Another bright and sunny morning, another opportunity to slather ourselves with sunblock and insect repellent in preparation for an hour or two sitting in the sun.
People were already out on the side of the canal to the hotel, taking the air and enjoying the relative cool of the morning.
I had dressed to match the boat and our driver today!
I found myself taking more photos of much the same things as before – well, how could I resist it when it’s so picturesque?
We were heading to new places today though, past this landmark which we’d not seen before. It commemorates a tragedy which happened during Hpaung Daw U celebrations a few years ago. During this celebration, an elaborate Royal Barge is brought out of storage and five precious Buddhas are transported from village to village around the lake. On this particular occasion, a storm blew up and the barge capsized. All five Buddhas were lost into the water and though four were retrieved fairly soon afterwards, the fifth wasn’t found until some time later, when it appeared in a fisherman’s net covered in seaweed.
We were heading to the place where the Royal Barge is stored, next to the Phaung Daw Oo Paya and already, it was looking pretty busy.
Thankfully, our skilful driver squeezed our boat through the others, dropped us off and went to…who knows?
Sanda took off at quite a speed over the rickety bridges through the village. She is so light of foot, those boards hardly moved and yet when we galumphed over, we were sure that one or other of them was going to break!
Our first stop was the colourful market which was here today. The market moves around the lakeside villages on a five day cycle and this one was the one Sanda recommended, because it’s where the colourful hill people come. First stop was to look at the snack stall, which was offering a wide variety of what appeared to be doughnuts of all kinds.
The Pa’O ladies were there, selling a few vegetables and turmeric.
Oh, and tomatoes of course. So many tomatoes here!
Next stall was selling lacquer, not for making decorative things but for sealing boats. Far more practical. Sanda showed us how it’s brown in its natural form – almost like brown sauce – but oxidises black when exposed to the air.
A chemists stall was selling all kinds of medicines – no prescriptions needed. Half of it looked like the shelves of our local Boots,
The other half was well stocked with Chinese medicines.
This Pa’O woman had left her collection of goods for sale but as soon as she saw Sanda explaining what they were she was quickly back on the scene. She wasn’t amused – one of the items she was selling was a purple-black powder which we were told was hair shampoo. Clearly, we weren’t going to buy any but were merely interested, but her expression said it all – if you’re not buying, then get lost!
I love her bag!
In one particularly hot corner of the market a blacksmith was at work. The fellow in the yellow shirt was operating the bellows as the smith heated a knife blade for a chap who was waiting beside us. Heat – hammer – heat – hammer – the same as blacksmiths the world over.
Here, there were the same dry goods stalls, selling beans, nuts and so on, all using the milk can unit.
I thought the cross section of the nuts (whose name I can’t recall) was interesting enough to record. I think these are the same nuts as are quartered and included in the little betel nut leaf package sold at the markets…areca?
This was an interesting product – dried wheat flour, we were told. Quite why wheat flour couldn’t be sold as, well, flour, was a question we didn’t ask. Apparently it was for vegetarians, who soaked it, cut it into cubes and deep fried as a snack.
I know. I have no idea.
We were really happy to have visited this market, so different from the others we’d already been to!
Rice cakes – so light and so bulky.
One of our parting shots of the market was of this Pa’O woman chatting with a customer who was casually doing business as she smoked her cheroot. That pink! (bag!)
As we walked out of the market we spotted these friendly young Pa’O women who laughed and joked with us. Not only that, they were happy for me to take their picture!
Leaving the market, we walked past the Golden Royal Barge – the same kind of thing that sunk in the lake.
We didn’t visit it but we did visit the temple where the photograph was, showing the accident as it happened.
We also saw the buddhas which had been lost and found. Meet me in the next post and I’ll tell you all about it!