02.23.2017 - 02.26.2017 90 °F
We spent our last day in the Inle Lake area visiting a cave outside of Pindaya which is about 2 hours drive each way. The cave houses over 8000 Buddhas, most of which have been put there fairly recently by various individuals and organizations. Crazy place - the cave itself is up on the side of a mountain. You can either take the stairs from the town below which was a fair distance or you can get your taxi to take you up to the main entrance (which for reasons I am not clear about is guarded by a massive spider statue). The last bit is a series of steep stairs or alternatively a lift was also in use.
The road to Pindaya cut through a good deal of agriculatural land and like other places, was under a lot of construction. The construction methods are humbling. They had big oil drums laying on their side and a hole cut in the top in which to heat the tar in - with an open wood fire right there along the road. The rock was all being cut but hand and tossed against straw screens to filter. The gravel was delivered to the tarred section of road exclusively by ladies who carried each load in a pan on their heads. Once they got to the area it was to be dumped, someone would take it from them, toss the gravel onto the tarred section and give them the pan back so they could return for another load. The line of women just kept going....hard to imagine doing that the entire day.
We took our first internal flight from Heho (about an hour from Inle) to Thandwe which is the main village near Ngapali Beach. We have been here at the beach for over two days now and have slipped into a serious state of laziness. Easy to do here. I haven't taken a single photo of the beach yet - maybe tomorrow. Pretty idyllic setting though. It's not a large beach - maybe a mile long or so and the resorts are modestly sized. Beautiful white sand and lots of palms. Reminds me of pictures you see of Thai beaches - would have never guessed to find similar in Myanmar. Lots of little thatched hut style restaurants serving fresh seafood up and down the beach. Meals are cheap - a really good coconut prawn curry fetches around $3usd. Kelsey's taken a strong liking to all sorts of fried noodles so long as they bring it with what has been dubbed the "awesome sauce" - chiles, garlic and soy I think. The chiles are HOT.
Today we took a little panga style boat out for a cruise around. Met up with a German lady at breakfast whose friend fell ill and she didn't want to boat alone so we took her in ours. Nice lady although she did get a little panicky upon noticing one of the boat boys bailing water from the boat. The poor kids didn't know what the fuss was all about.
Doing a lot of nothing really - maybe this is what vacation is supposed to be like. I can feel myself getting a little stir crazy already though. We have one more night here and then fly to Sittwe to make our way on to Mrauk U. It's a bit of a pain to get there as once you are in Sittwe, the most common way onward is a 4-5 hour boat ride. We get into town too late in the afternoon for this so have secured a driver (the river is not advisable after dark).
The pics below are from the cave in Pindaya. If I can work up the energy I hope to get some of the beach posted