If anyone wants to permanently never have kids, riding an e-bike in Bagan will definitely help you with that. I mean, it wasn’t going to happen anyway so like I guess it’s a win/win situation.
We left Yangon very early this morning, but we found it surprisingly easy to grab a cab at 4am. We grabbed one, and upon getting in we noticed that it looked like it was a father/son team operating it, the dad was the driver and the son was the token English speaker. About half way through the ride, I noticed the son pull out his phone and naturally I looked to see what he was doing (#snooplyfe). Turns out he opened up the phone to the porn he was looking at last time he had his browser open … #oops. We made it to the airport and entered the domestic terminal and found NO ONE. The airline said to check in 2 hours prior, so we planned to arrive at the airport for 4am. We didn’t check in and drop our bags until closer to 4:30. We dropped our bags and made our way through security, only to be patted down when we didn’t even beep through the metal detector. I guess being the first ones through security has its perks… if you can call that a perk. Katelyn and I waited by the “gate” and noticed the airport start to come to life. At about 5:15 am the advertising screens turned on, and started playing commercials that had Burmese lyrics advertising things set to semi-famous western songs (eg. Brighter than the Sun, Down by Jay Sean, etc.).
We were supposed to board at 5:30 but didn’t end up boarding until closer to 5:45. We were bussed out to the plane (I have no idea what kind) and noticed that everyone else (maybe 12 people) were part of a Korean tour group, who took selfies with a selfie stick for the first 20 mins of the flight. This plane was probably the smallest I’ve been on (maybe 13 rows, one by one) and probably the coldest. We both tried to sleep but it was too cold. Stupid me packed the blanket I nicked from the flight to Bangkok and had to suffer.
We bumpily landed in Bagan to an airport that could have been lifted from somewhere in Africa. It was VERY tiny and very old. We grabbed a cab from airport to our hotel and upon arriving Katelyn grabbed some wifi and food while I grabbed some shuteye.
About 9 AM, we rented E-bikes from the hotel and I proceeded to fall off within the first 30 seconds (my leg looks great right now). After that little bit of hilarity for Katelyn and the Burmese staff of the hotel, we were off to the Bagan plain (a 26 mi2 archeological site filled with 2000+ temples) to explore some temples. In the 3 hours that we were out, we probably explored about 10 temples, but saw MANY more. Literally everywhere you look you can see some sort of temple. Its truly incredible. Most of the paths are sandy with many rocks (hence the no kids), but that also makes it super hard to drive the e-bikes. I thought driving in snow was hard but this is worse. There’s really no way to describe the feeling in your gut as you’re driving through this place. It is truly incredible. I felt like Lara Croft in like 50 years when she’s in a power chair.
We were getting close to Old Bagan so decided to head for lunch as we were both very hungry. We ate at the “Be Kind to Animals and the Moon” Restaurant which was amazing. I had a wonderful Tamarind curry with coconut rice and came home stuffed. After lunch we grabbed some water from a vendor and headed back to the hotel to blog and nap.
We woke up a little later than planned, grabbed our E-bikes and then headed for the Bagan Plain again. We decided to tackle an area that had a higher concentration of temples. But first, we stopped at a temple that we had visited earlier to buy some beautiful sand paintings. I’m kind of a sucker for this stuff because I can’t art. Period. We climbed a few temples and the view was incredible. Everywhere you look you can see the Stupa of another temple. Pictures really don’t do it justice. After a few temples we decided to see if we could find somewhere to view the sunset. We settled on one of the larger temples (Shwe san daw), with lots of tourists. Along the way, we saw a few kids playing soccer so stopped to join them for a bit. They were way better than me, which is an accurate description of my athletic ability.
We got to the temple and were in the middle of parking our bikes when we were accosted by kids selling things. We were really keen on getting a good view of the sunset so told them “maybe later” in hopes that that would turn them away for good (hint: it did not). We climbed to the top level of the temple and found a good spot to view the sunset. Katelyn made new friends while I took selfies (an accurate description of the entire trip). I decided to do a little climbing to get an even better view – an excellent idea. The sunset was spectacular. Even though it set behind literally the only cloud in the sky, the lighting and shadows that it cast over the entire plain were incredible. After the sunset, we climbed back down to grab our shoes and bikes. The same kids found us from earlier and kept harassing us. Its so disappointing to me to see these kids be so pushy to sell things at such a young age. I guess it comes down to a necessity to survive. Katelyn bought one (the kid she talked to was much nicer but I didn’t (I hate pulling stuff out of my bag in public and the kid harassing me was a bit of a prick) and the kids around us chased after us until we left. In hindsight, I guess I should have spent the $2 on a postcard but I don’t think rewarding behaviour like that does anyone any good.
As the sun was setting we drove back to Old Bagan for dinner. We ate at the Starbeam Bistro and I had an excellent Traditional Curry from the Bagan area. It kind of reminded me of a dish my dad makes at home. This really didn’t help the funk I’m in (SURPRISE I HAVE FEELINGS), but the dinner conversation was excellent. We drove back to the hotel with only our lights on the bikes to guide us. Note to self: bring flashlight. I took it slow as I had already wiped out earlier and the prospects of ending up in a hospital here didn’t enthrall me. It was incredible to hear the sounds of all the bats in the trees and temples (also horrifying at the same time. I hate bats. Sorry stellaluna). We made it back no worse for wear and decided it would be a quiet night.
Wow. Writing this was more exhausting that I expected. BRB passing out.