Anthony and Erica on the road to Mandalay 2006 travel blog

Bailing out the boat before we start...

Erica and her leg-rowing trainer

Spooky flooded ruins - we had to walk across that!

Novice borowing our canoe

Novices flying kites

Movie Clips - Playback Requirements - Problems?

(AVI - 363 K)

Erica's leg-rowing trainer

(AVI - 705 K)

This was a big hit with the novices, who thought it was...

Bit of a hangover this morning. We are going to have to stop drinking the 'Extra Strong' Dagon beer we developed a taste for in Yangon. Our favourite cafe has started stocking it for us, and we have also discovered the cheapest off-licence in town. Time to stick to the lassis (yummy yoghurt drink).

Its been great having the bikes. If I want to do something, I just jump on the bike and ride off, through the dark and into the potholes. We feel at home here now and like we know the town well, and having the bikes adds to that. So this morning we rode off several miles around the lake. Very bumpy roads, very sore arses, very hot, but really good fun, great views, and cool under the trees and bamboo when you get speed up. Some pics in yesterday's entry by mistake.

Then back to town for lunch. Luckily it didn't rain today, as next we went on a canoe on the lake with one of the hotel staff - Schwe-U. These canoes are like dugouts, very shallow in the water, and look unstable as hell. How the leg-rowers and little kids and old ladies manage them I do not know. So with some trepidation as a non-swimmer without a life-jacket, we clambered in and set off, rocking wildly every time one of the big canoes with outboards shot past. It was fantastic, incredibly peaceful and serene once we got off the main river, and after a while we felt relatively safe.

First we visited this 700 year old buddha in some spooky flooded ruins, though we had to splash across to them to get a good look, both narrowly missing ending up in the mud. And then more Deliverance meets Paradise style scenery; Nat shrines in the middle of tangled banyon forests, lake villages, acres of lotus, etc. Beautiful. One of the best bits was when we went to our boatman's local monastery. Like many monasteries, it was essentially a children's home, and the novices were playing with kites like everyone else here does in the late afternoon. They were very amused by my photos and film of them. All in all a lovely afternoon, ending with being gently rowed through the lotus flowers while Schwe-U sang softly. It was romantic!. We both like Inle Lake very much and can't recommend it enough. Tomorrow, two days of trekking, so let's hope the weather holds.

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