Katja and Arne's travel stories

15.12.14 Monday morning mist

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We got up at five to go see the sunrise today. It’s the time wet normally get up when we work and it was surprisingly easy to do it again.

We got out and found the bikes where we parked them last night. Oh joy, the tire is flat once more. Luckily the bike rental shop is open and I get a new bike. Off we go.
It’s cold in the mornings and we set off with jackets on. Katja even had her sarong on. As we pedaled away in the dark there were bustling activity around. People get up before the sun in these parts, it seems. Some restaurants was already open and serve breakfast and coffee.
We were the first to arrive at the pagoda and climbed up. It’s the same as we watched the sunset from yesterday, we just stay on the opposite side. It’s easy to get cold feet here add the stones aren’t all the warm in the morning, but not more than acceptable.
We are here at around 6:00 and the sunrise is 6:44. In all honey did we thaught it was at 6:25, but a lack of bad reception on the cell phone and no internet makes for a semi wild guess on the timing. What we did get from this was watching the sky change dramatically. The sunrise is a quick thing that passes by in a matter of minutes, but the transformation and colors that happens before is a lot more beautiful.

We got company when it closed to sunrise and we were about six people total when the sun came up. Just before sunrise the balloons became visible. It’s possible to get on one of these huge balloons and take a tour over Bagan at sunrise. It costs a fortune so it doesn’t match our budget. The balloons move gracefully over the sky and they came directly towards our pagoda. We got some great shots of them, the Pagodas and the sun.

On the way back we stopped at a cafe that advertised free WiFi and grabbed a cup of coffee. We barely got coverage but we manage to book two more nights at the hotel and a guest house for our stay at Inle lake. We had only booked two nights out of the four were spending in Bagan, so it was good to get that done as today is check out from the first two nights.

From here we went back to the hotel to get breakfast. We stopped by the bike rental guy (again) because we needed buys tickets to a Inle lake. He can fix just about anything. We paid and went up to eat.

On our way back down we met a Swedish family of three and arranged a sunset view session at the Bagan viewing tower. We were going there and asked if they liked to join. We agreed on meeting time and place before we set off.
We had planned for a few named Pagodas, saving the furthest ones for the last day. Mainly because we want to go to the Archaeology museum, and that is closed on Mondays.
We headed down the road and pedaled along. Looking at the different people, vehicles and Pagodas along the way make for an entertaining morning. We meet small lorries with people inside and on the roof. Tractor looking fronts mounted on army looking trucks. People who shouts “Hello” and wave at us, and old men and women still working the fields around us.

We stop at a white pagoda and enter it. We ask if it’s ok to enter because there are no other bikes or shoes on the outside and the structure it’s huge. We get motioned inside and get dressed for the occasion. As we enter we come into a huge plaza in front of a great white pagoda. There is a lot of working going on here with both restoration of the pagoda and ground work on the plaza. We’re the only ones here until a lone figure with a huge camera appears.
Continuing around the corner we find an entrance and move inside. It’s crowded. Well, not really crowded, but compared to being alone it was a lot off people. We had found a side entrance when we came and now we were close to the main entrance. This is actually one of the bigger tourist attractions in the area. Nicely done by us not to notice. The Buddah’s here are all standing, which is not common. It’s also as lot of smaller nooks inside that all contains Buddah’s. We walked, took pictures and enjoyed the view. We got out the way we came in and avoided all the hawkers.
Then we went to another Pagoda.

And then another.

We just crossed the road and found the day’s biggest gems. A coupel off Pagodas where we were all alone. We climbed the last one and it was burning hot in the sun. Red brick and sun makes for red soles under your feet as you walk barefoot.

We did lunch at a mediocre place that don’t really deserve any attention here. The only good thing was that they had internet, at least a bit, now and then, occasionally, maybe.
On the way back up to the hotel I feel a bug on my leg and bend down to flick it away. It feels liked the damn thing is made of glue as it sticks to my finger, and then the bastard stung me. Holy mother of anything and everyone, that hurts! The Norwegian wasp sting it’s like a minor mosquito bite compared to this sucker. Aaaaarrrggghhhh! I stop the bike and see the stinger stuck in my finger. I pinch it, but it breaks and the rest is still in my finger. We pedal back to the hotel and rush to the room to get the tweezers. I manage to get the rest out, but it feels like my finger will fall off. Only years of practicing the art off manliness keeps me from crying.
I still needed to lay on the bed with finger above heart level for a while before the pounding and burning sensation went away. Katja and I both agree I have now headed to a new level of manliness. Ugh!
We kept to the bed for an hour before it was time to meet the Swedes, or Ingela, Jan-Erik and Hampus Thiessen Brask. They come from Årjang so maybe some of our Swedish friends knows them? Katja had organized transport by the bike rental guy. He fixes just about anything, it seems. We get dressed, go down and find both the Swedes and the driver ready.
We drive to the Bagan viewing tower and go inside. We get the mandatory free welcome drink in the ninth floor before going up to the thirteenth floor. We were the only one there and it was just twenty minutes to sunset. We got good spots by the rail and suddenly it was a massive invasion of people. The sunset was pretty, but since we were so high up we didn’t really get all that good a view with the Pagodas in silhouette. Nice to have done, but if you have limited time here in Bagan go to the sunset view point at a pagoda instead.

When we went down our driver was nowhere to be seen. We weren’t worried,’cause as I said:” He’s to small and to close to the hotel to mess with us.” Of course he hadn’t abandoned us but he had a flat tire and had gotten another car to get us back. We fold ourselves in half and get into the car. It’s not that long a drive back anyway.
Back at the hotel we walk down to the restaurant street to get dinner. We all go and have a nice dinner. Believe it or not, I got to watch United vs Liverpool in rerun on the tv. Then the rerun of Real vs Almeda. Combine this with a few beers and good company and you have I great night. We also got introduced to the fact that there are prizes to be won when you open the inside of the bottle cap when buying Myanmar beer. We won another bottle for free between the two we bought. That’s a winning percentage I can like.
We got back and went to bed preparing to get back up at five to see the sunrise once more.

No man or woman who tries to pursue an ideal in his or her own way is without enemies.

– Daisy Bates

Author: arnber

Humongen! The big guy! The man, the myth, the legend! And then theres' me. The nice guy in the house. The man without cooking skills, but with five stars on the Playstation. Boss at work, relaxed at home. What you see is what you get. Life is good. I choose it to be.

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