After the amazing days in Bagan, it was time to see another highlight of Myanmar; the mystic Inle Lake!
As always in Myanmar, the bus left the hotel at 5h PM, meaning that you miss one last sunset in Bagan but that you arrive at 3h30 in the morning in Inle Lake…extremely useful. At least, people are so nice here in the hotel that they book our bus tickets AND that when arriving at 3h30 AM, the little lady opened up the hotel, gave us two temporary rooms free of charge for the rest of the night, aren’t they nice!
Having heard about the famous Mingala market at 10 minutes walk of our hotel and opening at 5h am, I took a quick nap, put together all my strength and determination and got out of the hotel in the night to finally find an extremely close market, opening at 6h…to be continued.
After exploring Nyaung-Shwe (the little town close to the Lake where we stayed) I tried another mean of transportation for the first time in my life in Myanmar; 4 wheels roller skates in what appeared to be a typical skate park with dance music and everything, right in the heart of Nyaung-Shwe, too good to be true! Once more, Burmese people proved to be excessively nice and it was big black fun as we say in French (du gros fun noir!) to skate with them! Never would I have expected in my life to do that here!
Having booked our boat ride for the next morning, it was at 5h30am that San, our boat captain, picked us up at the hotel. The same little lady of the previous day ran after us, still sleepy, to give us our lunchboxes because we would miss the breakfast, I wanted to hug her. Cruising the lake on those long fast boats in the mist of the mornings with the town and the lake waking up along the rising sun was nothing short of magical and I will keep wonderful memories of the whole day even though some of the fishermen are not exactly what you would expect (full story in this How I got the Shot!). Little hints; take the long ride (2$ more for the whole boat), bring warm clothes for the morning and light ones for the rest, lot of sunscreen and water. You get to visit floating gardens, market, monastery, ruined pagodas and just overall enjoy a great day.
This ended my little holiday from Shoot to Help and the following day was the typical “goodbye, aurevoir, dazvidania, nashledanou, hasta luego” moment with our friends from Quebec, that’s one downside of traveling…It was after that back to work with a nightbus to the capital to get to our first NGO report in Myanmar.
I also wish to express myself more about why I fell in love with the country, the trip and especially the people. I couldn’t have been more serious when saying the Burmese are my favorite people I have ever met while traveling;
- They SMILE, so much, all the time
- They look at you in the eyes and are sincerely glad to see you and to smile to you
- They LAUGH, like, a lot and it’s easy to tell jokes and have fun with them
- They genuinely want to help you, even though it’s getting touristy
- They are beautiful, with their make-up their smiles and their brilliant eyes
- They accept to be photographed, you just have to look at them plainly in the eyes, be honest and direct and smile at them while taking the pictures
- They are generous; waking up in the night to give us a temporary free room, not letting us pay on a bus, running after us to give us a lunchbox,
- They are true people and I am glad of having been able to meet them before the big tourism rush that will happen soon
- They always sing
- They always tease each other and make jokes
- I just want to hug them
The whole Myanmar trip ended where it began, in Yangon, at the Mother Land Inn 2 (no idea if there is a 1) at the exact same room 22. Yup, I’ve liked the place but it’s time for new adventures as I have the day to prepare everything and get ready for the epic journey that will bring us to Ladakh. 4 flights, two nights in airports and 48 hours later, we will go from the tropical Yangon to the snowy Himalayans height that is Leh, capital of Ladakh.