Bagan (part 2)

Day 10: It's all about the sunset

After another terrific sleep, we decided to go for a lazy morning. When we walked into the breakfast area we were totally surprised seeing two musicians making music during breakfast time. Made me so happy. What a way to start a day in Bagan! 

See for yourself:

We run into Rodger & Carol (the Canadian couple we met in Mandalay). They sat down with us and we had a great time exchanging stories. These two friends are retired teachers and hardcore travellers. They both teached kids English for a few years in Thailand. After we said goodbye, I run into Dan -the photographer- who did the balloons over Bagan the morning before.

Imagine the most beautiful temple complex in the world. Picture sunrise and a wine red balloon. Take out your wallet and grab a pristine note of 100 US dollars out of it, and another one and yet another one. Now you are in business! According to Dan it was over the top. He was so thrilled about the whole experience (which includes champagne afterwards). 

I looked at Klaas and we decided to do this once we are retired and/or rich. But I am sure it is indeed fantastic, although 300$ makes me kind of nervous. We also met Simon from the UK. He's working in the tourism business. Simon who was a bit under the weather as he says so himself, because of stomach problems. The four of us chatted about the changes Myanmar is going through, how Aung San Suu Kyi is doing and where we've been so far in Myanmar. We all agreed upon the fact that hotel prices are going way over the top and that this might become a problem in the near future. I think Klaas and me still are doing a great job finding the hidden affordable gems (Simon paid 100$ in Yangon for a totally shitty backpack kind of hotel...a hundred!)

It would be very well possible that this whole speed up the prices, is going to work against a good tourism climate in Myanmar. Actually we only see older (mostly retired and poorly educated) group tourists. For backpackers or budget travellers this country is just way too expensive.

Anyway, we exchanged e-mail addresses because we are all going to Inle lake in a few days, so it would be nice that we all catch up there again.

Around 2pm we decided that it was really time to get back to the temples, not before we had a pit stop at the 'Weather Spoon' for a very tasteful lunch. Highly recommended! We slowly drove towards the Pyathada Paya were we decided to watch the sunset.

We were a bit early and went into a small 'village' nearby the road towards sunrise. The day before we had a chat with some of the girls living there. I gave them some of my hair clips.

They recognised me and showed us around their village were and old lady was spinning thread, colouring it and weaving it into piles of fabric. Klaas took some fantastic pics of people cutting the grass for their animals. We had a beer afterwards and bought one extra for the sunset.

The road to the sunset pagoda is not paved, so we peddled like sweaty pro's, at least we thought we did, and arrived one hour before the big happening! From far away we saw Dan the photographer and his huge camera on tripod standing on top of the temple as a true conqueror. He seemed pleased to see us again. We sat down at the ledge of the terrace and saw fortunately only two tour buses heading towards 'our' temple. 

We chatted with a few people and met an old Frenchman who visited Myanmar after being on the blacklist for 13 years! He wrote an article about Myanmar (not even judgemental) that they (government) didn't like, so when he applied for a visa back in 2000, he got a big stamp in it saying 'CANCELLED'. After negotiating with the ambassador of Myanmar in France, the Myanmar government would give him one if he apologised for his writing. Well how can you say sorry for telling the truth? So he did not and ended up at the blacklist for thirteen years! Now Myanmar is changing so much, a lot of people are taken off this list, and this man too. 

Well the following few minutes I will not speak, I will just let you enjoy the amazing views!

Beautiful, isn't it? In reality it's even 10 times better, but that sounds so blasé. Sorry!

Professional photographer Lisa Mardell (next to Dan on the picture) shot a true winner pic. Amazing, right? Click here.

It was part of the game to head back to the hotel (on the bikes of course ...) 'only' one hour to our hotel (!). It was almost dark and yet many sandy roads to conquer,..and practically no light with us or on our bikes. Dan gave us his head light which Klaas put on backwards on his head. With only one working light in front of my bike, we were at least kind of visible in the darkness. I became more and more stressed when darkness fell in far more rapid then I expected. So basically what happens in these kind of situations: I start yelling and shouting at Klaas, because it's all his fault that we will probably end up death in the middle of nowhere. 

Klaas gets annoyed by me and makes that VERY clear and then we usually peddle (read: struggle) off on our own, angry (it happens all the time in Amsterdam, we are by the way so used to this ridiculous kind of behaviour).
It wasn't a very responsible thing we did, but we did it, we made it, and afterwards it will be good 'wine and dine' material. Back in the hotel we made up (candles and wine always brings people back together). 

We took a quick shower and a fast bite in our hotel (which was by the way of poor quality and not recommendable) because we wanted to check out the pictures we took that afternoon. It was a thrill to see that most pictures basically were a good representation of what we saw with our own eyes. We are so happy that we took our 'big' Nikon camera with us. Klaas was so proud of his achievements and me too. Bagan is just pure magic and we loved every minute in this cute, friendly and serene town.
Time to go to bed. The alarm for the next morning points out 6am. I hope I don't break a glass before the crickets start to chant. That would really spoil my day :-) (again)

1 comment:

Zack Mocky said...

Brilliant pictures.