In February 2017, we visited a makeshift village that had sprung up in the middle of the historic temples in Bagan, Myanmar. While there were occasional motorbikes, most of the villagers traveled as pedestrians to the more developed areas of Bagan where they work and purchase things needed to sustain their simple existence.
We were told that the inhabitants of this village had lived in a different village near the river, but it was completely destroyed by flooding several years ago. (Possibly this was the heavy annual monsoon plus Cyclone Komen impacting the Irrawaddy River Delta in July 2015.) Fleeing by boat, they rebuilt here. While the villagers seem to be as settled as in any other village we saw, this is an unsanctioned settlement in an historic area. However, they are friendly and accepting, as are all Myanmar people we met.
This photo was taken on February 8, 2017. Specs are:
Day 2 in the itinerary for Pati and BeeBee is described as a full day for relaxing. That means that the tour company has not scheduled anything for the day, because Pati and BeeBee need to recover somewhat from jet lag before concentrating on the important sights.
But they were awake by 7 am anyway. After breakfast at their hotel, they set off walking toward the Old Town and its Walking Street. They learned that traffic rarely stops, even for red lights that announce clearly-marked crosswalks with walk/don’t walk signs, However, they made the walk safely.
The most frequently-seen attractions along their route were temples (at least one per block, it seemed, and all beautiful) and spirit houses. But I exaggerate about the temples. The actual most-frequently seen establishment were massage parlors.
After this jaunt, they returned to their hotel to cool off and have a traditional Thai massage plus foot massage (BeeBee) and Thai herbal hot compress (Pati). After all the various “discounts,” the total cost (not including tip) was $1600 baht (less than $45 USD) for both of them to enjoy two hours of relaxing Thai massage. About that “relaxing” qualifier: BeeBee is reminded of the old joke “Why do you hit your head against the wall?” “Because it feels so good when I stop.”
Just after 5 pm (when restaurants open again), Pati and BeeBee set off for dinner. They ate at a vegetarian restaurant that gets rave reviews on Trip Advisor. The appetizers were good, but the entrees were disappointing. BeeBee overheard another group ordering, and they seemed to order only appetizers. Lesson learned!
After this, they headed to the night market. The indoor Night Market didn’t seem to have as many shops as would be expected. The shops outside were plentiful and crowded, taking most of the sidewalk space and pushing into the street. Many shops were selling exactly the same items. In addition to the street food vendors, there were several food court areas. One area provided seating on bales of hay, where patrons could sit and listen to a group playing (American) country music. At the back of this area was an country-fair type setup with a shooting gallery and three rides for children: a carousel with figures like Mickey Mouse, a small ferris wheel with each car decorated with a dwarf (from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), and a blow-up slide. As Pati and BeeBee watched, power was lost to the ferris wheel and slide. Luckily, no one was on the ferris wheel and the parent of one of the children on the slide told all the children to get down before it slumped sadly to the ground.
Pati and BeeBee then walked back to their hotel (a 15 minute walk) to get ready for the next day’s adventures.