Village life

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The depth of the lake varies considerably betwee the wet and dry season, so in December (the dry season) the houses seem very high off the water. Many houses are made of straw matting as walls and I think these must be pretty cold in the dry/cool season. Our guide said they leave blankets out in the sun to heat up during the day and use these at night. Leaving fires unattended under these conditions is a major safety hazard.

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Villagers here are skilled boatsmen, the women tend to sit in their boat and use paddles, while the men prefer diesel outboard motors. And to slow down the traffic speed, they lay long bamboo poles across the side ‘streets’ as speed bumps.

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Tourism is a major source of revenue for Inle Lake, and as with many regions of Myanmar, you pay a toll fee to enter as a foreigner. This toll is used to support the local communities. If you are a local tour group, you will find yourself sitting on the floor of the boat...

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If you are a foreign tourist, you get to sit on a seat for which I was very grateful! But neither sets of passengers can avoid the noise of the engine which deafens any chance of conversation. 

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Inle Lake is a moody lake! On our first day, the sun was shining, the water was calm, and the scenery remained beautiful throughout the day until the light was almost gone and I was wondering how the boatmen see where they are going (in turns out they use a small torch!). But on our second day, the sky was full of clouds, it poured with rain, the temperature dropped, and the speedy ride was quite unpleasant.

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© Helen Gray 2020