Inle Lake

Inle lake is up in the eastern mountains, so it’s pleasant and cool after the humid heat of Mandalay. The lake is very shallow and is now, at the end of the rainy season, at its largest. There are many villages in the lake, where all houses are built on stilts and are reachable only by those long narrow wooden boats. Everything is manual labor. They have an unusual method to row their boats with their right leg, hooking the paddle with their feet and making an odd twisting motion. Looks quite precarious but I am sure nobody ever gets wet. Our boat had a motor.

This being Myanmar there are of course numerous pagodas and monasteries all over the shore, in one case with a field where some 900 stupas are packed so tightly together that one couldn’t squeeze through the gaps. I also saw a huge cave some distance away with over 8000 golden buddhas and little stupas inside, like a warehouse. My hotel is a huge fancy resort with huts built out on the water, but getting there is a long, slow, bumpy ride over narrow roads. The little airport at nearby Heho looks like a bus station, and works like one; every once in a while a little turboprop lands and some people get off while others get on. Except for the resorts, tourism hasn’t really arrived here.

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