Look at us go! 1st of January, 2015 and we are putting a post up like we promised! Only two months to catch up on! Thankfully, we are hungover from a night of red wine in San Cristobal Da Las Cacas, Mexico nursing a sore head and a Bloody mary… But back to the blog.
Myanmar had yet to disappoint, and the next four days in Inle Lake, just added to our appreciation for this amazing country. Within minutes of arriving at Mays Guesthouse, we wandered into town and booked ourselves on a boat on the lake to spend the next few hours amongst the freakishly well-balanced fisherman.
Whilst the “tour” was definately on the touristy side, with the traditional stop offs at the working factories where the end result was to try and sell us their wares, it was still interesting. But, the favourite was when we stopped at the Cheroot Cigar factory when about 5 minutes into their sales pitch, they realised we didn’t smoke and looked across to our boat driver to ask why on earth he would bring us there.
Being out on the water watching the fisherman had worked up our appetite, and by the time we had climbed the long path to Inthein Poagodas, we were famished. Out of nowhere, a lady appeared with the jars and starting whipping up some form of salad. We watched over her shoulder as she chopped up a chickpea tofu, mixed in some, chickpea paste, chilli oil, garlic, onion, coriander and placed it on the biggest rice cracker we had ever seen. We ordered one and began to wander back down to the boat devouring it. It was up there with the tastiest food we had tried on our adventure so far. Our faces must of given away our delight as all the locals selling souvenirs along the covered path would smile at us, give us a thumbs up, and then yell down the line to their friends to say “Look at the foreigners eating our food”
We capped the day off with happy hour on a deck, watching the locals go about their lives.
Day two, and we did the obvious thing one does in Myanmar, hired some pushbikes and cycled the long way around the lake to a vineyard. As soon as we were two minutes outside the town of Nyuangshwe we were amongst the rice paddies and buffaloes. It was such a beautiful place. We highly recommend hiring bikes if your in Inle, and cycle around the lake.
We will even help you out with some directions.
1. Cycle East out of Nyuangshwe.
2. At the intersection, turn left.
3. Stop at the hot springs for a dip in the boiling pools. (We didn’t, as the one other person in the pool reminded us of this guy:)
4. Ride until you get to a hotel. Ask for a boat to take you across the lake
5. Get in Boat and go across the lake with your bikes.
6. Get out of the boat and ride to the main road. Stop at the corner shop and ask for some Bayakyaw.
7. Turn left at the main road. Cycle for 30-40 minutes and walk your bike up the hill to the Vineyard.
8. Drink Wine
9. Peddle wobbly home.
The wine is… okay… namely the Chenin Blanc, but the view is incredible and so is the food. We capped the day off with happy hour on the main road, watching the locals go about their daily lives.
That night it rained – hard. The next morning we started our trek into the mountains. The now wet, and slippery, mountains. Not even my amazing LA Sportiva shoes – with 20% extra grip – could withstand the mud. But it was fun.
We climbed higher and higher, past the monks with machetes, above villages and amongst the trees. As we climbed a small path we stopped to let a young guy walk past. About 10 metres in front of us, he jumped, turned around, took of his thong (flip flop) and threw it at the ground. He then picked up the snake he had killed with his thong (flip flop), tossed into the jungle and proceeded on his merry way. I wanted to stop him and explain to him, that my entire life I had only ever witnessed my father, John “Lightning-Never-Strikes-Twice” Larkin attempt to kill spiders with his thong (flip flop) but would take several attempts – but I felt it may have been lost in translation.
We made it to our destination for the evening, an old wooden monastery on top of a hill. We seemed to have arrived, just after the novice monks had finished their daily lessons and were in the middle of a heavily contested football match. We watched on until, the head monk ushered us towards the kids to play. It was surreal and amazing to spend the afternoon, playing football with young novice monks, on top of a mountain in Myanmar. We will definitely never forget it. Also, due to the fact that we slept by ourselves in the main area of the monastery as the biggest thunder storm roared above us, with lightning lighting up the gold buddhas face, as the leaks in the roof, slowly dribbled on our face. Which, made it even more amazing.
We wandered back down the, even more slippery, mountainside, stopping only for an incredible Fermeted Tea Leaf Salad for lunch and to stop and talk to some locals who wanted to shake my hand as the lady proceeded to tell me how big and strong I was – to which I humbly accepted.
We capped of the day and our time at Inle Lake at happy hour by the roadside watching the locals go about their daily lives, swearing to ourselves, that we will be back! We love this country.