Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Day 40 - 43 - Myanmar (Burma): Boats, Bikes & Booze at Inle Lake

Inle / Nyaungshwe: 4 Days

Day 1 Activity: Lounged in Nyaung Shwe & Valentine's Day date night
Day 2 Activity: Boat ride & floating village visits on Inle Lake
Day 3 Activity: Bike to boat to bike loop, including visit to a monastery / view point and Red Mountain Estate winery
Day 4 Activity: More biking. More Wine. Roamed around the vineyards. More biking. More wine.

Today Alberto (AB) will join me again as a guest writer on the same 4 questions that I answer below.

QUESTION 1: What was my favorite thing in the Inle Lake area?

(JW) My favorite day in Inle was our bike loop, which involved hiring a boatman to take us and our bikes across the lake to complete the loop.

After lunch at a floating restaurant, we took a misguided turn up a huge hill to the Forest Monastery with an amazing view of the lake and hills below. We ended with a wine tasting at a Burmese vineyard on the hill.

(AB) We took a boat ride through Inle Lake and its intricate canal system. The lake is only 50 square miles, but its a floating self-sustaining ecosystem with houses on stilts, markets, restaurants, farms, and religious temples. The floating city even had power lines that cut across the water.

QUESTION 2: What was my least favorite thing in the Inle Lake area?

(JW) ...when Cujo chased us down a dark alley on our way to dinner.

(AB) Burmese food is not particularly good and lives up to its "oily" reputation. However, being at the crossroads of Asia means we got awesomely prepared Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Cambodian cuisine.

QUESTION 3: Share a unique observation
(JW) The fishermen have mad balance and really do paddle with their feet standing at the tip of the boat (...although the pic below is posed for tourists!)

(AB) Burmese hotel names evoke 90s nostalgia in me with names such as "remember", "memento", "november", "bliss", and "gypsy". Were all Burmese big Guns and Roses fans?

QUESTION 4: What is something the other person is not willing to admit? 
(JW) Alberto may be equally as petrified of dogs as me.

(AB) When we got lost later in the trip, my exceptional Burmese number reading skills helped us identify that we were on 44th street and had gone too far. (Editor's Note: ok, I will admit this happened with 1 correction. This happened in Yangon, not Inle. :-)

UNIQUE TRAVEL TID-BIT: This region still had the Padaung Tribe whose women wear brass coils around their neck, starting at the age of 5. The heavy rings push the collarbone down and give the appearance of a long neck. It was a bit disturbing to see and I was hesitant to take a photo because it felt like the women were on display in the corner of the shop.

NEXT STOP: R&R at a Burmese Beach, Ngapali Beach

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