Sean Penn, Cambodia is Wonderful

If you don’t get the title – go watch The Amazing Race…

Today was a little bit of a lazy day, but we did see a lot!

We ended up getting up late and left the hotel around noon. We went for lunch at a local cafe and then set off for the day. We first went to the Cambodian National Museum and saw lots of artifacts from the Pre-Angkorian era. It was interesting to see the amount of Hindu statues there. Although, there were also lots of Buddha statues there too! Katelyn battled a bit of dehydration while we were there, but with some rehydration salts she was all good in a short amount of time.

We finished off the museum and headed to the Royal Palace. On the way it started to rain, but we pulled out our Rain Jackets and were invincible (much to the chagrin of the other tourists). To me, it was incredibly surprising to see such opulence and grandeur in such a poor nation. The architecture was very beautiful, and to me felt a little more on the human scale when compared to the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

On the grounds of the Royal Palace was the Silver Pagoda, which seemed to be a cheap knock off of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok. But, we are in Cambodia so. I mean it is kind of expected (I can get you Bvberry and Channel Purses 5 minutes from my hotel).

After we were done at the Palace we set off for Wat Phnom – the name sake of the city. We didn’t stay too long as we were pretty templed out, and my coffee hadn’t kicked in yet. We tried to see the Old Market but it was closed, so we set off for the Foreign Correspondents Club – a Phnom Penh staple.

We originally planned to only stay for drinks ( I had the FCC Tranfusion..amazing!) but both got very hungry so ordered food. While a little bit on the pricey side the food was good and the ambiance was better. Set on the second story of an old colonial building, the view over the Ton Le Sap and Mekong rivers was beautiful. My highlight though was when the older lady working the bar came over with a free drink and said “here. for you. happy hour”. I really couldn’t say no to that.

It was getting dark when we finished dinner, so we booked it back to the hotel as it was eerily quiet on the street near our hotel.

We made it back alive. But now its off to mentally prepare myself for the Tuol Sleng Museum and Killing Fields tomorrow.

Sunrise at Angkor

I apologize for the lack of originality in the title of this post, but the fact that I was up to see sunrise at Angkor is a feat in and of itself.

We were up this morning at 4 am – which is when I normally go to bed, quickly grabbed breakfast and met our Tuk Tuk driver at 4:45 and were off to Angkor Wat for sunrise. We got there before the Chinese tour groups and were able to get a spot at the ponds before the crowds piled in.

The sun didn’t rise until 5:45, but the best part of the sunrise was as the clouds in the sky. The light scattering off the clouds was mesmerizing. But alas, any zen thoughts I had were interrupted by the hundreds of tourists there.

As soon as the sun was up (and the hawkers were out), we were back in the Tuk Tuk and off to Banteay Srei. This temple is about 40km away from the main Archaeological park and it took us about an hour to get there by Tuk Tuk. Plenty of time to ponder my life (and listen to Lana Del Rey).

We managed to get to Banteay Srei before the masses did. It was amazing to see how the Sandstone has withstood the test of time – this temple predates Angkor and the carvings there were pretty amazing. We climbed into the Tuk Tuk, waited for our driver to finish his breakfast and then we were off to Beng Melea.

It took us about an hour to get to Beng Melea and by the time we got there it was getting steamy outside. This was one of my favourite temples as it wasn’t as conserved as the others and the piles of rocks, and the trees that had grown around them were stunning. This one also had lots of lush greenery around to make it magical. Alas, our incredible time was interrupted on more than one occasion by the multiple asians taking selfies. It was tough to navigate the steps and the ever present selfie sticks but we got on like pros. The signs around the boardwalk weren’t clearly marked and on the way out we got sketched out as we had to climb down a set of stairs into a dark hallway. As soon as we got to the top a local started following us and we quickly bailed on that idea. We decided to head to a viewpoint that overlooked the main gate of the temple and then tried again – with success (and no sketchy guys following us).

We found our way back to the main path, and ran into about 7 buses full of tour groups. Perfect timing. We waited for our driver (who was exploring the temple) and then were off to the Roluos Group of temples – the oldest ones in the area.

By this time, we were both pretty exhausted and listened to our music for the hour ride. It was a great time to get lots of thinking done – but I definitely confused myself about what I want to do after I graduate.

We got to the first temple of the group – Preah Ko and walked around it. Although, there wasn’t much there to see. I ended up having to go into the jungle around it to water the plants – which was a little unnerving because we had seen a sign and Beng Melea advertising the amount of land mines they had removed from the area.

We climbed back in the Tuk Tuk (both still alive) and were off to Bakong. It was really neat to explore this temple as it dates from the 9th century. It was definitely a great way to end the day.

We came back to the hotel to go for lunch – I had amok curry and it was amazing. We then took the longest nap ever and slept through dinner. I was a little peckish so I headed off to a corner store to get some snacks for the bus tomorrow and to nosh on tonight. I miraculously found Nature Valley Granola Bars and Protein Bars. There is some sort of higher being.

I’m off to back my bag. Hopefully its easier with the bigger bag I bought (thanks for having a North Face outlet Siem Reap!) – but I doubt it.

Splurging in Siem Reap

Well, today was a wonderful day. It cost me a little more than I was expecting but it was well worth it.

We got up a little later as we were going to hire bikes, but bailed on that as Katelyn wasn’t feeling so hot. We hired a Tuk Tuk to take us to Angkor Wat to climb to the top and then on the “Grand Circuit” as it is called here. Interestingly, this one was cheaper than the one yesterday but it was for longer distance. The things that make you go hmm.

Katelyn still wasn’t feeling 100% and I didn’t want her to feel worse so I climbed the Angkor Wat summit myself. All in all, it was so cool to be that close to the spires but I don’t think that the view was anything to write home about.

We were back in the Tuk Tuk and off to Preah Khan in no time. This one was very similar to Ta Prom. But, I liked it better as there was much more visitor information. It was also the only spot I’ve seen cylindrical support columns in the entire Angkor Archaeological Park.

We ate lunch, and I had Amok with Chicken. Basically Thai green curry but the Cambodian version. It was still wonderful, and much needed after the morning we had!

After lunch we headed to Neak Peah, or the Royal Baths. Well, we were told they were baths. It was just a spire in a green field, still pretty cool though. We then went to East Mabon, which we climbed. This one was similar in style to Angkor, although on a much smaller scale. After that we hit up Pre Rap, another temple similar to East Mabon and Angkor but this one was better preserved than East Mabon. It also featured a little more visiual interest in terms of ruins at the base (lots of little buildings that we couldn’t guess what they were).

We decided we wanted to hike up Phnom Bakeng (with all the chinese tour groups). The hike through the jungle was great, but the restoration efforts at the top kind of hampered the view. It was still pretty cool to see how big Angkor is from a distance!

After no time at all we were back in town for dinner (Lok Lak for me!) and cheap beer ($1 for 1L, yes please). We wanted ice cream after so found a neat spot called the Blue Pumpkin and I had 3 scoops – Cinnamon/Speculoos, Jackfruit and Khmer Fruits. All were quite great.

I was feeling a little tired but we stumbled upon a really nice spa near our hotel and I decided I needed a massage. While a bit of a splurge it was cheap compared to home and definitely worth it! My shoulders have been acting up because of my backpack so it was definitely needed!

After meeting the little Cambodian lady who would be my masseuse, she took me upstairs through the massive spa! She pointed to a couch and told me to sit down.. I was a little confused but complied. Out of nowhere a bowl filled with lemongrass, limes, water and mangoes appeared. She put my feet in then proceeded to massage and scrub them with salt (side note: any future mate/suitor will be required to do this once a week).

She then led me to the massage room, I got changed and we were off to the races. It got a little awkward as I didn’t take off my shorts (#protectingmycash) so she, without warning, proceeded to move my shorts halfway down my butt and start massaging. A little warning would have been nice but I’m over it.

90 minutes later I was done and feeling tired. Which is good as we’re getting up at 4am to watch the sunrise at Angkor tomorrow. Pray for us.

Angkor Wet

Well, it was a went one today. It alternated between absolutely pissing rain and being so humid that I was dripping with sweat (which is an achievement for me).

We got up this morning and went for breakfast along pub street. I had an espresso (a tad out of character, but so good) and some banana pancakes and soon we were off for the day! Our Tuk Tuk driver met us at our hostel and took us right to Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat is probably the coolest place I’ve ever been. While the history is astounding the thing that I find most incredulous is how the Khmer people were able to create such an structure with the tools we know they had. The carvings were also incredibly detailed and amazing to see. We were unable to head to the top of Angkor as it was “Buddha Day’ and thus were resigned to save it for tomorrow.

We were back on the Tuk Tuk and headed off to Angkor Thom. We went through the South Gate of Angkor thom, and I think I found my long lost brothers among the statues along the bridge. Our driver dropped us off at Bayon, and we set off to explore the compound! I found Bayon a little cooler than Angkor Wat as we were able to wander off and explore areas free of tourists. But, as soon as we got to the top we found them all.

I spotted a really cool picture spot and stopped to take a few pictures of Katelyn. I accidentally walked into another family’s photo and in the process of apologizing told them about the spot. Katelyn and I offered to take a family photo, and we found out that they were from London, ON! What’s even cooler is that one of them taught at Western. It really is a small world (especially when you’re a mustang).

After Bayon we went to Baphuon, and in the process it started to pour. My packable rain jacket was such a solid investment, especially for today. We got to Baphuon and explored it for a bit. We were able to climb to the second level and in the process had to take refuge from the rain, again.

After exploring the temple, we were forced to exit a different way than we came in and had to walk through the jungle. It was really neat to stumble upon some other temples in the jungle. These were hardly visited by tourists and were so neat to see contrasted with the rich green of the jungle.

We found our Tuk Tuk driver and headed off to eat lunch near Ta Phrom. Our tuk tuk driver took us to a restaurant he knew, and I had incredible Lok Lak (marinated beef with a fried egg and rice). It managed to POUR rain again, while we were eating and we were forced to change tables due to the fact that it was coming down sideways.

After lunch we headed back to the famous Ta Phrom. It was featured in a Lara Croft movie… but, don’t ask me which one because I don’t know. We explored, took the obligatory tourist photos at the Lara Croft door and then again were forced to take shelter from the rain. Just before it started to rain, I offered to take a picture for a small group of tourists. Turns out they were from Sweden and we had a lovely chat while waiting out the worst of the rain!

Katelyn and I were exhausted so we decided to head back into town to rest and grab some snacks. We found an awesome café and our waitress was an Expat aussie – a welcome change! They also had a rhubarb tart that was on par with my mom’s.  We got some postcards and then headed back to the hotel to rest and write our postcards.

We booked some flights for Lao and Vietnam tonight, as we are pressed for time for the rest of the trip! I would love to take the bus more often but we don’t have the time for multiple 24hr bus rides (also no gracias).

Ok, I’m off to contemplate buying wasabi Face wash. Yes, thats a thing. Yes, I will bring some back if you want.

NOTE: If you’re reading this and would like me to bring you back something. Send me a message and I will attempt to fit it into my bag (among the entire market I bought yesterday).

Markets and I don’t mix.

Well, that is if you wan’t me to buy everything. I kind of got a little excited tonight and bought 6 pairs of pants, 4 scarves and 2 tanks. I think I spent maybe $30. You go Cambodia.

We had a longish day, but man was it worth it. We got up at about 8:30 and met our new friends Sophie and Phillipe to head to the Cambodian border. We stopped to get some new passport photos as Sophie had forgotten hers and mine were too large. We were then off to the border.

I found it really cool as we were able to cross the border on foot! We went through an arch in the shape of Angkor Wat and got our visas on the Cambodian side. In no time, we were off through passport control and on our way to Siem Reap.

We got into Siem Reap about 1pm and checked into our hostel. We went out for lunch after and walked around town. I ended up finding a wicked deal on a North Face backpack as they sell last season’s stuff here (makes sense as its made here)! We wandered through the markets in town and then Katelyn found somewhere to get a SIM Card. I’m horrible with losing things (RIP $10 bill) and don’t want to risk losing my SIM card to do that. As soon as she was done we popped into a store and before we knew it we were caught in a monsoon.

We waited it out in the store until it let up (or so we though) and grabbed a Tuk Tuk to get our Angkor Passes. We underestimated the amount of water in the streets and soon found ourselves ankle deep in rainwater (#RipBirks). We slowly made our way through the rain to the Angkor Ticket office.   If you buy it after 5pm it doesn’t count for that day and you can use it on the next day!

We had sent our Tuk Tuk that took us to Angkor back as we had to wait for our passes. So, we grabbed another one and arranged a tour for tomorrow. We’re going to bike the 2 days after that but wanted to know the history of the place. We were soon exploring the ruins of Angkor Wat with very tourists around. It was surreal to be in a place that I’ve only dreamt of being. I can’t wait to explore the rest of it!

We headed back to the hotel to get arranged for dinner. We were soon off to Pub Street and then the night market for dinner and some shopping! I ended up having some local crocodile for dinner (as it was cheapest out of the proteins) and it wasn’t bad! The cheap beer helped wash it down well.

Before we knew it we found ourselves haggling with the ladies of the night market. No, they are not prostitutes. They are ladies that work in the night market. Get your mind out of the gutter. We learned their ways and were soon beating them at their own game (as evidenced by my spoils of war). My favourite item I bought has to be a Tank Top that says “No Money No Honey” on it. I wanted to get a few other ones but alas they did not fit giants like me.

Alrighty, I’m off to watch some TV. I’m going through Friends withdrawl.

Travel Blues.

I don’t normally get the travel blues which is why this is so weird/unnerving to me. Yes, I know I missed a post yesterday but this will cover it. It wasn’t that exciting of a day anyway.

Yesterday was a mammoth travel day – we flew from Heho to Yangon then waited at the Yangon airport for our flight to Bangkok. We ended up having singaporean food for lunch, but neither of us were too concerned about that as we were both starving.

Our flight was about 45 minutes late leaving Yangon for Bangkok and we got in a little later than we were expected. We made it safe to the Hostel in Bangkok which was a pretty incredible place – I’m super upset that I was so wiped because it looked like a great place to meet people.

We woke up this morning with every intention of taking the sleeper train to Chiang Mai. But, when we went to book it at the train station it was booked solid for the next few days. Instead of waiting in Bangkok we decided it would be fine to do the loop in reverse.

The plan was for us to be in Siem Reap, Cambodia tonight but that isn’t exactly how it worked out. Our train was 1.5 hours late getting into the Attarnyaphet (the border town on the Thai side) so we decided to find a place to sleep for the night then cross the border tomorrow as we are both exhausted. We met a lovely french couple on the train who have the same plans as us, and we decided to stay at the same hotel so we could share a cab to Siem Reap tomorrow to save money.

Now, it might be because I’m tired. It could be because we’re not doing anything. But I really don’t know. The last 2 days I’ve been super “blue” – I don’t want to say I’m homesick because I’m not. I’m just upset and I have no idea why. I really don’t have any reason to be upset either. I’m on the trip of a lifetime and am eternally grateful to Katelyn for letting me crash her trip. I have no idea what this is but I hope I can shake it soon.

Again, I apologize for not blogging yesterday. I don’t even know why I’m apologizing to you. I should be apologizing to myself for not blogging everyday. But, I’m over it.

Who knew there was a Nepali Restaurant in Myanmar?

Oof. Today was exhausting.

We got up, ate breakfast at the hotel and then were off to the bike rental shop! We scored bikes for $1 for the entire day and were soon off towards the hot springs.
After some navigational issues we were off on our way. It was a tough slug and we were both pretty exhausted by the time we got to the hot springs. We were both expecting the hot springs to be natural but they were 5 small hot tub like things. Not worth the 10$ to us.
Katelyn had read online that we could rent kayaks so that was our next mission. We stopped in a small town but no one knew what we were talking about so we bailed on that idea. We biked a little more and stumbled upon a nice resort. We stopped there as we figured that we could rent something there, or they would at least know where to go. The wonderful lady behind the desk told us she could arrange for us to get a canoe. We were both stoked and two of the hotel staff showed us the way to the jetty.
Our ride showed up and it turns out that our canoe was actually a small fishermans boat which we didn’t have to drive. We were both thankful for that as we were both quite knackered after the biking. Our driver took us around some floating gardens for about an hour. It was quite peaceful and serene – until we got stuck beside a longneck boat full of Spanish tourists. Their boat was a little too big for the canal and we got wedged beside them. But, all was good after.
We made it back to the dock no worse for wear and were back on our way to Nyaung Shwe.  After about an hour of biking we made it back into town and went to a Nepali place for lunch. I had Dahl baht and it reminded me so much of the amazing time I had in Nepal.
We dropped our bikes off napped for a bit and packed our bags. We went off to a late dinner and I had another banana pancake – which I really need to learn how to make.
Back to bed.
NOTE: I WROTE THIS ON THE 11th SO IT COUNTS AS A BLOG EVERYDAY. HA.

No means yes, Yes means Yes, and “Thanks anyway” is confusing

I have to say, its better than being asked if we’re married. It seems that most people here don’t understand that platonic friends can travel together. I guess this one is a pretty large cultural difference.

We had an earlier start than normal today as we wanted to get out on the lake – which is really why we’re here. We ate breakfast and then headed down to the boat jetty to hire a boat for the day. I think the two of us are getting pretty skilled at this whole bartering thing as we knocked the $30 price tag down to $20 – which is an entire night somewhere. Not bad for a 6 hour day trip.

Our first stop was a market directly across the lake from Nyaung Shwe. It took us an hour and a half to get there. It was a little rainy on the way but the contrast between the lush green mountains and the grey clouds was beautiful. Especially when it was occasionally interrupted by a gold pagoda.

We got to the market and passed through it on our way to another pagoda. We didn’t go inside this one but the view back to the lake was beautiful. On our way back to the boat and stopped to get a few things. I got a bracelet for my sister, and Katelyn ended up buying a bracelet that she really didn’t want to (note: don’t try things on and then say no, also there were tears). We navigated the mud back to the boat and were soon on our way to the next stop.

After the market we headed to a silk weaving shop. We got to see how they make lotus fibres into string to weave with, and we also saw how they weave traditional silk scarves. The scarves were gorgeous, and of course the one that I wanted to buy (but didn’t) was $330. Who knew a plain black scarf could cost so much. Yes, lotus is expensive but that is a little crazy.

Our next stop was another shop where they made boats (like the one we were on) and cheroot cigars. We learned that the longneck boats take one month to make, cost $2500 to buy and will last for ~20 years. Add that to the fact that they are completely made out of teak and that makes it a bargain. If you need that kind of stuff. We also saw some fishing boats being made. I have no idea how they guys sit in them as they are incredibly shallow.  After the boats we watched some ladies making cigars from Cheroot (a local plant) and then we were off!

Our driver and guide both asked us if we wanted to go to another pagoda but we both said no. 15 minutes later we showed up at that pagoda. I guess no means yes here. Oh well, it was quite interesting. This is another pagoda where men add gold leaf to statues of Buddha – albeit not as big as the one in Mandalay. Over time the buddhas have turned into giant gold blobs on a table. Fun. Some lady walked over to me and handed me a bag of stuff that looked like food, I thought it was free and she came after me and wanted me to pay her.  I handed it back and said thanks anyway and she walked away confused. A few seconds later I heard some ladies giggling and chatting in burmese about “OK thanks”.

We piled back onto the boat and headed to a silver workshop. It was really neat to see how they hand make lots of jewelry using really old tools. Katelyn bought a few things because she got a “special price just for her”, but I didn’t (mom, if you’re reading this you are the most confusing person to buy for and I don’t know what to get you).

Soon, we were back on our boat heading to see some long necked women. This is one of the local cultures around here and while it was interesting to see it made the two of us feel a little uncomfortable as there were only a few women sitting in the middle of a gift shop.

We were on our way to our final stop shortly thereafter – the jumping cat monastery. There were lots of cats but none jumped. A+ advertising. We took a look around, saw some cute kittens and then made a pit stop. As I was waiting for Katelyn our boat driver walked over to me and we started chatting about life,etc. He asked me if Katelyn and I were married, I said now, and then he said “friends” and banged his hands together. Again I said no, and he was confused. But then told me I should wait until I’m at least 30 to get married.

We were soon back on our way to Nyaung Shwe, but we took a little detour through some floating gardens. They were beautiful and it was neat to see some traditional houses on stilts.

After a long boat ride we were back in town and starving. We ate at a local place and I had the best beef and potato curry ever. I don’t think I’m going to get used to being home where I can’t get a main+ tonnes of sides+ 2 drinks for $4. Step up your game Canada.

We headed back to the hotel and have proceeded to abuse the wifi for the last 2 hours. Sorry guys.

Does it Count as a Museum if there is nothing in it?

Wow, no witty title today. I must be tired.

We got up early this morning and flew from Mandalay to Heho. Little did we know that Heho was 1.5 hours from Inle Lake. It was a beautiful drive and it reminded me a lot of the drive between Bharatpur and Kathmandu in Nepal. Although, I was snapped out of my reverie quite a few times because the signal lights in our cab sounded like a bike bell that had been stuck on Children’s TV for 10 years. It was that bad.

We arrived in Nyaung Shwe (the city where most of the hotels in Inle are) and got all settled at the hotel. We relaxed for a bit and did laundry before heading out for lunch. We had an ok lunch (nothing special) and then headed off to the Shan State Cultural Museum. The museum had hardly anything in it, but the stuff they did have was pretty cool and taught us a lot about the history of the region. The museum takes up two floors in the State governor’s palace but there was NOTHING on the second floor. It was eerie to walk around the bottom floor of the museum and see nothing and no one.

After we were done there we explored town a little, visited ANOTHER pagoda and found the boat jetty for hiring a boat tomorrow. We went to a market in town, but then realized we had done pretty much everything in town and headed back to the hotel.

We were still full from lunch and rested for a bit, checked the laundry and then headed back out to dinner. We ate an excellent dinner (ft. an amazing banana pancake) at the Lotus Restaurant. By the time we finished, it was pitch black outside so we headed back to the hotel. I’ve been downloading lots of podcasts for our trip (if you haven’t checked out Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids, its wonderful) and Katelyn and I started listening to serial as something to pass the time.

Ok, I super need to shower. You can probably smell me from here.

A Real Gentleman Will Never Tell You What He Wears Under His Longyi

Today was a bit of a quieter day, which was a nice way to end our time here in Mandalay. I think its due to the fact that I was feeling a little nauseous AND we pretty much ran out of things to do here in Mandalay.

We got a little bit of a late start to the day as the weather forecast (and my stomach) put a bit of a damper on things. I rallied about noon and we grabbed a cab to take us to Maha Muni temple (yes, another Buddha statue) and the U Bein bridge (we were originally supposed to go later in the day, but alas the weather forecast didn’t like that).

We hired a driver to take us to those two places, but he was amazing and ended up showing us a few other places along the way. We headed to Maha Muni temple first as it was closest to the hotel. It is the second holiest site in the country after Shwedagon in Yangon. What I found to be fascinating at this particular temple is that the men (sorry ladies you aren’t allowed) will walk up to the statue and put gold leaf on it. It looks like this has been a tradition for some time as the statue of Buddha is now sort of an amorphous blob – with a VERY shiny face (it is the only part of the statue that is polished, which happens every morning at 4am by a team of special monks). It was interesting too as I didn’t wear pants to most of the temples in Bagan and no one said boo – but here I was forced to put a Longyi (think a longer, less cool kilt) on. We did the obligatory tour of the temple and then on our way out stopped to buy a few prayer flags. These will definitely be an amazing addition to the ones I have from Nepal!

On the way to the U Bein Bridge (our next stop), I asked our driver where to get a Longyi. I have no intention of wearing it at home – but the fabrics are amazing and would make a nice blanket at home. Grandma, if you’re reading this – please help me. Our driver ended up taking us to this place called Shwe Sin Tai where we could see the process it takes to make these textiles. I splurged a little and got 2 longyis and Katelyn got a skirt. It was really neat to see how they handmade these garments using an old fashioned loom, which definitely played a part in my overzealous spending (if you can call $30 overzealous).

From there, we headed to the U Bein bridge which is supposedly the longest and oldest teak bridge in the world. It spans about 1.2 km and Katelyn and I walked the entire thing. It wasn’t like anything we have at home as there were small gaps between the planks and the thing definitely wasn’t level! After walking across and back, we had enough walking and headed back to the car. On the way, we were handed free energy drinks as there was a street team giving them out. As soon as I started drinking, a few of the people working the tent pulled out their phones and started snapping pictures of me drinking the energy drink (which didnt work at all). I guess I can expect my modelling fee in the mail anytime now.

Before we headed back to the hotel we stopped in the Gold Pounders district to see how gold leaf was made. This was definitely the highlight of the day for me as I found it incredible to see these hand made. They start out with a larger piece of gold which is cut into six pieces then hammered for a 30 minutes to increase the size. They then readjust the leaves and then are pounded for 5 hours. The pieces are then packed onto straw paper and sold. The rhythmic pounding of the Gold Pounders was almost hypnotic and I zoned out for a few minutes listening to it! There were some amazing works of art that the staff there had made, but alas backpacks are not conducive to carrying things like that around!

We made it back to the hotel and napped for a bit before going to the Sky Cafe at our hotel for dinner. It was incredible to see how flat the city is and even though it was very overcast we could see for a long distance. We both ate the “Myanmar Housewife” set menu which consisted of Green Tomato Salad, Lentil Soup, A traditional Chicken Curry and Fresh Fruit for dessert! It was a great way to cap off our stay in Mandalay.

Alright back to attempting to pack my backpack. No gracias.