March 07, 2018 7:35 AM | Anonymous member


Winding down our Myanmar experience in Bagan, home for ~ 3000 pagodas and temples with a population of 80,000. The old city is a U.N. world heritage site and the new city has been built nearby to support the area.

We were awakened by phone at 5 AM because our leader wanted to make certain we were ready for a 6:15 departure to the airport. Everyone else was early; she was 10 minutes late. We made it to the airport by the 7 AM show for an 8 AM departure. The visibility was awful all the way to Bagan with smoke and haze. After meeting our guide we came to our wonderful hotel, checked in and got unpacked before heading off to an NGO that works with local women to give them skills. The group spent about an hour buying lots of presents. We enjoyed lunch outdoors in a covered restaurant beside a channel of the Irrewaddy River. Because the group was exhausted we returned to the hotel for a 2 hour break before heading out to enjoy the sunset and dinner.

Bagan is a major tourist attraction. At one time it had over 4000 pagodas and stupas. However Myanmar sits on two plates that make it a major earthquake center. There was a 6.8 quake in 1975 that apparently destroyed one half of the structures. About 1000 have been rebuilt. A more recent one in 2016 also did some damage but moat as bad as the '75 quake. Apparently all these structures were built by families to buy good karma for them, their families and ancestors. Some date back to at least the 11th Century C.E.

I had a one hour Myanmar massage during the break for $20!

There is a 180' tower that tourists use, especially at sunset. Elevators take you to the top so you can see the sun set. The haze is so bad at this time of year that we lost sight of the sun before it descended past the mountains. For those who are northern Californians, we were interested to see a group of hills standing nearby that reminded us of the Sutter Buttes.

Dinner was fine at a tourist restaurant with a marionette show. We were home by 8:30 ready for bed. One member is getting up at 4:30 to make a sunrise balloon ride. Hope the visibility is better in the AM than in the PM. We will be off at 9:30 after she returns.

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