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Salay to Bagan - Saturday, 21 January 2017

Visit Youqson Kyaung, a striking teak monastery; the largest lacquer Buddha image in Myanmar; the trio of brick shrines at Paya Thonzu and Ananda Temple. Tea house stop at Salay House.

sunny 32 °C

By the time we woke this morning, we were already sailing. We will be docking at Salay in time to participate in a walking tour of the village at 9 am. Salay was founded in the 13th century and has 7,000 residents. It contains Bagan era shrines, beautiful 19th century teak monasteries and preserved British colonial buildings. We are running a bit behind and actually docked at 9.30 am and immediately went ashore. Phil decided not to come today but stay in the cabin and watch the tennis instead.

It is quite cool again this morning. The wind is the problem. Without the wind, it would be nice, but as soon as we stop sailing, the wind does abate a bit.

We walked through the town of Salay and it is totally different from the other villages we have seen. Lots of children everywhere and as usual, the villagers come out to see us. There are old colonial buildings and stupas everywhere. It is such a shame that these old colonial buildings are left to deteriorate, but apparently several years ago, the population moved to Bagan.

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These bags of water are hanging on most of the houses. It is in case of fire, of course.

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We passed the monastery and went into the pagoda to see the lacquered Buddha. Legend has it that he was found floating in the Irrawaddy and the Salay people were the ones who found him and brought him ashore and put him in their temple.

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Chillies drying in the foreground.

We visited an old teak monastery and on the way back to the ship, called into the Salay Tea House for some Burmese tea and samoas. Very nice. The tea house is situated on the banks of the river and it was just a short walk along the road to get us back to the ship. The tea house also had a souvenir shop but we hardly had any time to check out the merchandise, which was unfortunate as there seemed to be some interesting things in there.

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Me and Susan - our guide.

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Aren't the Burmese nice to their tourists. They really are such a gentle and friendly race of people.

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Washing day and bath time.
TJ, Susan and I had a discussion at lunch about Myanmar Tea and now TJ knows what it is, so all I have to do is ask and he'll know what I want.

Phil went for a massage this afternoon but before he went, I hopped into the jacuzzi. I couldn't get it to work so he phoned for help and THREE staff arrived. How embarrassing! I'm sitting in the jacuzzi while they are trying to work out why it wouldn't work and then we realised that the water wasn't covering the sensor. Once we topped up the jacuzzi, then everything worked perfectly. How lovely it was - lying back in the jacuzzi and watching the world pass by as we sailed along the Irrawaddy.

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I went to an icecream party at the pool, which was followed by a small concert of singing and dancing by the staff. I had chocolate and chilli icecream, but I couldn't taste any chilli, which was probably a good thing. After the concert, we all got up and danced to "YMCA". It was great fun.

We docked in Bagan almost at sunset and the staff had to work very quickly to drop anchor, secure a line ashore and put up the gangway. We are tied to a large rock here as opposed to large trees at other dockings along the river. It is quite mild outside this evening and there is not much wind. I hope we have left that weather behind us.

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Bagan was once the centre of the Pagan Empire and is the centre of the Burmese lacquerware industry. Bagan contains a huge number of religious edifices and magnificent architectural examples. There are two different styles of temples in Bagan - the stupa (a solid style temple) and the gu style (hollow temple).

A stupa, also called a pagoda, is a massive structure, typically with a relic chamber inside. In contrast to the stupas, the hollow gu style temple is a structure used for meditation, devotional worship of the Buddha and other Buddhist rituals. The gu temples come in two basic styles - one face design and four face design - essentially one main entrance and four main entrances.

Early to bed tonight as tomorrow is a HUGE day, commencing at 5.20 am when some of us will be going to give alms to the monks. More about this tomorrow.

Buddist saying for today - "A generous heart, kind speech and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity"

Posted by gaddingabout 16:33 Archived in Myanmar

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