INLE LAKE, MYANMAR

I spent 5 days in Yangon to planning my Myanmar “adventure.” My plan,

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A 10 HOUR NIGHT BUS RIDE TO INLE LAKE
I had to piss so bad, I got an empty water bottle, dropped my pants in the back corner of the bus., But the road is so rough I’m afraid I won’t get it in the bottle. I zip up my pants, I still got to go? I drop my pants again, still too rough a road. I finally tell the driver “TOILET”, he pulls right over, I’m the first off (and many followed) I’m the last back on, it was a flood out there.

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SIGN AT ROADSIDE RESTAURANT BATHROM
We arrive in town at 4am, only 3 of us are getting off here. But wait, the Myanmar government officials are waiting for us, $10 to enter the town. WTF? There’s actually a motorcycle taxi waiting (4am?) OK. He takes us to a hotel that has a “waiting” sleep room. The tourist are filling the hotels, you have to be very organized or your out of luck.

I walk around town to get my bearings and take a few photos.

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THE SIGN IS IN ENGLISH, BUT SHOULDN’T IT BE IN BURMESE?
I visit the local market and see these really cool crowns

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QUEEN CROWN ON THE LEFT & KING CROWN ON THE RIGHT, (made with 300 water buffalo teeth)
I’ve been eating A LOT of rice, which is fine really.

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BUT I COULDN’T RESIST THIS SIGN (at the Pancake Kingdom)
I always brag about the $5 massages in Laos, but here? $4. She fed me oranges, rice cakes and tea plus the great pressure point massage

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I FOUND THIS GREAT MASSAGE PLACE “MY PARENTS” MASSAGE
The canals from the Lake are used by the long boats

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TO UNLOAD, VEGETABLES, SEED CORN, BAMBOO “LINOLEUM” & PEOPLE FROM ACROSS THE LAKE
There are so many photographic images here. The day to day challenges for the average Burmese would be inconprehensable for anyone from the west.

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HE’S SELLING CORN DOOR TO DOOR (they bought 2 ears)
There are markets around the lake nearly everyday hosted by different villages. So I join a fellow tourist, Puneet (from India) for an all day adventure on a boat.

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THERE’S AN AMAZING AMOUNT OF BOAT COMMERCE (and lots of tourist)
The Inle Lake Fisherman have this interesting way of rowing with one leg and one arm. This VIDEO shows how they row.
That aside, it seems the fisherman have discovered that

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FISHING FOR TOURIST PAYS BETTER THAN ACTUALLY FISHING FOR FISH
They are working at every opportunity they can, including

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SELLING FLOWERS TO PASSING TOURIST
Tourism is being used as a way to improve lives here. It’s hard to tell where all my government tourist “fees” have been going?

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YOU CAN BUY ANYTHING FROM PASSING PADDLE BOATS: STRAW HATS & COCONUT JUICE TO JEWELRY IN THE BACK BOAT
Were on a tourist circuit around the lake, which is better than being home mowing lawns. We visit the KAYAN WEAVERS who wear these brass coils starting at age 5.

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THERE ARE MANY THEORIZED REASONS FOR THE RINGS, BUT THE WOMEN CLAIM IT MAKES THEM MORE BEAUTIFUL
We visit a weaving village too, it was quite interesting. There is a thread inside the Lotus Flower, it was softer than silk. There was a scarf, I now wish I had bought.

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SHE IS PULLING OUT A SINGLE LOTUS THREAD FROM EACH FLOWER STEM
Then we head over to the cigarette “factory.” I wasn’t that interested till I smoked one.

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MYANMAR SWEET TOBACCO: BANANA, ANISE, HONEY, BROWN SUGAR, TAMARIND, SALT & ALCOHOL (yes, that’s the reason I took the photo)
When I sat and watched them unload the boats from across the lake, I noticed all the HUGE baskets of tomatoes and cauliflower. I figured it was from “normal” farming practices, no.

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THEY DIG THE MUCK AND MAKE THESE RAISED BEDS IN THE WATER!

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GROWING FOOD “MANUALLY” IS HARD AND LABOR INTENSIVE WORK
We finally start heading back, it takes nearly an hour to cross the lake

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I GOT TO DRIVE THE BOAT ALMOST ALL THE WAY BACK
Back at the hotel, the breakfast is a little skimpy (unfiling). So I buy some Laughing Cow Cheese (?) and proceed to show them how to make a cheese and tomato omelet (with 3 eggs!). It’s a hit.

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TOASTING BREAD ON THE CHARCOAL “STOVE”
I’ve got one more day to play, so I rent a bike (jeffsbiketour). I decide to ride to the mineral hot springs.

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WITH A BIKE YOUR ABLE TO STOP WHEN AND WHERE-EVER TO TAKE A PICTURE
I’m so glad I rode out to here.

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I COULD HAVE STAYED ALL DAY, BUT I GOT A BUS TO CATCH
The ride home proves just as interesting. I wanted the photo of them working this machine, when I passed them on the way there, but it was too crazy, noisy-dusty.

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THEIR TAKING BIG ROCKS AND MAKING SAND, GRAVEL AND SMALLER ROCK, (holy shit)
The next path I cross is this

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BICYCLING BOTTLE RECYCLER, THERE’S BOTTLES IN AND ON EVERYWHERE
I love my hotel, the room needs help (I had to use a bucket of water to flush the toilet), but the owner and staff are awesome.

20140212-220857.jpg THANKS SO MUCH: KHINE ZAR PHU, THU ZAR AUNG, KYAW YE NAING, ZIN KO AUNG, NAW KHAM
Before leaving I had to get a photo of the daily procession of young Buddhist Monks

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THEY WALK BY DAILY COLLECTING RICE FROM HOUSE’S AND BUSINESS’S
The bus is too far to walk to, so

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SO I DO WHAT EVERY CYCLIST DOES THAT HATES TO WALK, HIRE A BICYCLE TAXI
THANKS FOR READING, HOPE YOU ENJOYED. REMEMBER TO RIDE YOUR BIKE OR AT LEAST HIRE A BICYCLE TAXI AND HELP KEEP THEM PEDALING TOWARDS THE FUTURE!
JEFF

MYANMAR PHOTOS

NEXT? KALAW 8 HOUR MT. BIKE TOUR (AWESOME!), PHOTOS, PHOTOS, PHOTOS

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2 thoughts on “INLE LAKE, MYANMAR

  1. kathrynreder@yahoo.com

    Hey, can you get me some of those neck rings? I think they’ll solve my double chin issue. And a lotus thread scarf – wow.

    Reply

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