02.20.2017 - 02.22.2017 90 °F
We spent Sunday in Mandalay seeing a few sites. We went to the U Bein bridge - the longest teak bridge in the world at about 1400 meters and walked around some. Also saw the gold pounders district where they take bits of gold and pound it down to paper thin little squares which takes hours and hours. They sell them to Buddists (and tourists like us) which they use as an offering at some of the shrines. Some shrines have been patted down with these gold sheets for so many years that they now only resemble big blobs of gold. Mandalay was really hot - mid to upper 90's I think. And really dry. I guess we should be glad for the dryness as adding humidity to this heat would be pretty tough.
The evening bus to Inle Lake left around 6pm and it was just us and four kids going home from university. The road was extremely busy just out of Mandalay and then we took what seemed to be a shortcut through the mountains. It was under heavy construction and the lane was narrow and windy - many switchbacks up and down the mounains. Our driver took it pretty fast but you could tell he'd driven the route many times as he was pretty skilled.
We got into Inle around midnight and the bus driver took us right to our hotel (after stopping a few times for directions) instead of just dumping us so we were happy for that. Nice little place we are staying in. Maybe 8 little huts or so. No TV or phone and extremely quiet.
Took a boat ride up/down the lake today - was really interesting. Lots of little villages built on stilts with no other access than by boat. Quite a few gardens (mostly tomatoes) floating in the middle of the lake supported by bamboo framework. A person could get lost with all the little passageways among the water vegetation. In some places it is so dense you can stand on it right out in the middle of the lake. Went to a really cool market in the village of Inthein at the south end of the lake - all sorts of fruits, vegetables, dried fish, etc. Seems like more tourists here than anywhere we have been so far. The pics below are in and around the lake.
The last two pics are from a pub we found yesterday afternoon. In case you can't see the placard - it is a "Eat the Wall" Trump Pizza. One half meats (USA I think) and the other half jalepeno peppers and such (Mexico). And in the middle - a wall. We felt obligated to order the damn thing and eat the wall. So we did.