Bagan - miscellaneous

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Bagan is noted for its lacquerware and it was the one ‘souvenir’ which we wanted to buy in Myanmar. We were taken to the Mya Thit Sar workshop where they showed how it was made, starting from thin pieces of bamboo repeatedly coated in resin over a period of months. Then the pattern is etched into the surface, a dye is rubbed into the etching, more resin is applied and more baking/setting time occurs. The whole process is repeated for each colour added. Hence, it is a long and time-consuming process but the resulting object will last forever. We came home with a temple offering vessel (shown above) which packs up very small and is incredibly lightweight. Here are some photos of the people at work.

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There does seem to be a distinction between the work done by men and women here, but when it comes to rebuilding roads, everyone is equal.

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It was our day off so we decided to walk to the nearby Lawkananda Pagoda just to see what we could see. First, let me show you one form of public transport for the locals. The ‘bus’ does not move until it is overloaded, so one has to have extreme patience to cope with this. No one can afford to be in a hurry.

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The locals also use the river to travel, and here is a jetty with buses to collect the travellers. For obvious reasons, everyone makes as much use of the shade as possible.

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The road to the Lawkananda Pagoda was busy with buses and people all heading to the temple. It wasn't just me who was on holiday, but all the locals too. The food stalls were busy frying shrimp pancakes, and people were looking for treats of any kind.

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The logs in the photo above are for making the thanaka face paint which this lady is wearing. The cut end is rubbed on a wooden board and a paste is made and freshly used.

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The closer we got to the pagoda, the more activity there was.

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We opted not to walk up to the golden pagoda because we were not keen to be walking around here bare footed.

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So, we crossed the road to a lake to feed the fishes instead. I bought a basket of cut bread from the lady below and shared it with some locals to feed the ugliest of black carp who seemed pretty well fed and indifferent to my offerings. I assume the bags of tiny fish for sale outside would be released into the lake and eventually become these monsters.

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This is the view of the Lawkananda Pagoda to the left of the River Front restaurant where we had a late lunch. We were impressed by the food on offer and found their salads to be particularly tasty. Tempured vegetables are also very popular in Myanmar, but served here with a spicy sauce.

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As we were on the edges of Old Bagan, there were still plenty of brick-coloured pagodas to see in the distance.

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While the photo above may look quite rural, it was close to a hive of industry with people making temple statues.

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It seemed like every property along this piece of road was devoted to this task. We saw a similar thing with lacquerware production, where many of the workshops could be found in just one location.

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© Helen Gray 2021