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Every night of the year, on a small stage at the front of the family house, Lu Naw leads family members and friends in a comedic and cultural performance that pays homage to the original Moustache Brothers – Par Par Lay, Lu Naw and Lu Zaw.

The late Par Par Lay and his cousin Lu Zaw spent years in prison as a result of their outspoken performances. These days, the troupe is allowed to perform for foreign visitors only.

Moustache Brothers - 1Moustache Brothers 2

Moustache Brothers 3

Moustache Brothers 4

Moustache Brothers 6Moustache Brothers 5

After a morning visiting cultural sites and a pit stop for a cold drink, we hit the streets with our feet around midday on an extremely hot day. What did Noel Coward say about mad dogs?

We started along the Ayeyarwaddy River, past the jetties that take ferries down to Bagan when the water levels are higher and past some serious fish unloading and trading.

Given the heat, we cheated a little and grabbed a taxi to the Zay Cho Market and finished the walk through the railway station on our way to a late lunch.

Tomorrow we travel to Bagan by mini-bus. It’s a 5 hour journey. We’ve opted for a 10.00 am departure time so we should see lots of countryside on the way.

Irrawaddy River roadIrrawaddy River tradeFish trade - Irrawaddy RiverZay Cho Market 1Zay Cho Market 2Zay Cho Market 3Zay Cho Market 4Mandalay Railway Station

In 1784, King Bodawpaya and his Burmese Army seized an ancient bronze Buddha and transported it to this current site in Mandalay. In the gallery at Mahamuni, large paintings created in the 1950s tell the story of its epic journey.

Except for the face of the Buddha, which is polished by a monk every morning at 4 o’clock, the surface is covered in a six inch layer of gold, as a result of years of the application of gold leaf. Only male visitors to the pagoda are allowed to near the inner sanctum and place the leaf on the Buddha. The second photograph in this post was taken by my husband. I had a view further back with the women.

Mayamuni Paya - picture galleryMahamuni Paya - Mandalay 3 May 2015Mahamuni Paya 2

Mahamuni Paya precinct

Ceramic jars like these are found all over Burma for people as accessible sources of cold drinking water.

Water Jars at Mahamuni Paya

Where?   Just outside Mandalay, near the town of Amarapura on Taungthaman Lake.

What?     The U Bein Bridge – the world’s oldest and longest teakwood bridge

When Burma’s capital city was moved to nearby Mandalay around 1859, U Bein, the mayor who served under Burma’s King Bodawpaya arranged for the dismantling and recycling of teak from the palace of Amarapura to construct this 1.2 km long bridge across the lake. With the exception of some more recent replacement concrete pylons, the bridge’s columns and planks are made entirely of teak.

The bridge serves commuters in the area, particularly during the peak hours around dawn and dusk.

Today was a Saturday, and a significant day in the Buddhist calendar. Everyone was out for the day and a gentle jostle was had by all as we crossed over the waterway and came back facing into the setting sun. Look Mum, no safety rails!U Bein Bridge 11U Bein Bridge 10

U Bein Bridge 9

U Bein Bridge 7U Bein Bridge 6

U Bein Bridge 5

U Bein Bridge 4U Bein Bridge 3U Bein Bridge 2U Bein Bridge 1

 

Saturday was waking to the sound of chanting, bare feet and temples at Mandalay Hill, stairs and stairs down through shrines and stalls. It was Mandalay Palace and a longer stay there than planned. It was further unsuccessful ATM attempts with the travel card, then reading the fine print on the bank documents to discover that Myanmar is one of the countries where its use is restricted. It was heat and more heat with no sign of rain. It was keeping hydrated with water. It was burnt feet as we ascended concrete steps to an ancient monastery in Amarapura. It was a walk across a lake on a teak bridge and tired legs and feet to bed.

Mandalay Hill - Sat 2 May 2015 - 2Mandalay Hill - Sat 2 May 2015 - 5Mandalay Hill - Sat 2 May 2015 4Mandalay Hill - Sat 2 May 2015 - 1Mandalay Hill - Sat 2 May 2015 - 3