I’v seen all the Pagodas I need to see, that being said. I’m headed to the GOLDEN ROCK PAGODA, the third most important Pagoda in Myanmar. It’s like Castles and Churches in Europe, Monasteries in Greece or Mosques in Turkey, I’ve seen enough Pagodas, but it’s in the same direction I’m headed, so here I go.
I bought my bus ticket an hour before it came.
SO I GET THE FOLDING SEAT BETWEEN THE “REGULAR” SEATS, I SKIP ONE SEAT AND IT MAKES A GREAT LOUNGE CHAIR FOR MY LONG LEGS
I’m always worried about the bathroom “opportunities” on the bus, on a bicycle it’s never a problem. The bus stops always show me something I haven’t seen before.
YOU CAN BUY A “GOOD LUCK” BIRD FOR $1 AND SET IT FREE
This stop was quite helpful and interesting
SHE RE-FIXED MY WATCH BAND (for free!)
I did hard physical work in America, digging ditches, trimming trees, hauling dirt in garbage cans, but nothing like you see here.
PUSHING THE CART UN-LOADED WOULD BE HARD WORK. TO PUSH IT LOADED? IMPOSSIBLE FOR MOST OF US
I finally get to town and secure a hotel room. Find the WiFi hotel and plan to visit the “GOLDEN ROCK” today.
THEY’RE TAKING PEOPLE UP THE MOUNTAIN, BY THE TRUCK LOADS
I have to take my shoes off, a long way from the rock. But,
I’M NOT CARRYING 90LBS SACKS OF CONCRETE, BAREFOOT! (so quit bitching)
THE STORY IS THAT BUDDHAS HAIR IS UNDER THE ROCK TO HELP KEEP IT BALANCED
Sometimes it’s easier to look at google images, than look at my I-phone photos. Most people have better cameras and take photos at every angle, I’m not a photo reporter, so view more GOLDEN ROCK PICTURES HERE
I did consider this option
IF FOR NOTHING ELSE, IT WOULD HAVE MADE A GREAT PICTURE
The road up to the golden rock is super steep and the driver drove like a Gran Prix racer. I was actually a little apprehensive about the ride back. The driver was more cautious on the way back, thank Buddha (god),
I GOT A FEW GOOD PICTURES RIDING THE TRUCK DOWN
I picked my hotel because it was a quiet area, I thought. There’s a wedding near my hotel. Tradition is when you get married here, they start the celebration at 4:30 in the morning, by playing music “loud.” I heard Neil Young’s “HEART OF GOLD” 3 times, sung in Burmese.
I’ve seen the rock, now I got to go. The “free” breakfast isn’t much.
I GET SOME FRESH CUT WATERMELON FOR THE BUS RIDE
As crazy as they drive, I haven’t seen any accidents or many wrecked vehicles? I did spot this crashed vehicle from the bus.
THEY’RE USUALLY FULL OF PEOPLE, NOT WEARING SAFETY BELTS
I make it to MAWLAMYINE
I’m still feeling a little sick, but decide to go on the Hpa-An island tour.
IT’S AN HOUR BOAT RIDE AND IT’S A FULL BOAT
We stop at these little cottage industries, with our Tuk Tuk, while circling the island. The “road” (if you can call it that) is so rough, I think I’m going to throw up. I’ve had enough of Myanmar. I struggle through the various workshops: chalk boards, hats, walking canes, pens and rubber bands. The rubber band “factory” was very interesting. There are rubber trees everywhere, so they are true “rubber” bands.
FIRST HE DIPS THE 6 METAL RODS IN THE LATEX MIX, 5 OR 6 TIMES
THEY THEN DRY THEM IN THE SUN, WHEN DRY, THEY ROLL THEM OFF THE RODS. THE TOUR GUIDE SAID THEY WERE ELEPHANT CONDOMS
THIS IS THE MACHINE USED TO CUT THE RUBBER TUBES INTO RUBBER BANDS. YOU CAN BUY A 1000 FOR $1. I USED A COUPLE TO FIX MY SUN GLASSES!
It was interesting circling the island, so many photo opportunities.
YOU LOOK AT THIS AND THINK, WOW THAT’S HARD WORK
But the alternative has a price too
USING OIL HAS AN OBVIOUS PRICE TOO
One gallon of gasoline provides approximately 225 man hours of labor. That’s one of the reasons America’s economy has been able to grow so fast. But it too came at a high price, Climate Change. The Chinese economic miracle was exploited on the back of the environment. I’ve been watching the news here in Cambodia. I hope America and the rest of the world is enjoying those “cheap” Chinese imports! because right behind them is a cloud of toxic dust that helped make that cheap stuff.
THERE WAS LOTS OF NICE SCENERY
Our Tuk Tuk driver ran out of gas on the tour. So we sat by the road till he could get us back to the boat dock.
THE “STOP” MADE FOR A GREAT PHOTO OF SOME TRADITIONAL HOUSING
Were back and I want to go to the French Bakery and buy some coffee beans.
SO I PEDAL THE BICYCLE TAXI A COUPLE KILOMETERS, PEOPLE WERE WAVING AND TAKING OUR PICTURE, IT WAS A GREAT WAY TO END MY MYANMAR JOURNEY
I wanted to leave the next day. Butt, no, I got up at 4:30 am and was shitting like crazy again. I wanted to take the every other day taxi to Thailand, But I was at the bathroom every 10-15 minutes. I started taking the medicine right away. By 9:30 I felt I could ride in the car, without stopping. I am so done with being sick, Myanmar and travel in general.
So I take a motorcycle taxi to the Thailand taxi stop. It’s a place where they fill a car with people and go. $10, 5-6 hours.
He stops at a regular gas station and doesn’t want to pay their price.
SO WE STOP AT THE 5 GAL. JUG GAS STATION. ONE GUY POURS AND ONE GUY HOLDS THE SCREEN
There is 7 of us in the car. We pass a couple cute girls, waiting by the road, pack em in. Now there’s 9 of us in this little car.
Taking pictures from the road can be rewarding and insightful, to peoples daily struggles.
THERE’S AT LEAST ONE MORE TRIP LEFT IN THIS TRUCK
The “highway” is crazy: pavement, gravel, dirt, holes
NO GUARD RAILS AND THE ROAD DROPS OFF, IT’S A LITTLE SCARY
This is one of the main trade routes with between Thailand and Myanmar.
I SAW THIS SEVERAL TIMES, GOODS LEFT BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD, UNDELIVERED.
WHEN THE ROAD WAS PAVED, IT HAD TO BE SHARED
WE PASSED 5 OR 6 AREAS WHERE THEY WERE WORKING ON THE ROAD, BY HAND!
WE PASSED JUST AS MANY “CHECK” STATIONS ASKING FOR DONATIONS (I gave once)
OK one more road photo
THE ROAD WAS ROUGH, DUSTY AND WINDY
One of the girls we picked up thought so too.
THAT’S HER PUKING IN THE PLASTIC BAG FOR THE SECOND TIME (I know, nice photo Jeff)
Were almost down off the mountain, and all the sudden everyone is washing their cars and trucks on the side of the road.
SO WE STOP AT ONE OF THE MANY WASH STATIONS AND THEY POWER-WASH AND SCRUB OUR CAR
We finally make it to the border, I’m the last to be dropped off. What a fucking adventure, 3 passport checks, harrowing mountain road and only 1 guy who spoke english in the car.
THE REPUBLIC OF THE UNION OF MYANMAR
NOW, MY FAVORITE PHOTO OF MYAMAR
THANKS FOR READING AND I HOPE YOU’VE ENJOYED MY BLOG. AGAIN COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!
NEXT? FINAL THOUGHTS ON MYANMAR
MYANMAR PHOTOS HERE