Anthony and Erica on the road to Mandalay 2006 travel blog

By the moonshine stop

First glimpse of Mt. Popa through the trees

Erica bargaining hard with some kids for 'lucky' stones

Erica looking lovely on the summit of Mt. Popa

Around the base of Mt. Popa

Main temple in old Bagan

Temple detail

Pottery amongst the ruins - big household water pots

At last, an actual night's sleep! Myanmar has an eight day week, with our Wednesday actually made up of two days, so we had to pack a lot in to this single Western day. So up we get and go off in a shared taxi with two (miserable) French guys to Mt. Popa, not far north of here. (For some reason we never did ascertain, there appear to be an unusual amount of gay couples here....and Germans). We stopped at a palm wine distillery on the way and got to sample the wine and spirits, can't complain, though it was a bit early for spirit drinking.

Mount Popa is the core of an extinct volcano and is home to the 37 Nats, the spirits of the Burmese animistic religion, coexisting with Buddhism. The Nat King is the spitting image of Steven Seagal. The main place is perched on this hill, very atmospheric, though covered in crazy monkies. We didn't see any Nats, but had a great time.

Back to Nwaung U, lunch, and then walked around amongst the ruins and temples and the town all afternoon. Lunch had made me feel a bit ill, so it was hard work, but very interesting, markets, homes, temples, etc. The old temples are mixed throughout the town, e.g. in the courtyard of a Chinese cafe round the corner from us, in a way that probably won't be the case when this place becomes as visited as Angkor in Cambodia. Changed to a nicer hotel room, booked our flights out, and generally had fun, though I struggled to finish the evening curry. Must be ill.

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