Myanmar, Day 13, Bagan
We woke early and climbed the steep steps to the rooftop restaurant once more, this time to watch eighteen hot air balloons languorously drift across the sky as the sun rose in the distance. It was pretty lovely but quite far away so we resolved to find somewhere better to watch it tomorrow. With that in mind we hired headed to the corner to electric bikes to better explore. I hate motorbikes, mopeds and anything that moves that fast without me being encased in massive amounts of bubble wrap or having a seatbelt and car around me. This has as much to do with fear as it does my innate clumsiness, the amount of damage I could do to myself and others is immeasurable. Anyway, after a few minutes of jerkily stopping starting and turning around we were ready to head off, at about five miles an hour. Cyclists were overtaking me and I cared not a whit, perched merrily on my mini moped. We headed off the same way we had yesterday and were soon joined by a loping dog who followed us from temple to temple for several miles until there was one she was barred from entering and when we came out she was sadly gone.
It’s all about height in Bagan, there are thousands of these wonderful buildings, but the land is mostly flat as a pancake so without some elevation you cannot see the majority of the magnificence that is all around you. One we visited was the ruins of a monastery and we were able to climb a narrow open staircase with tiny steps up a level but there was nothing much to see in the vicinity and coming down was not nearly as easy as going up had been, eek!
Tales of being able to enter and climb deserted temples seem now in the past. Many we came across had their stairways gated and locked and the ones you could ascend didn’t always offer that great a view. Getting more adventurous we followed a herd of goats down a dirt trail finding more secluded temples far from the main road, their entrances bricked up or barred by gates, it seems the days of discovering a hidden treasure are long gone.
We headed back to New Bagan for lunch and a little R and R before heading out again, this time away from the larger temples, the road wide and flat making for nice easy biking, I may even have hit ten miles an hour. Ahead on our left the golden Dhamma ya za ka kedi stupa rising up majestically from the plain. It’s a beauty with ornate lion carvings and rain spouts, the wide stairways were unfortunately barred and after a wander around during which I had seen a man atop the temple behind, we took the dirt road around the temple into a labyrinth of wonder. The first temple we stopped at had a wide exterior new built staircase, the views showing a world of wonder reaching far into the distance and we spent the next few hours spying a temple, finding it and climbing up to see the next one to head for. We ended up some way from the main road, we think at temple 834 an isolated and beautiful temple with a barren overly renovated interior and a very low narrow staircase up to the roof and breathtaking views. Arched corners mark the turn of the narrow path that circles the temple, the views more impressive on each side, magnificent temples and pagodas in all directions, we had definitely found our spot to watch the sunrise tomorrow morning.
Happily tired we headed back to the hotel, J thrashed us all at monopoly deal and then we headed to dinner where the inadequately lit restaurant led to J smashing his foot, swearing a lot, and skipping dinner, not such a bad thing after all the food we ate in Singapore Xx