Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Myanmar / Thailand Trip Recap (9)

Day 10 - Inle

After a disappointing breakfast at the hotel, we took the boat and started our sight-seeing in Inle.  Since Inle is basically a large lake, transportation is mainly by boat.  Inle is also home to the Intha people, and other minorities.  The Intha people are mostly fishermen and are known for practicing a distinctive rowing style which involves standing at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar.  From young kids to old men, this unique rowing style can be seen all over the lake.

The fruits are good
The Shan noodles are bland and tasteless despite its looks
The Shan tofu (right) is good but the pickled veggies is weird
Good morning, Inle!
As our boat passes the canals, we watched local taking a dip, women washing themselves, their clothes, and dishes, tourists and locals crisscrossing the lake, fishermen and farmers doing their thing, etc.  Everyone seems to be occupied but yet no one seems to be in a hurry. 

On our way, I spotted a sunflower field.  Contrary to what everyone told me (farmers only grow sunflowers during the cool season), a sunflower field in the middle of the summer!  I yelped with joy - almost jumped into the water - and asked if we could turn around and take a quick look!  Lucky I am!  If the flowers were grown on one of those floating gardens, we wouldn't be able to go ashore.  In addition, I also met the farmer (gardener?) who grow these beautiful flowers :)  I would have offered to purchase a flower but I believe they are prettier in the field than in my hands.

Finally we reached the market, it was different than what we originally expected but still very cool.  (We were promised a floating market back at the agency in Yangon...)  Our guide told us they only have the floating market during the cool season due to the water level and the best time to visit  Inle is September and October because of the Hpaung Daw U Festival. 
a very long gourd
tasty milk based snack - only 100 kyats
aww... you are so cute!
ladies' man
they are enjoying breakfast too!
breakfast #2 - milk tea and samosa - yum!
Burmese churros?
After leaving the market, we visited a silk and lotus weaving factory, a blacksmith, and a cigar shop.  The lotus weaving is actually very unique.  Unfortunately, the silk and lotus products are actually quite pricey so I didn't buy anything.
silk weaving
lotus weaving
this is the raw ingredient - never knew you can weave from lotus!
lotus weave - mainly used in making monk's garments
blacksmith making decorative swords & knives from old car engines - amazing!
the girls are so fast... takes her an average of 30 seconds each!
We visited the famed Hpaung Daw U Pagoda and had lunch nearby.  We ordered the same fish dish that was a disaster the night below and it turned out to be delicious, just as it was supposed to be, at a fraction of the price too!  After lunch, we went back to our hotel and had our customary mid-day break.  I remember talking to my guides about afternoon naps and work in general and we are both equally surprised at the work culture on the other side.

Delicious and fresh - like how food should be
the very crowded Hpaung Daw U
the boat that is used during the festival to carry the Buddha statues around the lake
like a mirror
hotel's pool
cute kid of a hotel staff

the future master angler
chubby cheeks are cute


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