Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Village Life Around Bagan, Myanmar

A local eccentric shopper

Children playing

Cows in front of a house

A teenager getting a haircut in a barber shop

Our guide Mu Mu on right with a friend
When we told our guide Mu Mu that we wanted to see how people lived and we did not really want to see more temples nor go on an ox cart ride (too Disneyland for us), she graciously designed a wonderful few days where we went on a boat trip up the river to see how people really lived in villages where her family had lived- grandparents and parents- before they moved, or in some cases were told to move by the government.

She took us to the marketplace, to dusty villages, to see children playing and people living their lives. It was so much better than the tourist track! People were very gracious to us and we walked around their small villages. Most of the men were at work. The women were working too. Making things to sell- rice patties, handicrafts, cooking for their families, watching the small children.

More in the next post... so much to see and share!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bagan, Myanmar- Along the Irrawaddy River

Doing laundry along the river

Taking off cargo from the boats along the river

Flying the flag

Using the river for transportation
We took a boat ride down the Irrawaddy River which is a significant part of everyday life for  the people in Bagan. We saw women pounding laundry on rocks, old boats churning the muddy waters, fishermen catching their livelihood. The Irrawaddy River is key to many people in the city.

Next post will describe our visit to some of the small villages along the river!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bagan, Myanmar- Most Gorgeous Hotel Ever!

Around the pool

Sunset at the infinity pool

Landscaping around our villa

Reception area
We stayed in what is acknowledged to be the best hotel in Myanmar- the Aureum Palace Report and Spa- in a Jasmine Villa which had a large bedroom/living room, giant bath and patio. This sprawling hotel had 114 separate grand villas (ours was far from the biggest) on an exquisitely landscaped property which overlooks a breath-taking scene of Bagan's pagoda-studded landscape across a lotus-dappled lake.

It was fun living in the lap of luxury for a few nights!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bagan, Myanmar- Multitude of Pagodas

Bagan- Pagodas and Stupas

Pagodas and Stupas across the Lake of Bagan

Bagan's Many Pagodas and Stupas

Shadow of Aureum Palace Resort's Viewing Tower
Bagan is the most remarkable city because here you find a multitude of temples, thickly studded with pagodas of all shapes and sizes and the ground is covered so thickly with crumbling remnants of vanishing shrines.

Bagan is the seat of the 1st Myanmar Empire founded by King Anawrahta in the mid 11th century. Although legends say that there were supposed to be more than 400,000 pagodas here then, there are now about 2,000 situated in an area about 16 miles square and under the care of the Archeological Department. Many are in ruins but inside these structures beautiful wall paintings are still very fresh as if painted only yesterday. Families erected these to honor their dead.

Bagan, a city that has changed little in the past century, is a graveyard of medieval Burmese culture. There is nowhere the sight so striking as the view across the plain of Bagan, one red-brick pagoda after another, with an occasional white spire reaching heavenward. Our hotel built a viewing tower for tourists to see the large vista across the plain. Now that tourism is opening up in Myanmar things will be changing all over the country, even here in Bagan.

More about this remarkable city and hotel in my next post!