A gem of a place
Trip Start Sep 03, 2006
50Trip End Jul 21, 2007
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The archeological site of Bagan is close to the city of Nyang U where the slow boat stops. It's a nice and relaxed little town with plenty of accomodation and tourist restaurants.
Desapointing visit to Mount Popa
During our stay we made an excursion to mount Popa, 50 Km away from Bagan.
This huge rock (actually the core of an extinct volcano which has collapsed), topped with a temple was quite disapointing. The temple had nothing special, and the view of the plain was rather dull. Our day was saved by a stop to a palm sugar and peanut farm on the way. We saw how they pressed the groundnuts to get the oil and what they do out of palm sugar trees.
One can drink the sweet sap freshly collected, but as the day pass by, it becomes toddy, i.e., a fermented alcoholic beverage. Locals make sugar and sweets by boiling the fresh sap. They also distill the toddy to make a rather powerfull rum like alcohol. As we bought some sweets and rum, the owners of the place were nice enough to gave us a bag of candy each, offered the tea and even gave Saoyuth some palm juice, all for free...
We fall in love with a huge water pot
Buying gems to kill time
Because the government has closed all the overland borders, it was impossible for us to get to Laos by bus and unfortunately there was no direct flights either. Instead we had to go back to Yangon to catch a flight to Chiang Mai in Thailand, close to the Laos border. So we did, and spent a few extra days in Yangon. And guess what? Well, we went shopping again! A different kind of shopping though, we went after gems. As you may know, the famous Mogok mines are in Myanmar, so there were plenty of gems on sale. It has never been our intention to buy any stones, but Saoyuth had seen a nice ring with a sapphire which she liked and thought was cheaper than in Europe. We didn't buy it as we didn't know anything about sapphires. We did some research on the internet, and started to shop around to get some practical knowledge. It was actually quite fun and we enjoyed it very much. We went back to the shop where Saoyuth had seen the ring, and with our newly acquired knowledge, we were able to see it was not a high quality sapphire. We managed to bring the price down straight away by a hundred dollars, but it was still not good enough value for money! In fact jewellers in Myanmar have the gems but their jewelry lack design and quality. So we ended up buying single stones... You'll have to come home once again to see Saoyuth masssssivvvee rings ;-)) It's likely that the mounting of the stones will cost more than the stones themselves!
It was time to leave the country, otherwise God knows what else we would have bought!!! Next stop: Laos.