How can each day be so fantastic?! Our last day in Bagan was just as wonderful as the first. We were going to ride bikes today but the traffic in the morning was still pretty busy with all the villagers leaving to go back to their home. We found a horse cart and driver out front so decided to hire him for the day. What a great choice as he was just perfect. We headed north this time and went to a little market and wandered around for about an hour. We picked up some books and pens and pencils to drop off at a local school, more on that later.
When we were in the local part it was great, no one was bothering us because they figured we wouldn’t buy anything anyhow. We did get some little shelled peanuts to bring home and some tamarind candies, both of which are served free when ever you go to a restaurant and we just love them. Then we hit the tourist stuff. I was getting overwhelmed with all these women yelling and holding things up in front of us. I held up my hands and just said a firm ‘NO’ and they backed off a bit. We bought a couple of souvenirs and then this woman came and wrapped a longhi (long skirt) around Lana and then put a blouse on her. They just came up and dressed her. I said it looked nice, which it did, so they started to dress me too. Before I knew it was in a silk blouse and long skirt in that blue color that I love. I almost felt violated it happened so fast. But we ended up buying them…….how does this happen? They are so dam good!! Jane was smart and just walked away.
We made our way back to our horse cart and off to the post office to buy stamps. You can only buy stamps and mail letters at the post office and they are only open Monday to Friday 9-5 so it has been a challenge to get them. I want to send some off to my 93 year old father in law. We went down some peaceful back roads and saw more of village life here.
It is so much quieter here today than yesterday. Unfortunately at least five young men died here last night in traffic accidents on the main road. All motorcycles. There were lots of fights as well so glad that we stayed in.
We made our way back to our hotel slowly and had a couple of hours to relax read and swim. Our driver picked us up again at 2PM and we made our way to a little village primary school that our driver Min Thu yesterday suggested we might want to visit. Our driver came in with us which was great and told the teacher what we wanted to do and then we were sent to the head of the school (principal) and talked to her. Primary schools, up to grade 8, are free of charge. We were only allowed to go to a village school however. High school and university cost money.
She brought us to a grade 6 class and between her and our driver explained to the teacher what we wanted to do. They were all for it so I brought out a game that I had bought at home and one that I had used when I taught English in Laos last year. It is a Bingo game with pictures of things like Dog, Cat, Shirt, Tree etc.
There were 39 kids in the class all crammed together. They were looking at us wide eyed with curiosity as to what these strange women were going to do in their classroom.
We handed out one bingo card and chips for each two children. I briefly explained the game but they caught on right away. I called out the English words and Lana and Jane went around to help the children with the words that were less familiar to them. It started out very calm and controlled but as they got closer to filling their cards it got very exciting. The recess bell went but no one moved. Children from other classes came and were hanging in through the windows watching and shouting out to the children when they saw that they had one of the pictures on their card of what I was calling out. Each group would fill their card and put their hand up and be so excited, but like in Laos it didn’t matter much if they were first or not, they were just excited to finish. We had a blast. Our driver was having so much fun too, walking around and helping the kids with the game. We left the game with the principal and then went across the school yard to the grade one class. We handed out some exercise books and pencils but didn’t have enough. We gave the rest pens but they are not able to use pens until a higher grade unfortunately. We couldn’t leave without giving each child something however. We had such a great time and our driver was grinning from ear to ear.
Back to the money changer. We decided to get more money here as we would need some in the next few days anyhow and we heard that the exchange rate in Inle Lake is not as good. Funny how the exchange rate differs by what city you are in.
Then it was time for a coffee so we went to a really nice hotel to sit by the pool and have an amazing cup of coffee. I haven’t been drinking coffee but indulged anyhow and it was wonderful. We decided that we like our hotel better and ours is $250 a night less too.
I used the free internet and computer there to try and work on my blog, I had it on a memory stick. I work on it at night in my room on my little net book. The internet here was a little better than our hotel. I got most of it on and then the internet went out. It is so frustrating to go on the internet here. You have to refresh every two minutes. You need a lot of patience that is for sure. Pictures here were very hard to download. Inle Lake may be better, but I am not holding my breath. I really didn’t expect to have internet at all in Myanmar so it is all a bonus anyhow.
By now it was 4:30PM and getting close to sunset so we went to a temple that we were at yesterday and climbed to the top to see the sunset from there. Lana and I are both afraid of heights and get vertigo, but doing really well here on these narrow steep stairs up to the top of the temples without hand rails or anything.
This temple had a lot less people on it, the view was not as good but we were very happy to be there. We met two couples from England, a single guy from Cologne, and two women from France so had a chance to talk and joke with each of them.
As we headed back to the area around the temple where the festival was last night we passed the place that was bumper to bumper with ox carts and tents. It was now empty of people and all evidence of them being there was gone too. They cleaned everything up, burnt what refuse they had and left it as they found it.
Our last dinner in Bagan was back at the ‘Moon’ restaurant and we ordered exactly what we had yesterday and it did not disappoint. The full moon was overhead, the night was quiet and gorgeous. What more could you ask for? Packing up for our next stop we are hopeful that we can close our suitcases after all our purchases. I had said I wouldn’t buy anything!! Not working out too well.
pictures will follow when we have a better internet.