Tuesday, December 19, 2017

balloons over Bagan

I saw the photos of Balloons Over Bagan two months ago and was very tempted to splurge. Instead, we wound up getting up before dawn and hopping in a tuktuk to watch them float across the sky.
At first it was dark and cold, and we were barefoot on the terrace of a temple near Dhamma Ya Zi Ka, where we were last night. And then the sun began to rise and so did the balloons!
In the east, over Mt. Popa.
 Maybe I've had a more incredible morning. I can't remember one.
 The balloons slowly, silently floated over head.



So it turned out, after taking photos in Bagan for 3 days, atop towers and through arches and at night, that the secret was to wake up early. Lesson learned.

After breakfast, we waved goodbye to War War, the guardian angel and manager of Ruby True, in her brightest yellow dress, and headed for the airport.

A half hour flight and then an hour's drive to Kalaw, a town known for trekking, brought us back to Shan state. Of course our first stop after the hotel: Shan noodles.

We enjoyed them with delicious coffee and delightful company at Elpis Cafe. Emma, it turns out, used to live in Pasadena and returned to Kalaw to care for her aging parents.


We happened upon a procession for noviates.

The temple is covered in tiny mirrored tiles: I dubbed it the disco pagoda.

It was market day in Kalaw, when the five day market is in town. This is a local market, not crafts for tourists.

We loved it.
 Emma said these are a kind of stinky green. I didn't try them.

These are betel leaves. You wrap a bit of betel nut in them with a lime paste. I tried one on the train. You get quite a jolt!
Aren't they lovely?
The rice stand

Heading home after a long day of shopping