|Breakfast at the Palace|
|Typical Day in Inle Lake|
(This is second of two blogs from Inle Lake. Delayed by lack of internet.)
Here was the scene in Mynamar’s Inle Lake, one of the most delightfully rural, watery, green places I’ve been. Other than the smoky haze caused by slash and burn time in agriculture everywhere here, there was a healthy feeling here of peace and life.
The hotel was an architectural wooden delight with small villas on stilts though the view was currently low water and mud and greens. You walked back and forth on raised ramps and could watch lotus flowers open and close in early morning as day arrived. The principal building was standing on tamarind trunks and young people were embarrassingly helpful.
|Gathering the Hyacinths|
|Girls dorm at Orphanage|
|The Orphanage Visit|
|A stilted Monastery|
|Heritage House Lunch|
|Reclining Buddha in marble|
|Your neck or mine?|
We weeded our way through boat traffic and the silt and hyacinth strangling of the passages for the boats to get to a temple where some sort of May 1st activity was happening. Too congested to go there but I did get a glimpse at the other huge gold royal barge which was docked in an enormous warehouse and is only brought out once a year, in October, when the king and his family spend 25 days visiting his village subjects.
|The Other Royal Barge|
Lunch was in a bouganvillae covered ancient and restored wooden house high up off the river but overlooking all the water activity as well as rich patches of growing tomatoes using the floating garden method. An enterprising Burmese woman created the restaurant, called Inthar Heritage House and is known for its Burmese cats. Not to eat, please. The Burmese cat breed had lost its purity, and an Shan gentleman decided to bring back pure ones from foreign lands and re-create them where they once were. There are two special bamboo rooms where the cats revive and thrive. We sat on the outside deck, sweating, but a breeze blew through fairly often. All my favorite salads and another one of those fried whole fish (I asked them to please not serve it with the head looking at me) made me realize how accustomed I’ve become to the healthy Asian foods (vegetarian) and wondering how I’d be able to recreate the recipes in my own kitchen.
|The Drum at the en|
On departure the next day at 7 a.m., we took the motorized long boat back to the dock (half hour) where we had first arrived. Our car awaited. Roads again. First we had to stop by the monastery to see our three Buddhas cemented in their niches. It was a moment of great laughter and friendship and I was able to give thanks to Buddha for allowing me in his land. As we drove away, we had the unique experience of seeing another initiation parade coming down the narrow road, a tradition of Sidhartha, where three young boys are decked out in finery and in this case put on beautiful horses (there ARE horses in these parts - rarely seen) which were also decorated, are paraded with dance and song and acoustics (some young men beat bamboo poles sort of like Grizz fans do when the enemy team is trying to make a free throw.) It’s a time when these youngsters renounce all worldly things and evils. It’s called Rahul in Myanmar - which means, I love this, “attachment is coming to rob me.” We all could use a Rahu