Asia | South East Asia | Burma (Myanmar) | Bagan – the slow boat to bagan
We took the slow boat from Mandalay to Bagan. It takes a whole day, but it was nice to stare at the riverbanks. A lot of poverty on the banks and on the boat itself. People searched the wastebasket on the tourist deck, hoping to find something useful.
This morning we met Maung Maung, He helped, serving breakfast in the guest house and I recognized him from the photographs Ali had given me. He was so pleased to hear some news about Ali, and of course he was very pleased with the gift. He invited us for dinner at his home.
We spent the day cycling around, visiting paya’s. This place is incredibly full of them. It looks like a moon landscape scattered with paya’s and the remains of them. Some are really impressive. I liked the Ananda paya most of all. It is very big and there are four beautiful standing Buddha’s inside. One of them has the Abhaya mudra. This evening Maung Maung picked us up with his horse cart. We went to his village. On the veranda of his bamboo house we were spoilt with a fantastic dinner. From the other side of the table the whole family watched us eating. It made me feel uneasy. We tried to eat enough to be polite and to leave a lot on the table knowing that they would eat it when we were gone.
Today we visited again some paya’s, including Shwezigon Paya. It is described as the most beautiful paya of Bagan. And yes, it is spectacular with all its gold glittering in the sun, but it didn’t move me like the Ananda paya did. We spent some time sitting in the shadow, looking at this building, talking about religion being opium for/from the people.
We bought a warm sweater for Maung Maung’s wife. He came to our room this evening to exchange gifts.