All villages have a small tea shop where people gather to see television and play a kind of lottery using the Thai stock numbers as wining numbers. The Burmese ‘two-digit’ illegal lottery scheme is based on the last two digits of the closing price of the Thai stock exchange index and is released four times a day on Thai TV channels, which is also received in Myanmar.
Myanmar traditional Lacquerware is one of the ten different flowery arts and crafts of the Golden Land, it is the constant source of fame and Bagan is the Lacquerware heart-land of Myanmar.
The art of traditional Lacquerware dates from 11-th Century A. D, the golden period of Bagan. The lacquerware technique starts with a wickerwork of woven, finely cut strips of bamboo, horse hair, wood, essential material, mixture of Lacquer resin with clay, wood sawdust and ash are carefully built-up and finally polished with the ash of fossil wood. The design are then elaborately etched or painted by hand. Myanmar traditional Lacquerware drawing styles derived from severl Jataka stories of Buddha.
Minnanthu is situated in the south of Nyaung U. The monuments in this region are of a later period than thoses in the Central Bagan. The followings are listed to be in Minnanthu region.
Sulamani Pagoda and Four Faces Pagoda
I read that the government re-located many villages out of the pagoda area. But on the outskirts of the Bagan area there are still some villages left. On my search for the Pyathada Paya I got lost with my bike and passed two villages that must have been Minnanthur and West Pwasaw. From the bamboo houses you can tell life isnt easy here.
Just like in India, the palmtree serves for several products in Burma, too.
Two times a day the farmers climb up the palmtrees to collect the palmjuice - this sugarsweet juice ferments to toddy, a sweet drink with a beerlike alcohol strength. (the ants in my drink were a free addition of the house ;-)
Another version is a very strong liquor destilled from it - is it too strong, you are too weak!
But the sweetest thing they make out of it is candy - palm sugar.
All this is offeres in toddy bars, mostly along the roadside. Stop
Temples and pagodas in bagan are not just for the pleasure of the tourists only. They are still fuctional religious sites. So remember to pay the already mentioned respect when you visit them (though souvenir vendors don't seem to share the same spirituality)
From our hotel which had a excellent view over the river, we had the chance to see scenes from the hard daily life along Ayeyarwaddy river.
Similar images can be seen when you visit Lokananda temple in New Bagan
The earthquake in 70s caused a lot of damage to many temples. But luckily a lot of renovation has been done. And still some minor interest temples are undergoing such. The problem is that new materials are being used thus loosing the old charm. Restored temples can be easily identified brom the bright colour of their bricks.
Walking down Bagan you will see some herd of the grazin`goats with herdsman, ( perhaps they are offsprings of those goats and herdsmen belonging to King Anawratha ), and without fail how another pagoda of ...th century is under construction .
Welcome , " archaeological tourists " !
It`s your paradise...
We visited a Burmese restaurant with our VT friends in Bagan.
Bagan is famous for puppet shows.
Thanks to Shweyoo, we could enjoy the puppet show.
The puppets are really beautiful... their faces, their costume...
I tried to work a puppet.
Oh, but it was more difficult than I imagined...
Some of the bigger temples and payas in Bagan have a bell for pilgrims to ring. You don't have to be a devotee - it is customary for visitors to strike the bell three times with the staff. In fact we were encouraged to do it by monks and they seemed pleased when we agreed.
At most temples in Bagan, you can buy small squares of gold foil and place them on the image of the Buddha. This is how the statues maintain a gold coat and why some of them are a little patchy. I thought I'd give it a try. You can buy a little pouch of two or three gold foil squares for about 500 kyat (a little under USD $0.50)
Note that I am not wearing any shoes!
Bagan (and most parts of Myanmar) are relatively poor so you will have children selling things like postscards, water, etc. You don't have to buy them if you don't want to but you can bring gifts like pencils and pens and bite sized chocolate which you can distribute to make them happy and not cost you too much. You definitely want to avoid giving them money, especially US dollars which is in high demand.
Well, it's not especially typical for Bagan because you see it everywhere in Burma but these pictures are my best ones.
People (women, men and children) smear white powder on their faces.
They use it daily
- as some kind of make up
- against the sun
- to cure their skin
Everywhere in Burma you see old ladies smoking enormous sell-rolled cigarettes.
I roll my tobacco myself and have tried one of these cigars and have walked around coughing for the rest of the day.
These woman do it as a pass-time...