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Nyangshwe and Inle Lake

Written on: Tuesday March 18th, 2008

A journal entry from: Around The World Without A Plane

With my money beginning to run out I was at this stage having to decide what I could afford and what I would do with the rest of my time here in Burma. I decided to stick around for one more day and spend that day with Sebastian and Daan again on a longboat trip on and around the stunning Inle Lake. I almost didn?t as I thought that the journey by boat the day previous from Indein to Nyangshwe would suffice, but I?m so glad I changed my mind.

 

Our longboat driver took us all over the lake, to where they have floating gardens that are worked throughout the day, to where villages float peacefully in the glimmering sunshine and the lake runs like streets separating the huts from one another. We visited a weaving business which houses the only factory in the world where they weave the threads from the lotus plant that are unique to growing in this area. The products retail at three times the price of silk, which they also spin here.

 

We then visited a Padung tribes family who are world famous because of the long-neck women that are akin to this particular tribe. The women are so called, because from a young age, if they so choose, they have a series of rings placed around their necks which is added to every year until they are 16 whereupon their necks appear to be stretched by about 30cm. They were a very friendly group of women, no doubt used to tourists turning up and pointing their cameras at them, in this the touristiest place in the whole of Myanmar. I brought a crucifix necklace made from pearl from them to make up for my gold one that I?m still kicking myself for having had stolen from me in Nha Trang.

 

After lunch we visited a couple of temples, including one known as Leaping Cat Monastery where the cats don?t jump at all, instead as one of the monks there told me ?They look like they?ve been smoking dope.? Then we made our way back across the Lake once more, again distracted and in awe of the fisherman who row their boats with their legs by standing at the back of the boat and wrapping one of their legs around the paddle; and the gulls that avidly and playfully race the boats along up and down the water.