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.

Myanmar part 1

I know I have been a complete slacker the last few months on the blog. It's because I have been faced with the daunting task of recording our trip. Or at least a shortened version of recording our trip. In case you didn't know, we took our family to Myanmar and Thailand the end of September and the first of October. It was an amazing experience and I am so glad we were able to share it with our kids. I managed to make a "best of" out of the 5000 or so pictures (no typo, there really were that many pictures taken). I'm not going to try to do a day by day account, but I will try to hit the highlights.
 First stop was in Yangon, Myanmar where we visited Shwedegon. The time change is pretty much opposite there so if we look a little out of it, that's why.
 Shwedegon pagoda is the most famous Buddhist pagoda. It is a huge plaza with tons of temples and pagodas everywhere with Buddha in each one. This is the main one standing in the middle of the plaza.
 Then we went on to Bagan. Old Bagan is a 16 square mile area with over 2000 pagodas and temples. We were able to visit many of them. The boys loved "exploring" the secret passages ways and running through the hallways.

 There is gold everywhere in this country. It didn't matter that the people were poor, they would buy gold leaf and place it on certain Buddhas. Some places the gold was layered a couple inches thick.
 In the evening they took us to a tall temple to overlook the countryside for sunset. Everywhere you looked, there were more pagodas than you could count.

 We took a horse drawn buggy ride to visit some of the different pagodas. Zeke thought he was driving the cart because the driver let him help hold the reigns.
Well, that's probably good for a first post. Just a little more about Myanmar. Myanmar, aka Burma, is located just West of Thailand in Southeast Asia. It has just recently opened up to tourism so we thought we would take the chance to visit this culture rich country.