May 25 2011
It was the 2nd morning in Myanmar, and again we had to wake up early. We checked out after breakfast, and soon we were at the airport again:
Bagan Nyaung Oo Airport is different from any airports I’ve been before. It was extraordinarily quiet with no announcement blaring. I could feel the serenity, LOL! We were given some stick-on tag to wear on our blouse. I also noticed that there were at least 2 (if not 3) different colours for the same airline. Later I found out that the color indicated our destination.
When it was time to leave, some airport workers would just come to us and requested us to board the plane! One of them would be holding a placard with the flight number on it. Cool…
Mandalay Airport is relatively very far away from the town. Some of the views we got on our way to town :
popular public transports, I guess:
But before we entered town, our first tourist stop was at the 100 year old 1km-long pedestrian-only teak bridge:
It connects the small town/village with another village across the lake (not river).
Mandatory portrait :
The 2nd stop was at a nearby monastery where visitors are allowed to come in to see their livelihood. Nah… joking! We were allowed to go in to see how them during their lunch.The males here (very young, and old too) come here to study Buddhism. The younger ones study normal education during the day and study Buddhism at night. Many come from poor families. This monastery’s modus operandi reminds me of the “pondok” system we have back home!
When we arrived the meals were readily served:
Apart from the huge (main) dining hall above, there are a few other “wings”, like this one:
Since we were a bit early for the lunch event, our guide took us for a kitchen tour first:
I was fascinated with the modified huge rice cookers (that’s our guide in pink):
That day’s main dish was beef:
Their meals are paid for by individual/corporate sponsorships.
For that particular day, the lunch was sponsored by a rich family, whose family members (seen below in white tops) came along to personally hand over their contribution:
Some student leaders helped out:
The monastery has over 1000 residents, hence the long queue:
It was very solemn (no joking or laughing):
The donor family members also took the opportunity to give the monastery residents stationeries and fizzy drinks (individually) while tourists looked on.
Many of the residents were shy. They would eat a bit of the food, then take the rest in their containers and went back to their dormitories to continue eating. (I forgot to mention earlier that everyday they are only served breakfast and lunch, NO dinner. On most days, the meals are simple. Occationally, like the day I was there, they would get elaborate lunch, sponsored by some philanthropist ).
Back to our visit, we left the place when the queue was still very long! Looking at them made us feel hungry too. We needed to get our lunch, then go to our hotel to check in and a quick a rest, before continuing our site-seeing!
to be continued…