We had a very basic breakfast at 6.00am ….one single egg on bread (you couldn’t really call it toast) with only coffee (no tea) which I don’t drink.
At around 7.00am we had a walk to the local “Truck Bus” Station….it was basically a tipper truck fitted out with 7 rows of narrow benches, 5 or 6 people per row. It cost 5000 Kyet each return. The driver was like a madman ascending the 15km track up the mountain and it was sometimes more like a roller coaster ride. It made me feel a bit woozy in the stomach and I was glad to see the end of it….Vince loved it…in fact it was the highlight for him.
At the top of Mount Kkyaiktiyo there were people with bamboo carry chairs who offered to carry us the rest of the way (for a fee of course)….Vince and I decided we must look really old and decrepit, as several times we were offered a ride…. but refused.
At a certain point we had to remove our shoes….and whilst I have no wish to be disrespectful….I am getting sick of having to walk along dirty areas in my bare feet….not hygienic to say the least….and my injured toe (from the Inle Lake Sinking Incident) just starts to heal up and when I have to walk around without shoes it flares up and pains me again! We passed by where the Foreigners have to pay and get a pass….6000 Kyet each….it sounds a lot but is really only about US$6
The Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is a well-known Buddhist pilgrimage site in Mon State, Myanmar (Burma). It is a small pagoda built on the top of a granite boulder which is covered with 24ct gold leaf pasted on by devotees. The “Golden Rock” itself was pretty impressive… some say just a glimpse is enough of an inspiration for any person to become Buddhist….hmmmm…no change yet! I really liked the bells pilgrims attach to the fences around it….it reminded me of the locks on the bridges in Paris, France. I am unable to read Burmese so I don’t know what the inscriptions said….I am assuming prayers or mantras of some kind. There were also little alcoves with candles being lit….very beautiful and tranquil. Women are not allowed in certain areas….only men….this has been a recurrent theme at several of the Pagodas we have visited in Myanmar…..where men are the only ones who can get close to things and apply the gold leaf….not sure why? According to legend, the Golden Rock is precariously perched on a strand of Buddha’s hair, and it does appear to defy gravity by not rolling down the mountain. It is the third most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in Myanmar (Burma) after the Shwedagon Pagoda (Golden Pagoda) in Yangon and the Maharani Buddha Pagoda south west of Mandalay.
On the walk back down to where we needed to catch the Truck Bus we passed many interesting stalls….one of which was selling some kind of apothecary medications……there was a bowl out front with a brown disgusting looking liquid and at the top all sorts of animal parts….including a foreleg and hoof of what I think was a goat or deer, a hedgehog of sorts, a heart shaped headed snake, centipedes and bugs of all shapes, colours and sizes….along with roots of plants….I would not be game to drink it!
After and equally hair raising descent in the Truck Bus we were soon back to our hotel and changing into our riding gear. A quick stop at the little place where we had dinner last night, but for lunch this time….again delicious…..and we were ready to tackle the 142Km ride to Mawlamyine. We arrived at the Attran Hotel around 3.45pm, an hour ahead of the 4×4’s. We were shown to our river view bungalow…that the staff told us had twin beds….but it fact I got a nice surprise….a double bed for a change…..to my mind there is something wrong with being on your honeymoon and sleeping in single beds! Anyway, not tonight Josephine……we can snuggle up together in one bed for a change. The bungalow was just gorgeous….we even had a lounge room….huge bedroom and a magnificent bathroom…..I never wanted to leave!
After doing some washing….we are just so sweaty in this tropical heat…….we went to the decking of the outdoor restaurant where we sat and had a drink and some food and watched the magnificent sunset. I didn’t have my glasses with me so when I ordered what I though was a glass of red wine at 1500 Kyet…..I was surprised to be given a bottle of french merlot, and a bill of 15,000 Kyet….luckily my husband loves me…..and in reality its only around US15…..not a big deal! Aad (Art) and Mike joined us for dinner and we had an early night….we had been hoping to watch the Moto GP on the Sky Channel tonight ….but this hotel doesn’t have it! Bugger!