CATCHING the bus from Bagan at 4am was brutal enough, so I could have done without the presence of another tourist, an Israeli called U. Considering U had been travelling for seven months or so, he got stressed very easily. He flew into a panic, and a temper, when he realised his backpack was no longer on the roof of the bus and only calmed down when the driver showed him he had put it inside, to protect it from the rain and dust. U only calmed down – he didn’t apologise or anything, which seemed bang out of order, seeing as the driver had been under no obligation to keep his pack out of the rain. Thank goodness for Karen and Ne Lin, who were also on the bus and were able to interpret between U and the driver.
It wasn’t just inside the bus that there was unpleasantness, though – there was some outside too: we passed people repairing the road and many of them were quite clearly children! I’d say some were scarcely 10 years old and yet there they were, digging trenches and carrying baskets of stones.
I know economic necessity forces millions of children around the globe into work when they should be at school or playing with their friends; that they will work on the family farm or look after younger siblings, or even make carpets or footballs or whatever, but it was still pretty shocking to see a tiny child struggling with a basket of rocks.
My first morning in Nyaungshwe got off to a nasty start: I was nearly involved in a pile up involving a bicycle, a trishaw and a slow-moving taxi. Yep, Nyaungshwe’s that kind of place.
Here’s a couple of pictures taken when I walked around the Lake from Nyaungshwe to the village of Maing Thauk, half of which is on the land and the other half is built on slilts in the lake:
And a couple of other pics from around Nyaungshwe: