Saturday, March 16, 2013

Boating Along The Ayeywarady

Our last morning in Bagan, we decided to head to the river and take a boat to see a couple of the temples along the water. Our horse and cart driver soon figured out what we wanted to do after picking us up from the roadside of our guesthouse, and he called out to a man on a bike, who must have headed off and arranged a boat for us. As we arrived, chairs were being carted down to the boat for the three of us, and away we were.

Sailing out from Nyaung U we passed fishing villages and fishermen at work. We could see the transient community all along the water, washing clothes, herding cows, and carting water back to their homes.

Our first stop was a very remote temple, where our guide called on the key holder via a string from the gate to a couple of cans in the trees. Here, we took in the views across the river, and also explored the start of the 50 meters tunnels underneath the temple, reportedly running back to Bagan from wartimes.

At our last stop we checked out some well preserved frescos in an earthquake damaged temple, and then I chose to sit and stay out of the sun at the monastery while the others climbed a hill to see one more temple. This actually led to one of those most special travel moments, after I asked a monk if it was ok that I sit where I did. He then sat with me, and soon offered me some green tea. He brought it over, with peanuts and a sweet treat too on the tray, and we sat and had tea together. Through very limited English we talked about where I was from, how many monks live in this hillside monastery, where I have travelled to and where I will head next there in Burma. Such a special few moments.

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