Part II – Inle
I’ll admit I’m not much good at planning ahead. I arrived in Burma with little idea what I was going to do with my first few days. I’d bought a ticket to come five days before Brandon in hopes of doing some exploring on the early side of the trip. Eden and Chhara welcomed me with open arms, and let me hang around their house for the first few days, even though we first met upon my arrival. Chhara took me to the Shwedagon Pagoda one day at sunset, then on a tour of the city by bus and taxi. Another night Ennie and John took me out to eat a traditional Burmese meal. During the days I mostly wandered around the city trying to meet people and communicate as much as I could, which was very little. My emotions were back and forth between excitement and loneliness most of the time. Things were new and unfamiliar, and I took in everything I saw and heard. It’s a strange feeling that we don’t experience when we are surrounded by what is familiar.
On the third morning Chhara helped me to find a bus ticket agent, and arranged for me to get on a overnight bus that evening. I’d decided that morning to go up to Inle Lake in Nyangshwe. I didn’t think enough beforehand to consider that in order to be back the following evening, the two bus trips would last longer than the time spent in Nyangshwe. I went anyway. Chhara and John drove me to the bus stop, and we all sang along with Bruno Mars on the radio on the way over. At the bus stop I met native English speakers for the first time in days. The feeling was incredible. Like home. Two girls from England and a German couple were now part of my wandering. Or I was part of theirs. One of the girls, Carly, was working with the Timber elephants and brought her friend Emily along for some traveling. We stuck together for the length of my one day in Nyangshwe, where we visited a farmers market and took a sunset boat out on the beautiful lake. I rented a bike with a flat tire (It was patched when I rented it, but not for very long), and stayed in a hotel with mosquito nets over the beds. Well, that’s almost enough words to make up half a picture if the saying is accurate. So I’ll let the pictures do the rest.