Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Sunday in Hinthada

One thing about only getting one day off a week is that it's precious. This last Sunday, there was no chance we were just going to hang around the hotel and relax. Heck no. Jack, his girlfriend Phyo who had come up for the weekend and I went on a motorcycle tour.

We weren't sure where to go; there are no real tourist attractions around these parts. We did, however, decide that finding the Ayeyarwaddy (Irrawaddy) River itself was a priority. See, at one
Just outside Hinthada on the levee road.
time, Hinthada was a port on this important and massive waterway. If you look back a couple posts, you'll see a sketch of Hinthada in the 19th century. The town developed as shipping point for agricultural goods. Now, there is no port. The river has silted up this side of the bank and there's no direct way to get to the river proper from Hinthada. 

After tootling around the city for quite a while looking for a bank with a working ATM (there weren't any), we headed north up a tiny road which lay upon the top of a levee.
This is mud. Umm... No.
Eventually, as has happened before when I've tried to motorbike around during the tail end of the rainy season, the road got too muddy and continuing seemed more trouble than it was worth. 

Phyo and Jack at the 'port'
Back at a crossroad, we found we would be able to charter a small boat to cruise along the river. We told the boatman that there wasn't any place in particular we wanted to go, just up and down the river. After about 20 minutes, he asked if we'd like to stop at a riverside village. Sure, why not.

We then spent the next couple hours walking around Chaung Ywar, and I think it's safe to say we were the first foreigners to visit this small village if not ever, 
And what's your name? - Jack giving free English
lessons to the village kids.
then in a really long time. It was truly quite the experience to see this place. The locals were very friendly, but also a bit intimidated by our presence. All in all, I'm really glad we got to visit this village of 1000 people. 

After Chaung Ywar, we got back in the boat and returned to our starting point. No one wanted to go home yet, so we headed down another road to what Google maps showed as a green area. I was quite
surprised to find a teak forest. See, I've thought of this region of Myanmar, the Ayeyarwaddy Delta, to be like Kansas or Nebraska, i.e., 100% agriculture. Discovering this cool, shaded, peaceful forest was a treat. 

Note, the video below actually begins on Saturday Night with some observations about the insect swarm that had hatched that evening. Seemingly millions of bugs, which is more than the thousands on any other given evening. 



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