Friday, January 27, 2017

Myanmar Motorcycle Epic 3 - Bagan

Of course, I had to follow my sunset in Bagan with it’s counterpart, sunrise in Bagan. Once again, I turned to the internet to for advice as to where to go. This time, I was going to get there early to get a good seat. I drove all the way down to the southern end of Old Bagan, some good 6 miles from where I was staying only to realize that I had forgotten my camera phone. Although I had the GoPro, I needed both, and so drove back in the freezing cold morning to retrieve it. This threw a wrench in my ‘get there early’ idea. 

I was confidant as I drove up to what looked like the temple entrance; there were no other vehicles parked there. Might I have the place all to myself? I parked and made my way past a private residence to get to the temple itself. There were no signs of any other humans around. I turned a corner, and looking up I saw plaza high up on the temple. There were dozens of tourists visible. When I got up there myself, there were about 100. Turned out I had entered from the back gate; the main gate’s parking was packed. 
I've just discovered the "panorama" function on my camera phone.
Sunrise in Bagan was beautiful, but it was kind of ruined by the fact that there were so many people, there was no place to sit down, and that given the dregs of viewing angles I was given, there was no way to experience it without seeing other people experiencing it too. A Canadian guy who was standing next to me noted sarcastically to the Danish girl he was kinda hitting on, “What a spiritual experience it is to be having with 50 other people”. 

That comment sort of sums up what I noticed about being in Bagan and interacting with people who happen to have the same skin color as I. Even though my experience is different having been a resident here nearly three years, most of these folks felt the same way I did, i.e., Bagan would have been so much better if all you weren’t there

I’m not sure if you noticed in the previous videos, but I have brought an ukulele with me (yes, an ookulele). I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to combine it with the backpack when strapping it down onto the back half of my motorbike seat, but I brought it because during previous trips, there had always been a point when I’d thought to myself, “I wish I’d brought my uke.” Since I’ve brought it, I should be using it, more than just in the hotel room. Well, last week’s Seasons of the Ukulele Contest was perfect in that I could play a song I knew by heart without having to print out any lyrics sheets or anything.  As I was leaving the sunrise pagoda, I snuck around back of an adjacent, slid into the thousand year old entryway of this Buddhist shrine, and sang some John Denver. 

The rest of the day, I just kind of wandered around looking at stuff. I probably didn’t see some of the most “important” monuments, at least not up close, but I saw a bunch I’m sure most people who go to Bagan don’t bother with. The site is so packed full of antiquity, that you can’t swing a stick without hitting something 900 years old. 

The day ended with getting the bike washed, and as you’ll see in the video, watching the fascinating process of an inner-tube being repaired.Lastly, I'm aware of some problems with the video. Four times I tried rendering, and each time, there were some weird flickering frames. 

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