A 76ct diamond, no not on Lady E’s finger

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Flag of Myanmar  ,
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

After a hard negotiation at the bus station (most drivers would not entertain taking us and two people we picked up on the bus) for less than 10,000 kip, it was a 40 minute taxi ride but only cost us 4,500 on the way there. We eventually got a guy who agreed on 6,000 kip which split conveniently in to 1,500 Kyat per person. The taxi driver was a complete head the ball (again), we basically did the journey in about 25 minutes maybe averaging 70 mph in a 30 year old car (obviously the usual no seat belts, bad brakes etc), we felt every bump of the road and again being right hand drive on the right hand side he insisted on a full car manoeuvre into the other lane to check for traffic coming head on when we overtook. I think we were all shitting ourselves. We arrived back at Motherland 2 in one piece and woke up the hostel. We were quickly given two free dorm beds but at about 5:30am they were free so we got about 3 hours sleep. We woke and our room was ready. We basically spent the day writing the blog for the last two weeks, interspersed with listening to music, and visiting our final tourist attraction the mighty Shwedagon Pagoda (the most important religious site in Myanmar).

This was another contribution to the Government coffers but we cannot see how there is any money left after maintaining this absolutely stunning building (well it is more of an area than a building). Whilst really happy this was our final temple I was blown away by it. We saved it till last and I'm really glad we did. The central column is covered in gold leaf redone every year with the upper portion completely gold plated with 13,153 gold plates. Towards the top of the spire there are 1100 diamonds totalling 278 carats and 1383 other precious stones. In addition the pinnacle is a diamond orb which is studded with 4351 diamonds weighing 1800 carats and this is topped with a single 76 carat diamond. WOW! Apparently at sunset the diamond at the top catches the sun and it shines red, orange and green around the site, unfortunately we couldn’t stay to see it but we heard that it is beautiful. As always the people were hugely friendly with monks and other visitors stopping to talk to us and tell us about things. There is so much to see there it is quite a place.  There are so many different buildings with huge Buddha statues and important religious relics.  We headed back to the hostel and tried to finish of our bottle of rum with a few Star colas as we couldn’t take it on the flight with us (we really enjoyed the rum and Star colas here, rum poured into the glass coke bottles and the rum under the table of course).

We were asleep by about 9pm as again we would be up early but this time it would be with heavy hearts as the day had come to leave Myanmar.
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Stevie T on

Are you guys on a %ge? When I asked you to look out for some real estate for me I didn't expect a temple with diamonds glued on the roof. (Yeah, of course the original ones are still there after 60 years of sovereign bankruptcy)

Where next for you two - can't wait read the next installments?

fishtails04 on

Thanks for such a well written and interesting blog on Myanmar. It's one of the few countries in Asia that I have yet to experience and I am hoping to visit next year, so am reading up in advance. Great to read a travel blog with some historical background and detalied observations, rather than just a 'and then we went here'-style diary. Many of your photos are exceptional, with beautiful light and atmosphere. And of course the dry northern humour enhances it all! Thanks again. Cheers, Lisa

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