Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mandalay, Myanmar

We arrived in Mandalay, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) on April 26. We were really looking forward to seeing Myanmar because there aren't hoards of tourists there. Yes, I know we are tourists but we have found that when there are a lot of tourists in one place, the locals get a little pushier. Mandalay was a nice town - one of my favorites actually because the locals were friendly and especially because they all thought Paul was a celebrity...which made me even cooler for scoring a big American white guy celebrity. I got a lot of thumbs ups and big smiles from the local girls and women.

Country #8

When we arrived, we found a taxi to take us to our place for the night.

Paul and Capt'n enjoying the scenery

After resting for a couple hours, we got a driver to take us up to Mandalay Hill (we didn't realize we were going to a temple) and then to Amarapura to walk across the U Bein Bridge and watch the beautiful sunset on Taungthaman Lake.

Driving by some temples 

We arrived at Sutaungpyai Pagoda where we encountered the first of the giggling crowds who loved to stare at Paul (Paul is convinced they were all saying, "look at the hairy monkey man!"). After walking around the temple a few times and experiencing the first of many dirty feet episodes, we headed to U Bein Bridge.

Locals praying

Walking around the temple


The view from the hill/temple

Another view of Mandalay

A different perspective of buddha

U Bein Bridge is the longest teak bridge in the world and the location of where a few locals asked Paul to take a picture with them. They included me too so my feelings weren't hurt (at least that was my theory). I'm sad that I didn't ask them to take a picture on my camera too. But I knew Paul just wanted to just get to the other side because this wooden footbridge, around 200 years old and 1.2 km long, was scary to walk on. The bridge was wobbly and it didn't help that people would whizz by on their bikes. I'm not sure how well it is maintained but we made it across safely so that's all that matters!

U Bein Bridge

Locals were fishing

Lake Taungthaman

Paul was looking under the bridge because a cow was mooing

I loved taking these reflection shots

More reflection shots of locals

Self portrait - Paul is really getting good at these!

Another boat

I liked the colors in this shot and you can see a stupa in the background

We decided to take a boat back across since it was questionable walking across the first time. Plus, the sun was setting and it only cost 5 USD!

And I got photos like this so it was well worth it!

More of the calm lake

The sun is starting to set

Paul is contemplating life

Paul took this pic

More sunset shots

I like this one with our boat and reflections

There were a lot of other folks with the same idea

This is one of my favorites

This one too! It was just beautiful on this lake.

Another one with the boat but with the bridge and sun setting in the back

I liked this one that Paul took too

This one makes me laugh

We headed back to the Peacock Lodge to get cleaned for dinner before heading to see the Moustache Brothers - a live performance by two brothers and a cousin (as well as many other family members) that include some cheesy jokes, videos that feature the famous group (the movie "About a Boy" mentions Par Par Lay), cultural dancing, and subtle criticism of their government. Par Par Lay, Lu Zaw and Lu Maw are the Moustache Brothers (Par Par Lay and Lu Maw are brothers). Par Par Lay and Lu Zaw served about 6 years in a labor camp after criticizing the government in a performance at the home of Aung San Suu Kyi in 1996. They are only allowed to perform for foreigners in the garage of their house. Here are a few snapshots from the performance.

This is the stage where they perform

This is Par Par Lay

Lu Maw and his wife - who was on the cover of Lonely Planet circa 2003 (ish)

This is Lu Zaw and Lu Maw

The cultural dancing is a family affair

We were beat by the time we got back to the Peacock Lodge - close to 11pm. And lucky us, we had a 6am pick up for a flight to Heho where we visited Inle (aka Innlay, Inlay) Lake.


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