Katja and Arne's travel stories

18.12.14 Inle lake boating Thursday

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The beds at the guest house are two of the best we’ve had in a long time. A great night’s sleep, and we’re up and about.

The temperature here is even colder than in Bagan. It was so cold last night that wet slept without any air condition on.

Brrr, early breakfast

Brrr, early breakfast

We had asked for breakfast at 6:20 as we’re going across town to Marissa and Eli’s hotel. We’re meeting up there to go to the company that organizes the boat ride on Inle lake today. Breakfast was just as good as the rooms with fresh fruits, yogurt and fried eggs on toasts.
We walked through the little town and found the hotel with no problems. Then wet walked all the way back past our hotel and to the river. The town is connected to the lake by a canal wet have to traverse before getting there.

The boat man we got looks like he’s just turned 14 and that’s really reassuring. But wet keep fair in our fellow human beings and tag along with him.
He handles the boat more than ok and we’re soon in good speed down the canal. Did I mention it’s cold here? With no long pants it’s rather chilling on the boat. We put on what we got and Katja now relate to the locals who dress up in whatever they have without any regard for fashion.
We get to see the fishermen who hold their oar with the foot, and of course one comes over to ask for money. This is probably more lucrative than actually fishing.

From here it’s basically a long drive to the end of the lake where we entree into a market. The main attraction here is the ladies with the long necks. Pretty spooky as young girls also do it. Maybe not many, but enough to keep the tourists coming.

We spend quite some time here as we walk slowly around. It’s a bit overwhelming ’cause everyone is basically selling the same stuff. Katja gets lured in a couple of times and end up buying a couple of trinkets.
From there we move on to the silver smith. It’s a workshop where you can see them work but as on any of these places is the workshop to small to produce whatever they have for sale on the store. Though it’s easier just to ignore that fact and buy something as a memento from this trip. Marissa bought a pair of earrings and was very pleased with that.

Smelting silver

Melting silver

Crafting different types of goods

Crafting different types of goods

We spend little time there and when the driver tells us were going to a pagoda we ask for lunch instead.
We get more than decent food at the floating restaurant and since we’re so early we found a table facing the river. It’s noisy at times as the boats passes, but on the same time it’s cool to see the boats used as public transportation.

We move from the restaurant to a weavery. Not really my cup of tea, but were supposed go to a cigar shop later. We got a lecture in how they pull the diverts from the lotus flower and it was cool to see the ladies working the weaving stools. I guess there is no talk of worker safety as the repetitive movement will kill their arms and shoulders over time.

Then we endulged Marissa and went to Inle heritage house to visit the Burmese cat sanctuary. It’s a long time since I’ve seen anyone so happy about cats, and they were all over her. Really cuddly little bastards. The place was nicely maintained and it’s probably the best place around here to be a cat.

We enjoyed a fruit juice out on the terrace, but mental note to self, don’t order banana and lime again.
We tore loose from the nice and quiet veranda and went back in the boat. Now we’re heading for the sigar makers. I will probably get one.
And I did. Two, actually. It wasn’t that an impressive production line, but the ladies rolling the cigarettes held an impressive tempo. They made pure cigars, of which I bought two, but also cigarettes based on cheerroot. The made filters out of the big leaves on the corn cobs and newspaper. Not something to catch on on the west, I guess.

The ladies rolling these cigarettes produces four hundred cigarettes a day. That’s one every one minute and twelve seconds in eight hour straight. I don’t know how many hours they weigh but it’s a repetitive and monotonous work.
The boat driver’s English wasn’t all that good, and suddenly we had parked the boat at the pagoda. As all four of us had been running around in Bagan in and out of Pagodas for the last three days, we voted against entering.
We got him to take us to the monastery with the jumping cats, where the cats don’t jump any more. It was a nice monastery with some great pictures of Buddah’s life and road to enlightenment, and some cats. The sun, fresh air and monotonous sound of the engine on the boat was starting to get to all of us and we walked a bit like zombies around in there. Back on the boat and straight back to town.


Lots of cats but none of them very jumpy


Monk watching over the cats and monastery

Getting good coffee around here is not all that easy, but they’re is a French guy who’s opened a cafe with coffee and patisserie in town. We went there and got a good chip of coffee, a piece of cake and talked for a while. We meet the owner who presented the place and pictures he’d taken that decorates the wall. They also show a free movie every night at 19:30 about life in the monastery. It’s fictitious, but presented in a documentary form. We won’t make it today, maybe tomorrow.
After a while we moved out for dinner. Marissa had gotten a recommendation at the hotel about a restaurant and we walked there. It was worth the walk as we got good food and drinks for a reasonable price. We spent a couple of hours talking before we all needed our beauty sleep. We enjoyed the day with Marissa and Eli very much, and hope to see them again. They leave for the beach tomorrow, and hopefully they’ll get a good time there. The beaches of Myanmar are quite beautiful it’s said.
We walked home at a crawl and got to bed. If it wasn’t for the guy in the next door bungalow snoring like his life dependent on it, which it in many ways probably do, I would have fallen asleep a lot sooner. But finally no barking dog or snoring neighbor could keep me up anymore.

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

– Albert Camus

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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