Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Inle Lake: Life on the Water

Inle Lake, Burma
August 20-24

Inle Lake, wow what can be said about this amazing place. It has so much beauty and culture and was definitely a highlight of the trip. The first day we did a boat ride tour around the lake and it rained pretty much all day! The second day the sky was clear most of the day until a big storm dumped on the lake, thankfully it was not for very long and it produced this amazing low rainbow over the lake with the backdrop of the mountains... one of the most breathtaking sights I have ever seen!

Going into Burma I had very little knowledge about the place... questionable government, horrible human rights, lots of pagodas and that there was a big lake somewhere. Well it all became clear when we got here and saw how the people lived, on top of the huge freshwater lake! The houses are built on stilts, the gardens and produce is grown on floating masses of greenery and everyone goes everywhere by boat.

The Intha people who live on the lake have a very interesting way of getting around, they paddle with their leg. Quite an interesting sight to see.

We went to a market that was filled with colorful and exotic merchandise. I have said it before, I just love wandering thru markets around the world. (check out my post Markets and Munchies) The bartering, the smells and food, and interesting things for sale, just amazing. It is so interesting to see what the local people need for daily life.

The downside of the markets, and of Burma in general, is the pushy vendors who completely lack knowledge on how to deal with tourists. This woman literally chased us down and harassed Jenny to the point of such extreme discomfort. It is understandable the persistance and desire to make a living in such a poor and corrupt country, however the overall feeling I got in Burma was that I was a big dollar sign ready to be exploited and ripped off around every corner.

Below you can see the floating houses.

Some of the other industries on the lake include weaving, silver smithing, and other handicrafts.

This above photo I think is one of my top 10 favorite photos. (top 10 favorite Burma photos to come!!) I love the natural indoor light and the spinning wheel, and the far off look this beautiful woman has in her eye.

The below photo is the famous Nga Phe Kyaung monastary where the monks have trained cats to jump through hoops. It is very random and pretty cute, worth the 5 minute show!

As my birthday was right around the time we were here we decided to splurge on a nicer hotel and stay on a hotel on stilts. It was so relaxing and stunning. Just sitting around, reading, catching up on work and watching life and time pass by on Inle Lake.

Above are the floating gardens the people tend and grow their crops. Below Jenny and I on the tour the first day. We had a great group of people and it was a really nice day getting to know them and explore the lake with them... despite the rain!

1 comment:

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