Back in Bagan

Trip Start Mar 04, 2006
Trip End Apr 13, 2006

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Flag of Myanmar  ,
Friday, March 31, 2006

Bagan, round two. After a 9 hour boat ride down the Ayerawaddy River, we disembarked, negotiated a fee for a taxi into Nyaung U, and went to check out guest houses. We ended up in a $8 a night double at the Eden. Hardwood floors, A/C and a better than average bathroom. Couldn't have asked for better for the money.

Karen turns out to be not just a determined sleeper, rather just plain determined. If there was a temple in the distance that looked interesting to her, you can bet we saw it. Over the next three days we cycled the entirety of Bagan, finding every temple that could be climbed, seeing all the biggies, and generally exhausting ourselves. As the hot season is continuing to build, we were out early every day, consumed about 6 liters of water a day, and innumerable Star Colas.

We did take a break from the temples one day, and headed off in a share taxi for Mt. Popa. Quite the odd place. It's considered one of the holiest places in Myanmar, but like all the other holy places, it seems more an excuse to extract tourist dollars than worship. It's an odd symbiosis of religiosity and capitalism. At any rate the monkeys were fun, the stair sweepers seeking donations were not, and the yetis were no where to be found. Hermit monks, not abominable snowmen.

The ride to Mt. Popa was the best example yet for me of the condition of the roads here. In a word, they're crap. I've been down dirt roads in the states that were better than the paved roads here. The bus ride to Mandalay wasn't a good example as in a bus the long wheelbase and air suspension reduces the ride to something like a boat on moderately rough seas. In a Toyota mini-van, it's another world. Karen described it as bone jarring, I went with tooth loosening. It's no wonder the moped is the vehicle of choice here.

The last bit of news worth reporting is that I finally got sick. And since I hate doing anything halfway, once I picked up a little intestinal invader, I went ahead and caught a sweet little head cold to accompany it. Dealing with both was a bit much, so I dove into my supply of Cipro after just one day of discomfort. Good advice, don't travel without it, it's helped both of us out. Also good to know you can pick it up over the counter here for about a buck for a 2 day supply. You generally want to take it for 5 days.

Our visas are running out, so we've bought tickets for the bus to Yangon. 15 hours, ought to be loads of fun...
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