This is unprecedented. Two two-nighters in succession. We could easily get used to this but sadly our next 5 days are one nighters so we enjoyed this to the full. The beauty of these days is that with no agenda rallyists are free to do as they wish, to head off and see a local attraction they may have heard about, or if they have been here before, make the most of a day by the pool. Either way these days really are savoured.
Inle lake is breathtakingly beautiful. The second largest in Myannmar it measures 45 square meters and the best way to see it is to jump on a boat and venture out on to it. Wooden houses around the lake are built on stilts and the lake features complete floating villages and gardens.
A leisurely start was enjoyed by most taking a boat across the lake to the village of In Dein.
The lake is home to fishermen with a distinctive rowing style, whereby they row with one leg, whilst balancing on the other so that that leaves their hands free to net the catch.
In Dein as a “mini-Angkor Wat” of 4000 temples and Pagodas which until 1999 was off limits to foreigners. Even the Myanmar people could only visit if they knew someone in the village. The restoration programme is a long way behind other more well known sites, and that is part of it’s charm.
Also on the programme of the boat tour was a visit to the silk weaving village and the Cheroot ‘factory’.
The silk is made from lotus stems and a single scarf has over 3000 lotus stalks woven into it.
The final products are then sold locally, by ladies to visitors at the temple
A third of the lake is taken up with floating gardens, growing mostly tomatoes and what looked like shallots. They are anchored to the lake bed by long bamboo poles, to stop them floating away and they produce three crops a year. There are villages in the lake too, some with electricity and huge satellite dishes.
And of course it is also where people come to do their laundry!
Four intrepid travellers took a balloon ride over the lake but when the balloon ascended to 8000 feet in almost no time it proved a bit nail biting. But that was where the wind was and the consensus was that it was amazing.
In the evening celebrated Andy’s birthday, and since Sheila’s is tomorrow, we generously allowed them to share the cost of the free bar as we watched the sunset