Getting mistaken for a Belgian is Fun and Exciting

Today was another long and exhausting day. Even though we’ve been doing typical Bagan Days (as the bloggers call them) – where we go out to explore the temples from 10 am – 2pm, head back to the hotel to about 4-4:30 then hit the temples again until sunset.

This morning was no exception. We got our e-bikes again this morning after breakfast and hit the trails again. First stop was Shwezigon Pagoda, another one of the larger temples in the area. As soon as we got there we were met by locals who followed us around. Katelyn and I immediately ducked off to avoid them – and carried our shoes with us (we just didn’t trust this lady). After we finished up there, we decided to head for the outlying pagodas as we felt that there would be fewer people there.

I left Katelyn in charge of the map as she knew where we were headed. We found the trail we needed with no problems. About half way down the trail, it turned into sand and man did we have fun trying to navigate that. We ended up having to push the e-bikes the rest of the way. I really underestimated how heavy they were – my arms are still sore (but that may be due to the fact that I haven’t been to the gym in a while… like 2 whole weeks). We got halfway to the viewing tower (which was about halfway to the temples we wanted to go to) before giving up. We ended up running into a bunch of swiss tourists – as we both bonded about how bad the “Trail” was. We got talking as we were biking, and one of the guys thought I was Belgian – which is new and fun. It made me super happy though – my French was pretty rusty and I though I sounded like Mr. Bean trying to speak French.

We found our way back out to the main road and decided we would head to Old Bagan and then explore the temples around there. We found one that seemed to be drawing a small crowd and decided to explore it. This was a great idea as we found a hidden staircase and were rewarded with an incredible view.  It was great to see the layout of the plain, and were able to pick out a spot for sunset.

We set off again and explored some more temples around Old Bagan (and also found an ATM because being broke was not a fun time). We ended up finding a temple down by the Ayerawaddy River. We later found out that the temple dated to the 3rd Century. Even though it was nice to see the water the stench coming off of it later changed our minds. As we were heading out to the main road we passed the Nuclear Catastrophe Overcome Pagoda (No, I didn’t change the name for comic effect), which happened to be closed (potentially due to a Nuclear Disaster). After that we went to the Gan Daw Palin Temple, which wasn’t built as a shrine to Sarah Palin (Ironic, with that name. I know).

It was getting hot out so we decided to get some shade and head to the Bagan Archeological Museum. It was amazing to learn about the history of the area and see some artifacts that had been found in the area. It was astounding to me to see the paintings from the 12th century that had been found. I found it incredibly interesting that they were able to generate such accurate pictures of Buddha in that time period. The thing that I found the most interesting is that the depictions of Buddha were more human-like than the blobs supposedly called “Jesus” by Christian artists from the 14th century.

We were both starving and decided to head back to the Starbeam café as we were both in dire need of some protein. We had an excellent lunch and within 5 minutes of being back at the hotel for our afternoon break I was out like a light. Our asses really needed the break – I don’t think mine has ever been this sore. Ever.

After the break, we headed back out to catch one last sunset. On the way we thought we would stop and see the largest temple in Bagan – only to find out that we had already been there yesterday. A+ for us. We decided to scope out a location for sunset, even though we had already decided upon one.

On the way to the temple in our minds eye, we stumbled upon another one that we thought might have an excellent view of the sunset. We went in to scope out a staircase, only to be met by hundreds of bats. Not our cup of tea. We walked out quickly and decided to walk around to see if there was anything else that we were missing. We went in the back entrance and looked to see if there were any bats. We didn’t see any so we tiptoed in. Instantly one swooped down at us and we booked it out.

We ran to our bikes and left very quickly. Almost as quickly as Mike Duffy after his trial. We found the path to the temple we had originally planned to go to, and as soon as we got on the path I wiped out. As soon as I had cleaned myself off and we were good to go, a Burmese guy appeared out of nowhere and “cleaned” my shorts off. We accelerated out of there, and he yelled at us. I thought I dropped/broke something which it turns out I didn’t. He just wanted some money for doing nothing. Ok.

We found the temple (nameless) and climbed up. We thought we were in for breathtaking sunset, only to have some clouds block our view. Oh well. It is what it is.

Alrighty, back to attempting to clean up the explosion that is my backpack.

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