We set off around 7.30pm, after breakfast. Along the way we stopped off at a palm oil and sugar production area. It was very interesting watching how they collect the palm sap, which they do twice a day (sweet in the morning na detour in the evening). We got to taste some fresh sap along with the cane sugar and a special sweet treat that I can’t remember the name off…..it was all delicious! Some brave souls also tried the alcohol they produce but it was way too early in the morning for me.
We also saw how they apply the traditional make-up/sunscreen and the young girl beckoned me to come and try it…..I was a bit reluctant as I never know how my skin will react to things (I have chronic dermatitis) and I didn’t want to mess up my helmet….but the boys encouraged me to give it a go….so I did…..she drew some leaf shapes on my cheeks…..so it’s official….Karen has finally gone beyond feral now …..she’s gone Tribal!
We also met a friendly Brahman Bull ….who mills the peanuts (I never knew they grew underground….very cool!) into peanut oil. He played the show pony for photos, let us pat him and gave Vince and I a rasping lick each with his tongue….he even took Aad (Art) for a ride on the mill wheel!
It wasn’t long before we were back on the road and headed for Mt Popa. This is an extinct volcano 1518 metres above sea level, and located in central Burma about 50 km southeast of Bagan in the Pegu Range. At the top is the Monestary known as Taung Kalat with its shrines dedicated to spirits known as “Nats”. We climbed up the 777 (actually 914 counted by Mike) steps to the shrine at the top of the volcanic plug……it was so not worth the climb and having to complete most of it in bare feet (shoes not allowed) surrounded by monkey poo everywhere from the thousands of monkeys who guard the temple, was really not much fun!
It was a pleasant drive through agricultural land towards our destination of Magway, around 170km in total.
We arrived at the Nan Htike Thu Hotel around 4.30pm and after freshening up and having a bit of a relax watching “What Women Want” (the only English program on TV)….we went for a walk with Aad (Art) and Mike, around 6.30pm to find a waterside restaurant and enjoy the lovely colours of the Myanmar sunset. Unfortunately, the food was pretty inedible ….maybe the worst we have had in Myanmar so far….so we basically only ate steamed rice! We were again tired so we’re in bed by 9.00pm……you just can’t hold these Aussies back!!!!