Sunday, December 9, 2012

Myanmar part 6

Kakku and back to Yangon
We decided to take a drive out to visit Kakku. It is amazing! Seriously! Check out that place. We had to be rushed away because we were having too much fun exploring this amazing place. We also hired a couple local PaO guides. Susu was the main one and the other was training. Susu was so cute because she kept telling us jokes that she had learned.
We came back to our hotel on Inle lake and were treated to an evening of local dancing and performing. The kids loved it and at the end were able to get up and join the fun.
 Our last day in Myanmar was spent shopping at Scott's market and visiting some of the places from the first day that we were too tired to enjoy. If you look closely, you can see Porter sitting in front of this laying down Buddha. It was soooo huge!
We finished up by visiting Shwedegon in the evening to see it with all it's lights on. Toby and his mom had a great time playing around with their cameras.

Myanmar part 5

Pindaya and Inle Lake
On our drive to Pindaya, our guide had me convinced that the cave was full of big fist sized spiders. Seriously, I totally fell for it. There is a whole story that goes with the cave about a giant spider and an archer that killed it. Luckily, this is the only spider I encountered.
We did, however, find lots and lots of Buddha statues. The cave is filled with about 8000 of them. They even have a section called "the maze" because you can't see where you are going and weaves around into different dead ends. Our favorite discovery was the tiny little crawl space that let into a tiny meditation cavern. The whole time the boys ran around trying to find another "secret passage way".

Inle Lake was the next on the agenda. We visited many of the local shops. This woman is checking the silk thread to make sure none of it had broken. They say she walks several miles a day going back and forth.
These gold blobs are actually Buddha statue completely covered with inches of gold leaf. There is a great story about how they came reside here. Inle lake is a huge lake community with people living on the lake in stilted houses. They were bringing the Buddhas here in a canoe and a storm came and one was lost, but somehow mysteriously made it on it's own.
We visited a shop with 3 Padaung or long neck women. They showed their rings to us and some of their weaving.
We stayed in a hotel right in the middle of the lake. The staff were so friendly and always had people waiting for us whenever we arrived.
This is how we got around the lake to visit all the different places.
A local fisherman showing us how to catch some fish. They have the most amazing balance.
The people on Inle lake are famous for their leg rowing. They stand at the front of their canoes and row using one arm and one leg. It really is so amazing to watch.
Somehow living in the middle of the lake didn't stop these people from being industrious. They have a large floating garden for tomatoes. They use seaweed to grow it and grow enough to export to the rest of the country.
The boys loved running around at night looking for lizard. They would flick them off the lights into the water and listen to them swim back to the wood.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Myanmar part 4

Next we flew to Mandalay and were able to see all the monks as they lined up for their daily meal. You should have seen the size of  pot they used for rice!

 We took another horse cart ride to Inwa. This time Porter caught on to the driving thing and was sure to help out the entire time. There were girls that would follow the carts the entire time trying to sell their trinkets.
 Another attempt at a family picture... I still like it.

 We went on a boat ride to Mingun. This is how we got to our boat, and then climbed through a few other boats to finally get to ours. Mingun was so hot! We were dripping in sweat, but it was an amazing place to visit.

 We climbed to the top of Mingun's great pagoda or Mingun's biggest brick pile. Being a sacred place, we had to take our shoes off. Toby and I ran up the staircase on the right and we are those tiny specs on top there. The stairs were soooo hot I thought my feet were going to burn off. We purposely left Zeke at the bottom with Grandma and Grandpa but then there he was at the top. A local carried him all the way to the top!

 The Teak monastery. The kids had fun enjoying the cool room and decided to wrestle for a while so we took a break as well.
 World's biggest book. Each pagoda held a large bronze slab with writing on it.
We went back to the largest Teak bridge (almost a mile long) at sunset. The boys made friends with a local fisherman. When we were leaving, he grabbed Zeke's hand and walked with him back to the end of the bridge.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Myanmar part 3

Bagan a little more... We went to see how they made their famous lacquerware. It is an amazing process that takes months to make. I may have bought a few pieces to bring home for myself. The people were so nice, letting Zeke try everything.

 Kids were tying to sell postcards to us, and those that didn't have postcards made their own drawings to sell. Zeke bought some that he liked and then shared some tootsie rolls with the rest of the kids.

 Toby and his parents got up early and went for a bike ride at sunrise to check out a few more pagodas before we hit the road.
 A group of women from a local village caught sight of Porter's red hair and fair skin and had to come check him out. He was so popular. I think by the end of our trip he was touched and loved to death. He was tired of posing for everyone's pictures and was ready to be left alone.
 Mt. Popa! We climbed all the steps up to the top and survived the monkeys in the process.
 There were a lot of people visiting these religious sites from around the area. These boys were away from their village for the first time and were excited to see tourists. They wanted pictures with all of us and were especially excited to take pictures with Toby.
 There were monkeys everywhere. Everyone that worked there, every guide and all the local people carried slingshots with them to keep the monkeys back. Our guide let Zeke be in charge of the slingshot. He never had to shoot one, but he did have fun pretending while scaring the monkeys in the process.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Myanmar part 2

Bagan continues... We spent a few days in Bagan exploring all the pagodas. The kids had fun running through every nook and cranny.

 This was one of my favorite places to explore. We found this small staircase to the roof of the pagoda. We would ask our guide if it was okay to climb to the top, and he would always answer, "why not?" It was great. We were able to run around anywhere we wanted and all we had to do was make sure we took our shoes off.