temples

MYANMAR PART 6: BAGAN

MYANMAR PART 6: BAGAN

After spending three hours at dawn on the top terrace of Shwesandaw pagoda we were hungry and ready for breakfast.
The terrace had been packed for sunrise, but immediately after the sun came up a lot of people had disappeared and it was easier to move around and take in the views across the plain in different directions.  By the time we left some local kids had come to the top of the temple and were hustling the tourists, selling postcards and posing for photos 

We saw more kids hustling in Bagan than anywhere else in Burma, which isn't surprising really as it's one of Burma's most popular and long established tourist attractions.  On leaving the hotel after breakfast to explore the temples a young girl immediately approached us and after (very sweetly) asking us if we'd like to buy some postcards, proceeded to pull a brand new Penguin paperback of Orwell's Burmese Days from her dress and ask us if we'd like to buy it.  She said it was "very good" and I asked her if she'd read it, to which she smiled in a kind of you-know-I'm-not-being-strictly-honest kind of way and said "Yes, of course.  It's very good."
In all the time we were in Burma we never found these encounters tiresome or awkward.  The kids were always polite and not particularly persistent, and it never felt like a pressure, but at the same time it is sad that the kids don't go to school because they can make money selling to tourists.

MYANMAR PART 5: SUNRISE AT BAGAN

MYANMAR PART 5: SUNRISE AT BAGAN

Back when we first started looking into this trip, when we'd decided to go to Asia but weren't sure which country yet, the more I looked at Burma and saw places like Golden Rock and Inle, the more I wanted to go there.  However, it was seeing photos of Bagan and reading descriptions of the vast plain covered with thousands of ancient temples that really made us decide "We have to see this place!"

Because of the route we'd chosen to travel around Burma Bagan was one of the last places on our itinerary, and despite all the amazing places we'd seen before there'd always been a sense of anticipation about finally getting to Bagan.
As it turned out, our plane landed at night and driving from the airport to our hotel in Old Bagan we couldn't really see much, just the odd tantalizing glimpse of a couple of large illuminated temples between the trees.