|Tuesday Feb 5th. Captain had quite a challenge this morning trying to find his way through a very congested part of the river. About 30 other vessels were trying to do the same, many of them stuck in the sandy bottom. Our ship only needs about 5.5 meters of water but was continually hitting the bottom and having to back out and change direction. The river is extremely wide but has too many sand bars at this time of year. It will be a different story when the monsoon rains start in a couple of months. It took about 1.5 hours to travel half a kilometer and get into some deeper water but then it was still slow going.
This afternoon we stopped at one of the many villages which are famous for there pottery in this part of Burma. We did a walking tour through the village and saw just how primitive there methods are. They make the large pots on a wheel where one person pedals to turn the wheel while another turns out the pots. Pots dry in the sun before being stacked around wood to form a large mound which is then covered in river sand and becomes a kiln which is lit and burns for four days. It then takes four days to cool down. This is all happening on many properties where families live and run there business.
Tomorrow will be our final stop for the ship. After traveling more than 600 miles we will fall short of Mandalay (due to river conditions) by only 39 miles. We will still live on the ship for the next few days but we will get to see all the highlights by bus.