Bagan Umbra Hotel
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So even though our room for the night was pretty grotty we slept well and they gave a good breakfast.We rented bikes for the day from a shop next door. And cycled to fancier hotel we had been recommended to find out there availability and great to find the rooms are $30 cheaper than booking them online. We then went to get our bags, which was fun …
... and the fruity-looking pizza we bought (what could go wrong there) turned out to have a generous layer of custard on the bottom. All very puzzling.
The bus to Bagan was, of course, an eight hour endurance test, mainly because of the tiny stature of Burmese people (see attached picture for purposes of comparison) results in what must be the tiniest bus seats in the World. You feel as though you have spent the whole day trapped in a wendy house with your face ...
... and had a shower before going to Mount Popa.
Mount Popa was about an hour from Bagan and the drive showed the massive difference in wealth between Bagan and the outer areas, where people still lived in wooden shacks. Mt Popa was on the edge of a Volcano, and it required 777 steps to get to the top, there was also a lot of resident monkeys to the temple, although they seemed mainly harmless. The temple was actually pretty small, but the views over the plains ...
... those today many were plaster covered and probably gleamed magnificently in the sun when they were first painted.
We were in no hurry so when the temple touts came looking for a sale, we were an easy target today. We had time to stand and stare and of course haggle. We bought quite a few little momentos and just hope we can get them all in our case!
One of today's little highlights was that we got to add some gold to a Buddah. For 1000K (60p) we could buy a square ...
... want a skinny horse to work hard.
Anyway, on this occasion, the horse was fine. Rambo his name was. Our driver was Cheeleh and off we went.
The morning started off fairly cool and we were relaxing nicely as Rambo trotted along. Cheeleh told us all about his family and was pointing out the sites as we went (something we would not have known ourselves on a bike).
Then we turned off onto a sand road and the temples started popping out at us ...