Start with a visit to Shwesandaw Pagoda before heading to Sri Ksetra, the ancient Pyu Kingdom's capital and also Myanmar's first World Heritage listed site
18.01.2017 - 18.01.2017 32 °C
Scenic Aura Cabin 302
Had a great sleep in a very comfortable bed. Lovely big soft pillows. There are a couple of barges tied up alongside the Scenic Aura and during the night I heard 12 bells ring out, which must have meant it was midnight. Meanwhile, Phil was "socialising" with Mike from the UK and a couple of blokes from WA. I don't know what time he got to bed but the condition he was in, I was surprised that he could find the cabin. Mike confessed today that he took a long time to find his cabin, because he couldn't find the lift, well - duh - there isn't one on this boat! Consequently, the four of them are feeling rather seedy today.
After breakfast, we had a short shore excursion this morning to the Shwe Sandaw Pagoda in Pyay. The gold on these pagodas is just something else. It is mesmerizing!
Pyay (or Prome as named by the British) was once controlled by the Mon tribe during the Bagan Era and then conquered by the Burmese King Alaungpaya in 1754. It boomed along with the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company in the 1890s and is now an important trading post for goods travelling between northern and southern Myanmar.
Shwe Sandaw Pagoda was built in the life time of Gotama Buddha and contains four sacred relics. The four sacred relics are: the dugut robe of Kaukkusanda Buddha; the anthakite piece of Konagamana Buddha; the girdle of Kassapa Buddha and the four strands of hair, the eight special stretchy hairs and cushion of Gotama Buddha. It was constructed in the Maha Sakarit year 103 (Buddhist Era) on the 13th waxing moon of March. It is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites of Myanmar.
Phil and I were both born on a Saturday, which means our animal is Dragon and that we are very volatile, which explains a lot. Jimmy, our next door neighbour on the ship, is a Saturday baby too so we all had our photos taken at the Saturday corner and tipping water on Buddah.
Shoes off again and again, filthy feet. But Scenic think of everyone and had out wipes for our feet.
We are attracting a lot of attention wherever we go, especially in the pagodas, and these lovely people are only too happy to pose for photographs with us. The little girl was fascinated with Phil. I don't think she had ever seen anyone so big!
We visited the Wunchataung Paya (Apology Mountain Pagoda) which was very old but just made from bricks, and not covered in gold. I'm not sure why, but it has been quite neglected and needs some maintenance work done on it. It had grass and bushes growing out the sides of of it.
On the way back to the ship, we visited Thhayekhittaya (also known as Sri Ksetra, the Fabulous City, in the Pali language). It is an ancient Pyu city that ruled in this area between the 5th and 9th centuries. The museum is full of excellent maps and artifacts including Hindu deities, Buddah images from as far back as the 6th century, Pyu beads and silver coins.
Back on board, the staff took our shoes and cleaned them for us. Talk about service! I know they are trying to keep the ship as clean as possible, but cleaning our shoes??!!
Then the ship sailed but for the first couple of hours, there were two staff out the front of the boat in a speed boat, measuring the depth of the water. Lots of sand banks around here. That's why they never sail at night, especially now as it's the dry season and the river is a bit low.
Nice buffet lunch and then decided to do a spot of ironing. I offered to iron a shirt for Mike from the UK and as I was on my way to the ironing room, Chantelle in reception saw me and said "We do your ironing and washing for you. Here, give it to me". That's the beauty of staying in the Royal Panorama Suite, I guess!
Phil is now watching the Australian Tennis Open from Melbourne (sleeping on the bed) and I am catching up with my blogging as the internet is VERY slow, especially downloading photos, and I don't want to get too far behind or it becomes a chore.
The butler just dropped off some fruit sticks. When we came back from our shore excursion, he was standing there with two cafe lattes and two G&Ts!
We, along with two other couples, have been invited to the dining room tonight for "An intimate Table around the Asian Saveurs", elaborated by the Chef Than Hitke and his Team (whatever that means)!
I went to a longyi tying demo this afternoon and when we came back from dinner, there was a male and a female longyi in our room as a gift from Scenic! Nice touch.
Well dinner was delightful. We shared the event with Faye from Melbourne, and Jimmy and Pat from Perth. It was seven courses and each one was spectacular.
After dinner, we went to the lounge for drinks with the West Aussies and Ingrid and Mike. And we all left for our cabins at a respectable hour and SOBER!
Buddah saying for the day - "True love is born from understanding"