Our first stop was at a Shan paper making shop on our way to our hotel. They first pounded the paste from the tree bark for many hours until softened. Then they poured it over a sift and lowered it to water and added flower petals. Once softened and raised, it had to dry for 3 days. Out came a thin sheet of raw paper with flowers embedded. very pretty. the paper was used in books, cards, bookmarks, lamp shades and parasols. I had my eyes on the parasols the minute I've walked into the shop. Bought a small green one. They were great for lamp shades. exquisitely beautiful.
inle - the mornings and evenings were cold and the mid days were extremely hot. So it was layers time. The rooms at the hotel were very small but with adequate amenities. The bathrooms were all wet rooms so when you shower, the entire room was wet. We stayed in the Nyaung shwe town so we had to boat to Inle lake every morning and return in the late afternoon. the long boats sat 4 people plus the driver at the back. The diesel engine was very loud and one could not but wondered what the fumes would do to the environment. but it's their way to make a living. Every morning we started at a channel and then out on the lake, we began to see fishermen fishing, standing on the stern on one leg with the other leg wrapped around the oar of their boat. some tourist boats literally stopped in front of the fishing boats to photograph the fishermen. many long boats with tourists shared the lake with the local fishermen. inle lake was very long but not too wide, with mountains and hills surrounding it. houses on stilts, some with floating gardens, tourist hotels, stupas and pagodas lined both banks. I've really enjoyed the boat rides. although they were loud, cold and windy, sitting on them, you were only inches from the water which was quite clear in the middle of the lake, and the views were simply spectacular. the In Dein pagoda complex, the hill with a thousand stupas, reminded me of the bayon in siem reap, except here were the stupas and in cambodia, it was the faces. But i quite enjoyed them. It's still early in the trip and I wasnt totally stupa out yet. Life on the lake was mesmerizing. while touristy on the lake, cruising the channels offered a bit of inside view of how real life was on the lake. poor houses on stilts, wooden plank bridges, small motor boats. weaving and cheroot making were their main industries and we visited both. I've tried a tamarind flavor cheroot. quite strong but didnt like it much. Inle was the only place that the lotus fibers were woven into scarves and shawls so I had to buy some scarves. We've also visited a silversmith shop to see how they make silver jewelry. i bought a necklace with a very unusual design. On the second day, I had a massage at aqua lilies, 2 blocks from our hotel, for only 17000 kyats, about 12USD. they even washed my feet in warm ginger water. the curry and noodle dinners at the lotus restaurant were most satisfying. they only cost 7000 kyats, about 5USD, including the papaya or lime juice. evening walks back to the hotel were illuminated by our own torches. my hitech one flashed green. I've quite enjoyed inle lake. possibly the best part of the trip.
Inle Lake photos:
In Dein, hill with a thousand stupas photos: