At Inle Lake

Trip Start Dec 07, 2012
Trip End Mar 27, 2012

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Flag of Myanmar  , Shan,
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

We arrived around 5 p.m, checked into our hotel called Inle Lake Inn and after a great hot shower we went for a walk through the small village before having dinner and a early night.

This morning we arranged a boat trip on Lake Inle. Two boys of 15 came to pick us up at 9 o'clock and we walked to the river where our kind of long tail boat was waiting for us. It seemed the boys were going to be our guide and captain for the day and it turned out that they would do a great job.
The lake is gorgeous and the houses on poles with habitants are so beautiful to look at. The fishermen with their typical way of rowing their boats and steering with their feet. The Inle lake is the biggest lake in Myanmar, it's about 25 km long and 12 km wide with marshes around it. In part of the lake you'll find floating gardens of kilometers with houses on them of the Intha tribe.
Around the lake and especially near pagodas and monasteries you'll find markets of the tribal people of the 7 different ethnic groups here in Myanmar, the Shan, Pa-O, Taung Yo, Danu, Intha, Kayah and Danaw.
It's a real mix and physically they are quite different. One thing is for sure, they are all very ambitious and very keen to get rich asap. Very very commercial, much more than the Thai and are organized when they sell, it's obvious that they made prices between each other and it's not easy to go below this. Everywhere you look in the interesting places they are building hotels and restaurants. No idea where this is going and if it's going to be better or worse for travelers.
I forgot to mention that especially the men have the same habit as in India to chew tobacco with leaves which become totally red. After a while they start spitting this red stuff on the floor or in whatever, pretty disgusting if you'd ask me but who am I. Their teeth are completely red as well and seem to be bitten away often. We had a nice lunch for a change and took some lake fish which was real well prepared on a floating restaurant with beautiful view. We also passed at some handcraft factories of silver and weaving which were very interesting. (We've seen threads coming out of special kind of lotus plants which are extremely strong with which they would weave and make all kind of cloth in combination with for instance silk or cotton.
After having spent a fantastic day we came back around 5 and it was already getting cold. Here near the mountains it's really like Kathmandu and Tibet, a strong sun but one's it is gone you have to quickly cover yourself.
We went for a real nice Myanmar kind if curry at Ling htett Myanmar and went back to our hotel.

Today we got up at 8:15, had breakfast, the usual boring scrambled egs and toasted bread. We asked the reception to arrange our night bus for tomorrow night, this time we would try a special bus, more luxurious, bigger seats to sleep and less passengers (25 instead of 40), we'll see, anyway it's almost twice the price but as we don't want the same experience as the night bus from Bangkok to Krabi we give it a try !
Anyway, we rented two bicycles and went for a ride around the lake direction hot springs. The road if you can call it that was awful and after a while my bicycle saddle started to go down and was impossible to fix to stay up. Had to go for a little McGyver and stuck a piece of wood between the saddle and the wheel, that worked ! One's we arrived at the hot springs after 2 hours of torture and which we found out were nothing special we looked for something to eat and thought of trying to find a sweet restaurant at the lakeside. We got offered a passage to the other side of the lake by long tail boat with the explanation that the road would be better back to Nyaung-Shwe were we stay. Furthermore small restaurants would be on the way so we took up the offer for 6000 Kyats and that was a real good decision ! We really enjoyed the boat trip again made some great pictures and it is so much cooler on the water ! One's arrived we found a small restaurant and had a nice lunch. After that we still had about an hour of real hot bicycling to do but at least the road was ok and it was good for our condition :-)
One's we got back we tried to find a place with better wifi but impossible, so we gave up and I'll try to update the blog from Rangoon or if not from Thailand when we're back !
We looked for a nice terras and found one on top of an hotel near the bridge with all the boats arriving and we had a drink and dinner before going to the hotel. As there's nothing happening in the evening we'll probably end up watching a episode of Sons of Anarchy on the netbook.

Today we wanted to take it easy as we were facing another night bus and trip of 12 hours to Yangon. Andrea wanted to try a typical Birmese massage and she told me afterwards it was really different and good and I stayed at the hotel garden to read my kindle. We had something to eat and had some drinks and bought lots of cookies for on the way as we didn't expect too much of the dinner included in our ticket.
Our bus arrived as foreseen at the pick up place and indeed we had a lot more room. The roads were terrible though and this didn't help. To make a long story short including Andrea asking to turn the bloody airco of and me trying to get a film on the beautiful flat screen instead of local music (ahhhhhhhh more than 3 hours of it :-)) Which ended to result in a local film (almost worse, something like a soap) :-)
Anyway we got there with probably 3 hours of sleep ...

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