10 WAYS TO SLOW DOWN ON INLE LAKE

MINGALABA FROM MYANMAR: THIS IS WHAT I KNOW ABOUT MYANMAR (BURMA) so far: Myanmar is a whole lot like Bali, but without the “Bali.” You look at the horizon, you see mountains (not as high as Bali). You walk out of your bungalow, you see spiritual stuff (not as prevalent as Bali but some, remarkably similar, especially the gods with teeth and snarling lips). You walk into a local café for a cup of brew, you see café stuff (not quite as cool as Bali). You wander through a village and feel as though you’ve traveled back in time (not as Bali as Bali). You wander down a dirt path wondering where you might end up, and you discover a party of Pa-O tribe people (dark blue robes and bright red headgear) walking back to their flatbed truck after they’ve all taken a group “leak” break in the tall bushes beside the road (exactly like Bali).

And here, around Inle Lake in the eastern Shan state of Myanmar—things are even more so.

You canoe out onto the lake, you see fishermen fishing.

1 FishermanBlue 7964

You cruise into the nearby village, you see village stuff. Here, a village may be built on stilts over the lake.

2 Cafes 7880

You wander into a neighborhood, you see people doing neighborhood stuff. Here, doing “yard work” might necessitate rowing a boat.

3 Lady canoe 7861

You wander into the agricultural area, and you see farmers growing crops. Here, the crop fields float on the lake. Quite literally—these are “floating gardens.”

4 ManCanoe 7873

You wander a bit further, you see local children trying to take a shortcut home. You can hear their mother now: “I’ve told you a thousand times, don’t cut through Myamtah’s yard.”

5 Two girl 7857

You wander into another village on dry land—same stuff: brahma bulls pawing the ground, wooden-wheel oxcarts, bamboo homes with thatch roofs and flattened bamboo walls.

6 House man 7945

You wander a little further afield, and you see men—children, really—working the fields, bringing home the bacon…er…grass.

7 Oxcart Load 7906

You pass a bit of jungle. You see some kind of animal you’ve never seen before—small, dark brown, furry, eyes like blue fire, fast as a rat with a fat tail. Probably a feral Burmese cat. You see trees with unknown names and vines. You see thickets of bamboo.

8 Bamboo 8199

You see fields lying fallow, waiting. Beyond, you see a line of banana trees with no bananas, a forest of teak waiting to be made into flat-bottom boats, and a serrated horizon of mountains surrounding the whole lake area.

9 Trees 7942

Just before sunset, you see men driving home from a day in the fields. Here, it’s sugar cane: either for pressing into a fine, sweet drink, or refining into raw sugar. In this part of the world, you might notice a dog walking in the shade under the local transport.

10 Oxcart Dog 7944

Disappointment du jour: I didn’t take enough dollars with me on the boat trip on the lake to purchase a scarf made of—get this—lotus stalk thread for my daughter. More later about why lotus thread is more, way more, expensive than silk.

Miracle du jour: the hotel said there was no wifi in the bungalows, only in the lobby. However, I have wifi in my room (but VERY slow, cumbersome, and faulty). And I have a desk next to a window and a view of the pond right there. How does anyone get through a day without at least one miracle is what I want to know.

Lesson learned du jour:     Pee before getting into a boat for a trip around Inle Lake.

You can find other entries in Lucile’s Photo Rehab here:    Lucile’s

127 comments

  1. Hi Baddie! So this is Bali but it’s not Bali? Anyways, it’s fascinating to travel along with your narratives. It’s so captivating.
    I think you’re destroying the travel industry, at least my contribution to its growth, because every time I read your posts I feel happy enough to have virtually visited the places you describe. Let’s see.
    Perhaps except for this lotus scarf, which I may want to get and but an extra one for your daughter. How does that sound?
    Great post, as usual.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m curious. With the houses on stilts and I know the why of that, what are the waters like? How is sanitation? When I was a small girl, I remember grandpa building the outhouse over the creek that ran behind the house. (I know, that was bad but we kids didn’t know it and thought it quite ingenious) Do they operate similarly? I had heard from a friend who had traveled Nepal that sanitation can be a bit antiquated. I know you said pee first, but that doesn’t mean the locals do.
    For some reason as beautiful as the photos you shared are there was still a sadness that permeated. I don’t know why.
    Thank you for sharing your life and yes, I agree living vicariously through you is a low cost way to travel.
    Sorry about the scarf, I’m sure “T” would have loved it. Maybe another time?

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    • I know…Lucile always says it! I love that first photo, too. But my favorite is the one with the oxcart, and nobody else has said anything about that one. I love the action, movement.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It is another world, for sure. And other worldly on one level or another. And YES, I actually am hoping to find one of those scarves. I’ve already put a separate stash of cash in my bag just for the purchase!

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    • Oh man, I am so jealous. Did you buy it in Myanmar? I was so sad to realize I didn’t have enough cash with me! But why would I take a few hundred dollars on a boat trip on a lake? I would have bought a few yards of their cotton to make a shirt.

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  3. Wow….this is some set of pix! My personal fav is the one with the boy with the blue bag on his shoulder walking away from you. The finish on that looks like something out of a storybook!

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  4. What a magical light you have captured it looks like a fairy tale land. Unspoilt and fascinating. A great photo essay of the locals doing what the locals have done for years and years and maybe that will slowly change as the tourist dollar infiltrates the economy. Good time to visit before it becomes truly “Balinised”, if you know what I mean…

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    • Yes, beautiful it is. That’s for sure. And lovely, and the people are gracious and loving and lovely, too. Yeah, the dog under the cart!!! I love that one. And I do really like the line of banana trees, would have been cool if they had bananas on them, eh…

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m really upset about missing that bandana!!! But hardly a bandana. But I wouldn’t say it was actually worth what they were asking, but it is a slow and tedious process, so….

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My biggest disappointment when I was at the lake: not bringing enough cash to buy lotus scarf for my mother. Wasn’t it fascinating to see how fabrics were made from lotus stalk? I loved the floating gardens and villages, though. Kids in this part of the world probably know how to ride a boat before they know how to ride a bicycle.

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    • OH, Bama, I know just how you feel. I was so sad. I didn’t think I’d need any money for a ride on a boat. I took a bit of cash, but not THAT much. Making the yarn from that thread inside the stalk…jeez, what a process. I loved watching the way her hands moved during the process.

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  6. What wonderful wandering and lovely photos. A bit of a change to see the sugar cane transported that way – ours was such an automated process, I like yours better.

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    • Me…sarcastic? Really? But no, I mean, yeah…it’s a lot like Bali–in numerous ways. Some of the carvings even remind me of Bali. And they have a Garuda. BKK was good, just a little horrifying.

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  7. Fabulous photos, Bun. Oh what a pity about the Lotus thread scarf! If I’d been there, I would have loaned you a few dollars, being as I know you so well. Did you have to cross your legs for very long? 😀

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  8. Those are some seriously amazing photos Emilio. I laughed out loud at the suggestion of the Mom telling her kids to stay our of the neighbor’s yard, or lake as it were. Wifi in a room without Wifi. Yes that is a miracle in the travel realm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sue. You notice I’m Sue-ing it on the road—posting, but not visiting other sites while traveling. I did notice that your last post got sent to my Junk box!!!

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  9. On opening your post it was the oxcart photo that drew me in ….woow!
    I used to sing a song called ” The Lock Keeper”. It compared the life of one back home to the one who sailed the seas.
    When I read your blog I always feel like the lock keeper in my song. However we are winding down on the animals and traveling together in a year or so is on our bucket list.
    So changes are afoot. In the meantime we are running two listings on Airbnb. A Romany Wagon and a Bell Tent 💚💜💛❤️💙

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    • I love that photo, too! I think there is something good in both lives…somebody has to keep the lock, eh?
      I hope you get to travel where ever you like. Anywhere is good, I think. Hey, remind me where your place is. I know you told me, but I forgot. I loved that wagon!

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  10. I LOVED that ox cart. It looks like an ancient painting. And the dog under the other carts! Did you have to wait for that shot? Oh, and the stand of bamboo. My sister and her husband have a bamboo farm in the San Juan Islands. All kinds of bamboo. I sent them your blog address. They loved it these pictures too!

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    • Yeah, I like that photo a lot too. I was late for the dog shot. I missed the one where I saw him walking in my direction, and he looked at me with some wise expression of disconcern for me. Bamboo in San Juan! Now I have to go there…

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  11. Much happiness finding your post here! Yes, I’m a bit late (what else is new?). There is a sense that this is far more rural than Bali, if that makes sense at all. I like the whole, like Bali, but not Bali, but how, in the end, you simply let it be Myanmar. Badfish Coolness. The question is, would you have trouble choosing between going back to Myanmar, or preferring Bali for that extended stay, where you take time to watch the rice grow?

    Exquisite photos!
    Where in the world is Badfish now? 🙂

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    • Fim, thanks. And you know ANY time you show up is a good time, there is no actual late, just not early maybe.
      And yeah, it may be a bit more rural, or rather, less developed in places than Bali. Bali has had foreigners and investment for quite a while. Myanmar is just beginning the tourist gig. I would choose Bali for the vibe. No vibe in Myanmar. But…lots of Buddhas. Badfish is in Mandalay. Boarding a plane tomorrow for Dhaka!!!

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  12. …those photos…. are… amazing….
    …..this trip is like no other.
    You made me giggle when the Mom told her kids to stay in their yard… water.
    A little HDR effect added to pictures??

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  13. I am sailing to Bali this season and hope it is half as gorgeous as the photos you have shown here from Myanmar :-). Spectacular. And if I am lucky, I will get to visit Myanmar as well. And thanks for the tip. If I get there, I will remember to pee before the boat ride.

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          • 😄 I am happy to report that I have not yet needed to resort to piracy …but still hanging on to my Jolly Roger just in case ☠. We will leave Darwin for Indonesia in mid July and arrive in Bali the 1st half of September. I don’t know if we will stay longer than a week because there are many other places to visit on our way to Singapore.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Will you stop off at Komodo for a visit to the dragons…one of my most favorite adventures! Their poop is white. How about Sulawesi…it’s cool too. I think I almost died there once.
            I may be in Bali the first half of August!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Komodo a likely possibility (especially with the prospect of white poop). Sulawesi less likely but still possible. We will finalize our route by 1st July. Working on our route to Darwin now. We should keep in touch. Maybe you’ll want to visit us on Amandla for a few days if we are in the same region at the same time. That would be fun.

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          • I would LOVE to visit you on Amandla for a few days!! Maybe your knack for grabbing photos at perfect moments can rub off on me. Can I swab the decks and ahoy matey? Can I hoist the jolly roger? Darwin, for some reason, is one of my favorite places. Be careful in the waters around Komodo, they are notorious for whirlpools. But the snorkling is outrageous.

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          • 😄 I am the only one that is allowed to raise the Jolly Roger but you are totally welcome to swap the decks. We definitely need to stay in touch as we finalize our Indonesia plans and see if we can make it work. Fun! But first, I want your top 10 Darwin list so I can take the town by storm when I am there.

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          • I’ll pay you $1000 if you let me raise the flag!
            1. Croc steak
            2. Kakadu National Park
            3. Croc soup
            4. Ostrich ridign
            5. Didgeridoo shopping
            6. Boat tour to see jumping crocs
            7.Sitting in a bar with a beer listening to Ozzies talk with that accent
            8. canoe down Katherine Gorge
            9. croc or ostrich burger
            10 more beer with that accent

            Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you at least feel like you’re traveling. But you seem to have enough background info to keep on posting even when you’re not. I think I have at least ten posts out of this two-week trip! One on how I followed you again!!

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  14. Yes- the oxcart is good. 🙂 But the romanticism of the first shot has me. I’d consider flying in just to do the lake trip, but thinking about all that pee n stuff in there… maybe not. 🙂 Just sitting here waiting for my next rainbow. 🙂

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    • Hayley…You’ll love Burma (I like to call it Burma)!! It’s wonderful, the people are wonderful, food is wonderful, sights are wonderful. The roads suck!! Fly everywhere, unless you have oodles of time to go slow.

      Liked by 1 person

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