Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Day 20: Inle Lake, Myanmar. Indein village market, boat tour.

We hired a boat driver to take us around Inle Lake today. We woke up early, ate a delicious breakfast at our hotel, and we were off by 6:30 am. There is a rotating market in the region and today it was at a village called Indein which is about 45 minutes away by boat.  When we arrived to the bustling market there wasn't a tourist in site. We walked around and picked up a few trinkets. I grabbed a handmade bamboo hat for less than $3 USD in hopes of blending in better. It's hard to blend in when you're walking next to JM but no one seemed to be bothered by our presence. If they noticed us we just smiled and they smiled back. It was so cool to see real village life. Some of the other stops we made during the day seemed staged for the tourists, but not this. Our guide took us to the temple up the hill from the market with hundreds of small padogas that probably also serve as dog houses to the dozens of stray dogs running around. From there we got back on the boat and made multiple stops to various handicraft workshops. They were too staged and touristy for me. It rained the entire rest of the day so getting up early turned into a great decision. We went by the floating gardens where they grow tomatoes and other vegetables.  There were also 2 stops at Buddhist monasteries, one known as "The Jumping Cat" monastery where monks formally trained cats to do tricks such as jumping through hoops. Accusations of animal rights issues resulted in them ending the practice so the remaining cats just lounge around now. We ended the day with another fabulous meal at the hotel restaurant. 

This stray puppy has the puppy eyes routine down. 

The "longneck" women of the Karen tribe on display. I took a picture because I felt pressured to and didn't want to insult anyone, but I think it's too zoo like. I guess it's good if it brings them a living wage. 
Silversmith demonstration. 
Silk weaving. 

Turning lotus stem fibers into thread for weaving. 

The only cats we saw at the Jumping Cat Monastery. 
The floating gardens. 

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