Woke up to knock at 5:30! Had a very nice eggs, toast, tea, and banana breakfast...this early, Bon packed hers to eat on the bus. Taxi was waiting, been pouring rain since 4am. Took a bit over half an hour to get tot the bus station and then another half hour in the jam up getting from the entrance to where our bus was. Counted over 100 buses parked on the roads in & out waiting to go? or? Very upscale AC bus w/ video TV, even supplied bottled water. By the time we stopped for lunch at 11am rain had stopped and by 2 it was partly cloudy/sunny. By the looks of it the land, once jungle, has been totally clear cut and now in some places agricultural plantings. Otherwise, it's uneven terrain, sm. plots of cultivated land (rice & bananas), houses mostly like Laos, woven reed mat walls, thatched roof, single room. Everything is very green but lots of area just going to brush/trees/vines without much evidence of agricultural endeavours like we saw in Bangladesh or Thailand - poor soil, government ownership, ???
The highway was a huge surprise, 4 lane, concrete divided with very little traffic of any kind. Looks relatively new by the 'landscaping' along sides and down the middle plus freshly painted bridges/fencing.
A huge difference compared to Thailand...No signs of any kind, no billboards, advertizing or guidance signage. About 3:30pm we leave the 4 laner and finish our trip on a little 2 lane back road, lots more agriculture. Once in Bagan (5:30) touts swarm but we manage to walk down the road towards where we think are the accommodations and happen to meet Eddy (Irish fellow from Motherland) on a bicycle who tells us Gordon & Diana are here staying at Inn Wa Guesthouse. Eddy was heading for the family he visits here but says he expects to get together with G & D at Holiday Inn restaurant about 8:30. We check out MayKhaLar Guesthouse but the rooms are too dark so we continue on to Inn Wa G.H.
where a room costs the same but is much brighter W/ TV $20 US - they expect payment in US dollars - certainly a lot more than we expected to pay but Eddy had said the prices in last 3 months have doubled! LP shows prices MUCH lower.
The folks in Inn Wa G.H. are very nice, helpful. Later we spend a very good eve chatting at Holiday with Eddy, G. & D. They see the same issues we do worldwide, but often express dismay at the costs government has incurred 'supporting' people who are not working. Not sure how they see these people getting jobs? G & D were working in investment banking (Morgan Stanley) and Eddy is a psych nurse in Ireland.
8am bus, 10 hours to Bagan...Stayed in Inn Wa Guest HouseVisit Wiki Info Bagan
After a good complimentary breakfast - fruit, tea, toast, eggs - we go to the bank and exchange US dollars (our spending is just like US government - out of control, ha!). We buy bus tickets thru Inn Wa G.H. Yey Yey, fellow at desk, is very helpful, leaving the 6th at 8:30 pick up here at G.H. Renting bikes from Inn Wa, new ones, we head out to explore the huge # of temples here (see photos). On the way we stop at Everstand, a lacquerware workshop run by a family for 4 generations. Man in charge for past 30 years, MaMa, has 40 workers employed turning out some very beautiful works of art.Visit Ever Stand Lacquerware Site - See Photos
Places visited in order:
Lawka Chanthar Phaya, Thagyar Hit Phaya, Iftilo Minlo Temple (13th century), Chatu-Mukha, Min-O-Chan Thar Pagoda, Hsu Taung Pyi Pagoda, Ananda Phaya (Temple), Thet Taw Ya Temple, Shwe Gu Gyi Temple (1131 A.D.), Thatby Inhyu Temple, Myet Taw Pyay Temple, Gaw Daw Palin Temple, Nwa Pya Gu Temple, and finally, Dhamma yan gyi Temple.
The monsoon rains caught up with us before we cycle as fast as we could back getting soaked, ha! The two desk guys were outside the G.H. showering in the gutter runoff pouring off the roof when we rode up.
Met up with G & D at breakfast chatting some. After Bon was on internet for a couple hours - I'm reading a book now since I've got no tablet, boo hoo. We rented bikes again and visited more temples:
Shwezigon Zedi Pagoda, Wut Tana Taw, Sula Mani Guphaya, Ywa Haung Gui Temple...
In cycling to Sula Mani I cycled off the road to avoid mud holes and got a tire puncture from an acacia branch! This led to a 1 1/2 hour walk back to Inn Wa while Bon continues on to visit a couple more including a really fine temple, Pyathada Paya, which gave her some great panorama shots of the Bagan plains. I arrived back at G.H. about 15 minutes before Bon. Interestingly, during my entire walk back with the flat tire no one stopped to offer a ride or help or even question why I was walking my bike. Perhaps due to the shyness of the Burmese people although I was asked for money for food and to take pictures with them numerous times so?!