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Have I mentioned that things are expensive in Myanmar? Well, they are. It seems unreasonably so. High prices everywhere, but everyone is poor. I’m not quite sure where all the money is going. Maybe the government is levying a hefty toll on everyone, but even food and taxis and all the other usually cheap things in Asia were shockingly pricey. I mean $3 for a Coke? In Asia? Normal price $.50. And with no other options, everyone paid. Myanmar is not a place for ‘travel on a shoestring’. Bring wads of cash, ’cause the new ATMs don’t work. At least not for us Americans where banking websites were blocked (from the US side). Hopefully things will change as more people travel the country.
|Frangiapani flower in front of a temple. One of my favorite smells.|
But the temples are worth seeing. We thought Mandalay was hot, but Bagan was more like a desert. Sandy, dry and baking. We splurged and stayed at one of the few places with a pool (which they somehow kept ice cold despite the 100+ temps), within walking distance of a few of the larger temples which was nice as the main town is 7km north.
|Novice monks collecting alms.|
There are three main ways to see the temples. Tour bus – not our cup of tea. Bike – not in silty sand with the sun scorching our backs. Horse drawn carriage – yes please. Much comfier and a tad speedier than I initially thought, it was nice to be driven around. I did feel a little bad for Chop-Chop, our little engine for the day, but he didn’t seem to mind too much.
|Buddha statue, Buddha fresco.|
|Buddha statue covered in gold leaf.|
|Sand paintings laid out for tourists to buy.|
|Dishing out the goods. The gum-lady cometh.|
|Full ethnic Shan dinner. Wow, so many flavors. Like musty hay, but better. Yes, I tried everything.|
A quick note on the giant government run archaeological museum in Bagan. Unless you like displays that look as if they were made by high schoolers, don’t go. Many of the descriptions were at best dubious. Somehow 2000 year old wooden sculptures have survived here and are carelessly displayed without any protection…hmm…doubtful. I would love to show some photos, but they don’t allow cameras in.
|Sunset over the Irrawaddy river.|
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