Hello Mandalay

 

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With our suitcases disappearing up the riverbank on someone’s head, we thought we’d better follow.  Sanda was waiting with our driver, ready to begin the trip to Mandalay.

 

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People here seem to cram into any available moving space, be it in the back of a pick up truck or, as here, in a lorry and trailer.

 

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The small trucks are piled high with goods, sometimes so precariously, it’s unsurprising that from time to time they fall off.

 

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I don’t know if the nuns had been travelling on board or if they had merely stopped to assist.

 

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Neither do I know if they ever call “full” or if there is such a thing as a three bell load*

 

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As we approached Mandalay, we drove into heavier, more usual city traffic but the view out the window stayed equally interesting.

 

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We found ourselves coming in through the stone carving district, where marble buddhas and other religious statuary were being created.

 

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We found it interesting that similar trades were gathered together in the same street, a bit like Hanoi, really!

 

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We were heading for the temple, but you can understand why this is the first photo I took there, can’t you?

 

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Colour, pattern, texture?

 

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I do believe one of those small bags might just have found its way to England, you know!

 

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Well, it’d have been a shame to have left it there, wouldn’t it?

 

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They are so beautifully made and almost every woman here carries one.

 

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But we weren’t really here to buy a bag.  Neither were we here to buy a stone carving or some wooden object.  But we can look, can’t we?

 

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It’s interesting just to see what’s going on, to stand and stare, if you like.  this young woman was supposedly gilding a statue of Buddha but she was having a rather interesting conversation on her phone at the same time.  Multitasking!

 

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A little further along was a bowl of miniature figures, for keeping in the pocket and feeling comfortable that he is always near.

 

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And a little further on still was the jade stall, with all kinds of different shades from here in Mandalay, which is known for its jade.

So much to see, then, and that’s before we’ve even reached the temple, where something special was happening and which we simply had to watch.  Meet me in the next post and I’ll tell you all about it!

* oh yes, in the days of bus conductors (of which my Mum was one!) they would ring the bell three times to signal to the driver that the bus was full and that no further passengers should be picked up until some had got off.  That’s all.

A family ceremony

Goodbye, Ananda