After being thrown out of the only available bar last night and someone (not me) having a close encounter of the yankee kind, breakfast was awesome; toast, pancakes, scrambled eggs and pretty good coffee. Another wander around town was in order this morning and then we headed down to lake Inle for a few days stopping off to see paper makers and another pagoda.
Wow Kalaw a throw back in time. We only had a half day so I sauntered out towards the back of town, past a monastery and then was serenaded by “the rivers of Babylon”. As I got closer a major conversion was attempted as an old Burmese chap threw himself from his teak patio and towards his gate. He asked me the usual “where’s from” and then proceeded to interrogate me!
“Jesus yes?”….”Jesus no”
“Baptist yes?…..”baptist no”
“Mussel yes?”…… “Muslim no”
His furrowed brow spoke volumes, just behind him I noticed the “Jesus will save you” sign. I told him I loved and appreciated kind people including him and wished him good day.
Returning to town I visited the colourful local market; fish filleters and butchers accompanied by the usual dog threesomes under the table. After lunch of chicken & coriander soup (40p) it was time to hit the road to Inle Lake which promised stilt fishermen, the giraffe brass clad neck ladies and a host of other treasures.
On the way we stopped off at the umbrella makers, his skill incredible and he’d even made his own turning machine, foot powered of course. The umbrellas he made from linen were sealed waterproof and used by monks whereas he also manufactured decorative versions made from hand made paper.
We made one final stopover at a beautiful teak monastery just outside Nyaung Shwe Township our base for the next three days. Shwe Yan Pyay monastery was so peaceful, young monks chanted, smiled and generally made everyone feel really welcome. It’s an ornate creaky retreat with wide open windows and great skill has gone into the intricate carvings on doors and other carpentry.
On arrival at the township we checked into the Hu Pin Hotel which celebrated the death of wi-fi as we know it!
Later that evening we had dinner at an awesome family restaurant, I would recommend it as I had incredible lemongrass steamed fish from the lake but I’ve lost the business card and since I turned 50 my memory is not what it was!.