Day 13 : 3rd October 2019
We spent some time together having couple of drinks and slept immediately after that. Sound sleep and I could sleep for couple of more days together. If you don’t miss your family and friends, do such a journey and the feeling hits you soon. Do miss Mumbai and family. One clarification on yesterday’s note. I am getting a replacement pipe in Thailand and not a replacement bike as incorrectly captured. I hope to bring the same vehicle back to Mumbai. Got up early in the morning against my wishes (people are worried and I get so many messages inquiring about my well being and wanted to avoid that) and posted the story.
Wi-Fi in this part of the country is not that great and sending across various social media platforms itself kills an hour. Went for breakfast and believe it’s a lean period for the hotel. No buffet breakfast (except fruits, breads and juices) and they get you everything on order. Breakfast starts at 6 am and I don’t know the reason. I ordered for fried rice (either this or noodles) and eating rice that early in the morning seems to be weird (even though I spent first 25 years of my life doing that). You feel that you are in some Chinese zone (apart from the people’s look) and I heard some Chinese music playing in the background (reminded me of some Chinese movie and an emotional scene).
The only thing which is familiar is the “Lungi” which is the national dress for Burmese. Designs are different for men and women but the attire remains the same. Nothing to do till 11 am and I went back to sleep at 9 am. I am trying to use every bit of time to hit the bed and I did that more than couple of times during the day. Body is protesting and need to attend that. If everything goes well, I am planning to sleep at 9 pm from now onwards and give the body enough rest. To ride a bike and that too such a long distance needs to be compensated with enough rest
. Being in Bagan, even though my body wanted to rest I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of seeing around and we took our bike and went for sightseeing. It was so hot and started sweating a lot. This is not the way to see around such a great city and you need to be doing it peacefully.. Bagan is a world heritage site and has around 3000+ temples/pagodas built between 11-13 century BCE in an area of 42 square kilometers. Believe Myanmar started adopting Buddhism during this period. Just needed a time machine to take me that time and witness the golden period of Myanmar.
Lots of brick structures and some sandstone temples and this reminded me the Bishnupur terracotta temples Or Nalanda heritage site. Sincerely believe the technique and philosophy came from India given the similarities across the architectural style and religious beliefs. A must place to visit and add it to your “to do list”. I am definitely bringing Sonal to this place in the near future and you need couple of days to see around Bagan only. You have many more places in Myanmar and a 2 week visit should be good enough to see the country.
One of the temples we visited was called “Phaya Thon Zu Phaya” and one of the best in Bagan (as per our escort). This temple wouldn’t not have been built in one go and could have happened over a period of time. It has 3 sanctum sanctorum (Having Lord Buddha in the middle) and the first one has basic murals (nothing great and simple drawings). The same murals gained some artistic designs in the 2nd and the 3rd one was adorned with beautiful paintings in colours extracted from natural things (like vegetables or trees) and a good guide can take couple of hours to explain the entire temple. We visited some more temples and you can witness some excellent sandstone carvings.
The recent government has built an artifical mound & pond in the middle which can help you see the tops of each temples and pagodas. On a good weather day, this place would be ideal to sit and admire the beautiful and serene surroundings and the scattered temple tops. Believe the city has hot air balloon tours which happens early in the morning (between 4-6 pm) and that can be used for a price of 290 US Dollars. Worth spending money to get to see the area from top and would definitely do that during my leisure visit to the country. The locals wear a specific designed hat (some are done professionally and some are made by them using available things) and a thorough research needs to be done on this topic (various designs and their relation to the region).
Hats have been designed according to the local needs (particularly the weather) and I couldn’t fulfill my hobby of collecting hats (don’t have place to keep such a large one now). Since entering Myanmar, I have been seeing the people using some sort of paste applied to their cheeks and assumed it was sandal wood paste to protect from heat. Checked with my escort and he took to me a shop and gave a live demonstration. It’s not sandal wood paste but the process is very similar and the tree used is something different. Men apply the paste on their face and women use it only for their cheeks (look matters).
While watching the demo, I had one huge coconut water and that was the sweetest I have ever had. Went for another one and the finished the enite pulp. That was my lunch. Tasty and very filling. On reaching back to the hotel, met a Malaysian who is doing KL to London on a BMW 1000 cc and his quote (No itinerary is the itinerary and if not now then when) was the best and suits my ideology. Would be doing the ride to London one day for sure. Slept again for an hour and it’s time for our evening sightseeing. Our escort team took us to Ayeyarwaddy river (longest and largest in Myanmar) and we traveled on day 12 through the bridge constructed across the river.
It was a rail cum road bridge and it was more than 4 kms long and a beautiful bridge to use. Our evening session was to take a boat ride and enjoy the sunset. Everything is so cheap in Myanmar and an hour boat ride for 9 people cost us less than 500 Indian Rupees. You get to see lots of large (huge would be a better word) and luxury and we enjoyed the sunset in a relaxing way (assume what you want to). So the evening is to relax and chill. I stayed back in the hotel to write this and others had gone out for the dinner. Hearing Chinese music again and going to finish food (at the hotel itself) and sleep soon for another riding day tomorrow.