Saturday, February 22, 2014

Day 38 & 39 - Myanmar (Burma) - Temple exploration by Bicycle in Bagan

Bagan - 2 Days

Day 1 Activity: Bike around pagodas with sunset view
Day 2 Activity: Visit Mt Popa & Half Day Bike around Pagodas
Today's post features guest writer, Alberto (AB), who will keep me honest by answering the same 4 questions below that I answer.

QUESTION 1: What was my favorite thing in Bagan?

JW - We visited my favorite temple before sunset with no other tourists around. The big gold-gilded top shined in the sun and the temple housed Buddah frescos from 900 years ago. 
I also loved biking from temple to temple, even though our old school fixed gear bikes felt like we were biking hills on flats. 
AB- watching the sunset with jeanne on top of a pagoda. With a backdrop of hundreds of stupas interspersed across the valley, the scene had a "land before time" quality to it and I half expected a flying pterodactyl or a t-rex to come scampering from behind a stupa.

QUESTION 2: What was your least favorite thing in Bagan?

JW - The realization that Burma is taking the tourist turn. While the temples were not swarming with tourists like in Cambodia, prices are inflated relative to the SEA neighbors and luxury tours are driving demand for high-end hotels and fancy tourist packages. Also, restoration of some of the temples looks more like Disneyfication with the bright colored paint and electric lights.

AB - The blaring sound of democracy. Although I initially thought it was cool that our guesthouse was across the street from the National League for Democracy's local headquarters, I was not expecting their particular technique of mobilizing the masses which consisted of firing up the speakers at 6am and proceeding to broadcast loud, local music throughout the day.

QUESTION 3: Share a unique observation

JW - Monkeys have a fascination with toilet paper, and if flaunted in front of their eyes, they will jump across stairwells to your back trying to steal it (speaking from experience.)

AB - There are 8 days in the Buddhist week and 8 steps in the path to enlightenment. At this point, I'm well on to step five.

QUESTION 4: What is something the other person is not willing to admit? 

JW - I appreciate Alberto's confidence, but I don't think he's made much progress in 'cracking the code' of the Burmese written numbers and alphabet. He still has yet to read a sign, but thinks he will be fluent soon. 

AB - Jeanne is deathly afraid of monkeys. All those cute pictures of monkeys you will see on her blog were taken with a shakey camera and she more than once took a picture of my feet as she jumped back from what she claimed was an Ebola carrying monkey.


UNIQUE TRAVEL TID-BIT of the DAY

Mandalay Airlines boasts a mosquito free aircraft! Check out the 'Mosaway' ticket.

NEXT STOP: 4 nights at Inle Lake


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