Driving through to our next stop, we came across a large area filled with huge jugs...three or four feet tall! They're used for holding fresh rain water as well as decorative plantings in hotels. Throughout our walks in Myanmar, we have seen small jugs with cups by them on the streets. They keep them always full with fresh water so that anyone can have a drink when they want one. In some areas, they put the pot in the fire, blackening the outside of the clay. It is supposed to sweeten the water, making it taste fresher. To be honest, I took their word for it -no way I'm drinking the water!
We took a break from the temples to stop at a local market. The farmers bring in their produce, all organic, for sale at the local markets. Everyone in the area comes to pick up what they need for the day and the sellers are kept busy. We saw some very interesting ways to measure the produce. They used various balance scales with many different
unique weights. There were certainly those with standard weights that they pulled out to use but some creative souls used other items...including obviously spent batteries! The produce side was a dream to walk through, smelling wonderful, people posing for pictures, watching a small slice of daily life. Babies were present everywhere and even the cradles came to hold those sleepy tykes. We wandered through, unsuspecting, and hit the souvenir side...omg what a difference. They learned from the Vietnamese; calling, grabbing, pulling, come look, come see, you buy, where you from, just look, here, hold. It is unbelievable. I find that I don't want to spend anything at all. I understand that this is the worst area for that...I hope so. On the funny side...they have some beautiful sand paintings that you quickly notice they're all identical...except...they make a big show of having their painting stuff out for you to see as they paint on the finishing touch - the outside border with their name on it. Then they can tell you "Look what I painted", they just avoid mentioning WHAT they painted. Some are gorgeous but I'm looking for the perfect one sold by someone who invites you to look with no pressure.
|Motorcycle gas station|
Short commercial break about gas stations here. You see many roadside stands, with various bottles full of yellow or pink something. They might be in water bottles, or wine (screw top, of course). Could be a beer bottle or anything else. The contents, however, should not be confused with the labels. It happens to be gasoline. They sell it that way for the motorcycles. Cars are a little more difficult and gas stations are still few and far between. They just have larger containers, though in larger villages, there might be something that passes as a gas station available.
|Gas in the market place|
The second day we again took to the road to track down the best of the best of the temples. The Ananda Pahto is one of the best preserved temples with an ornate golden dome like top shimmering across the countryside. Inside are four teak Buddhas that have been gilded. It is interesting that between his thumb and middle finger there is a round ball, said to represent herbal medication, offering this as teaching to help cure suffering. The most unusual one we visited was the Payathonzu temple. This temple had three stupas with
three Buddhas. There's apparently quite a bit of debate as to whether it is representing a Hindu influence (they have a triad of three -Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma) or if it is the three gems of Buddhism (though we also heard that there are five gems of Buddhism). One may never know.