..

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Maybe the story was a little rude - & I should have been paying attention ..

While we were waiting for the group to re-assemble, Mike bought a picture a man had just finished. Mike had to wait for it to dry before he could collect it. A very fine piece of work & worth quite a bit more than the 3 or 4 dollars he paid ..

We are across the road now .. on our way back to the boat ..

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The girl guide again - I really should have gone in that building

This strange gateway leads to a Pagoda ...

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More wonderful shadows ..

and that lady again .. Chatting with the locals .. Showing them their photos ... Myanmar ladies were only too pleased for us to photograph their children ..

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Now then Barbara - what does that lady have on her head?

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You guessed it - an oil drum ..

A monk out for an evening stroll ....

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A Stupa - note the people at the bottom, waving to me. Mingalaba to you.

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Children come out to see us as we pass, & mom follows .. with baby.

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Teenagers - doing what teenagers do ...

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The lady with the white shorts is also a fellow passenger whose name escapes me. Part of the group who live in Italy, but this one is from the UK ..

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Back to the boat ...

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Where the locals are doing what the locals do ...

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A riverside demonstration on how to wear a Longyi ..

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AND - THAT'S A WRAP ...

Posted by hasbeen 04:23 Archived in Myanmar Comments (0)

2015 - THE IRRAWADY of MYANMAR - Sale

STILL HEADING NORTH - WE ARE APPROACHING SALE & THE START OF THE PAGODA TRAIL - LOTS OF PAGODAS ..

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THE ENCAMPMENT BEHIND THAT PAGODA IS WHERE PEOPLE ARE EXTRACTING OIL ..

AND THESE DO INDEED LOOK LIKE OIL CANS ..

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UP ON THE HILL IS WHERE WE ARE HEADING ..

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PILGRIMS ARRIVING ..

ADDS A WHOLE NEW MEANING TO THE EXPRESSION ' GASSING UP '

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WE HAVE NOT REACHED THE SUMMIT YET BUT TAKE A SIDE TURNING TO SEE THESE PLACES ...

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NOW WE ARE AT THE TOP ...

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SOME OFFERINGS ...

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A PASSENGER, WHOSE NAME WILL COME BACK TO ME - ONE OF A PARTY OF SIX, TWO LIVE IN THE UK & FOUR OWN A TEA PLANTATION IN KENYA.

NOTE THE BARE FEET. AT EVERY PAGODA EVERYONE GOES BARE FOOTED.

AND MY GIRL IN YELLOW .. MAKE THAT GIRLS IN YELLOW .. LOTS OF THEM UP HERE ..

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LOOKING DOWN FROM ONE PAGODA TO ANOTHER ..

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HERE'S A SEQUENCE OF PHOTOS SHOWING EXACTLY WHAT I MEAN ABOUT MYANMAR GIRLS NOT SMILING.

THIS ONE - A COUPLE OF SHY LITTLE GIGGLES ..

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NOW THEY ARE ALL SMILING -- VERY NICE, GIRLS ..

AND ONE LOOKS AT ME AND THE SMILE DISAPPEARS ..

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AND I SAY THE MAGIC WORD 'MINGALABA' & THE SMILES RETURN ..

CAN YOU SMELL THE INCENSE BURNING ..

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ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS ABOUT MYANMAR IS THAT THERE ARE SO FEW WESTERN TOURISTS, THE PLACES WE GO TO ARE FILLED WITH REAL PEOPLE. PEOPLE GOING ABOUT THERE LIVES, VISITING THE PAGODAS NOT JUST FOR A PHOTO OPPORTUNITY .. BUT AS PART OF THEIR RELIGION, THEIR WAY OF LIFE ..

WE ARE BACK NEAR THE BOAT NOW & ARE TREATED TO A LITTLE THEATER & MUSIC ..

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PILGRIMS ON THE WAY HOME .. LOTS OF YELLOW HERE TOO ..

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DID WE SEE THE GIRL IN ORANGE TWO DAYS AGO? MAYBE WE ARE FOLLOWING HER AROUND ..

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IT WAS ADVERTISED THAT WE WOULD TRAVEL BY JEEP BUT IN THE EVENT HAD A MORE COMFORTABLE CAR ... ===Your subheading here...===

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Posted by hasbeen 04:22 Archived in Myanmar Comments (1)

2015 - THE IRRAWADY of MYANMAR - Nearly Old Bagan

We have not moved very far & I think this is the day a few passengers took a hot air ballon ride while others took a tour inland somewhere, probably a Pagoda or two .. for the most part, I stayed on the boat.
I think one other passenger stayed too.
So we had the run of the boat ... & the bar.

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I thought it would be a nice relaxing day, not tiring at all.

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These people made me tired just watching them. They are loading a truck with gravel ..

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Hair washing is a major exercise here. It takes me about a minute tops. Watch this lady ...

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The gravel girls - yes, girls - are still at it, as is the hair washing ..

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There's the mound of gravel to be moved & a truck. When they finish that truck they have a five minute breather & start on another one .. enough to give a Council worker nightmares .. and they are cheerful too ...

By way of a change - they start loading or unloading a boat .. That went on ALL - DAY - LONG. Still makes me tired now and at the time I was sorely tempted to go down & buy them a beer.

The crews guestimate was they got paid between 5 & 7 dollars each, PER - DAY.

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These girls are maybe the first we have encountered who lie in wait for us getting on or off the boat. Selling shirts, souvenirs etc ..

Here they wait for the Balloon people. We will see them again ..

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Not nearly as annoying as in some other countries, they can be persistent.

Posted by hasbeen 04:21 Archived in Myanmar Comments (1)

2015 - THE IRRAWADY of MYANMAR - Old Bagan

AGAIN WE HAVE NOT MOVED VERY FAR.

TODAY IT IS TIME TO SEE SOME OLD PAGODAS. THERE ARE LOTS AROUND HERE. HUNDREDS IF NOT THOUSANDS. IN EVERY DIRECTION THERE ARE MORE.

MR SO - OUR GUIDE, TELLS US IN DETAIL ABOUT THE THREE OR FOUR WE WILL VISIT TODAY, BUT DON'T ASK ME WHAT HE SAID ...

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WHILE I WAITED OUTSIDE, I HAD A DRINK HERE. THE LADY WHO SOLD ME THE DRINK GAVE ME A CHAIR TO SIT ON. I MUST BE LOOKING MY AGE, BUT IT IS HOT & TIRING ALREADY ..

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THAT IS ON THE WALL INSIDE A PAGODA ..

MAYBE THIS ONE .. MAYBE NOT

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I WENT FOR A BIT OF A STROLL ON MY OWN ...

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NOW I AM BACK WITH THE GROUP & THIS YOUNG THING IS TRYING TO SELL ME THE LITTLE POT IN HER HAND.

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BARBARA & I CIRCLE THE BUILDING & SHE FOLLOWS, CHATTERING AWAY IN HER EXCELLENT ENGLISH.

I LIKE HER GUMPTION SO I OFFER TO BUY A POT, SHE OFFERS TWO FOR 15 DOLLARS. WAY OVERPRICED BUT NEVER MIND & I GIVE HER A TWENTY. SHE OF COURSE HAS NO CHANGE WITH HER BUT TAKES THE TWENTY & SAYS SHE WILL BE BACK WITH THE CHANGE. SHE DISAPPEARS, NEVER TO BE SEEN AGAIN I EXPECT.

BARBARA & I COMPLETE THE CIRCUIT & THE LITTLE GIRL IS WAITING FOR ME WITH THE 5 DOLLARS CHANGE.

GOOD GIRL!

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WE MOVE ON TO ANOTHER PAGODA .. THIS ONE IS VERY LARGE & HAS SOME ACTUAL TOURISTS & LOTS OF SOUVENIR SELLERS.

I BUMP INTO THE LITTLE POT SELLER AGAIN. SHE IS TRYING TO SELL TO A JAPANESE TOURIST BUT WAVES TO ME ON THE WAY ... SHE KNOWS I HAVE FIVE DOLLARS IN MY POCKET.

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I HEAD INSIDE THE PAGODA ...

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AND OUT AGAIN --

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LOTS MORE SOUVENIR SELLERS OUT HERE & THIS LITTLE FELLOW HAS HIS EYES ON AN UMBRELLA ...

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HE RUNS AWAY WITH IT AND GIVES THE LITTLE GIRL A GOOD IDEA ....

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I GO LOOKING FOR MY BUS & THE POT SELLER SPOTS ME. SHE DIRECTS ME TO THE BUS, STILL TRYING TO SELL ME THE OTHER POT.

SHE TELLS ME SHE & HER FRIEND ARE TRYING TO RAISE SOME CASH TO SEE FIVE CITIES IN FIVE DAYS, SO THIS SELLING IS MORE OF A GAME FOR HER THAN A BUSINESS.

SHE IS VERY GOOD AT IT, THOUGH MY FIVE DOLLARS REMAINS IN MY POCKET.

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MY DAILY GIRL IN YELLOW ...

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I THINK I WAS ONE OF THE FEW PASSENGERS THAT DID NOT CLIMB THE PAGODA ..

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WHILE I WAS WAITING ON THE BUS THE LITTLE POT GIRL WAS OUTSIDE, STILL AFTER MY FIVE DOLLARS. I REGRET NOT GIVING IT TO HER NOW.

BARBARA & MARIANNE - IF YOU READ THIS. THAT IS WHERE YOUR POT CAME FROM.

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BACK ON THE BOAT WE WERE GIVEN A VERY ENJOYABLE PUPPET PERFORMANCE.

THAT WAS A VERY GOOD DAY ..

Posted by hasbeen 04:20 Archived in Myanmar Comments (1)

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