Thursday, February 16, 2017

Myanmar Motorcycle Epic 10: Amarapura and Inwa

The ignore the names on the map. By places I stayed, it went
Naypyitaw-Meiktila-Bagan-Kanpetlet-Mindat-Monywa-Shwebo-
Mandalay-Pyin Oo Lwin-Hsipaw-Naungkyi-Taunggyi-Loikaw-
Naypyitaw-Taungoo-Kyaikto-Mawlamyine-Setse Beach
Well, it's been a few days now that I've been back in Yangon. I'm still processing this unforgettable journey, but as I slip back into the everyday humdrum of my day job, I look forward to a couple more weeks of making videos of the trip. I get to do this route twice. The map pictured here is a rough representation of the 3300 kilometer (2000 miles) path.  

Back to the story of the trip. After a full week of riding the motorbike to a new city every day, I was happy to reach Mandalay and have a couple days in one place. I got to unpack a bit. Unload the backpack. Get some laundry done. Geographically, I was halfway through my trip, but time-wise, I was on my 9th day of 24. 

Just what I needed. A place to relax and enjoy the sights.
Fortunately, Mandalay, a city which before I came to Myanmar, I had heard of, but only as some Shangra-La-like, quasi-mystical, Oriental city, is actually quite an interesting place. There were multiple days of places to go and see in Myanmar's former capital. 

From under the U-Bein bridge
Amarapura and Inwa were the two I visit in this video, both also former capitals of Burma. The former was only the capital for a decade or two, and the most interesting thing remaining from it's reign is an old teak bridge. 

The latter, Inwa, AKA Ava, on the other hand, was amazing. For 400 years, with several interruptions, this place was the seat of power of the Burmese Empire. No place other than Bagan is more historical than this now sleepy town on the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River. There were a few places that I, self-guided on my motorbike, not relying on what the tour guides took all the rest of the foreigners to, could go and see and play my ukulele.  


 
I've been reading about how orthodox Theraveda Buddhism has been in a centuries long battle with very un-Buddhist
beliefs like astrology. Here we find a pagoda with no Buddha images, entirely devoted to astrology. 


 
In background, a 500 year-old crumbling monument. In the foreground, the garbage dump of the local villagers. 
; , sans-serif;">  Enjoy the video.

6 comments:

  1. Joko, I enjoyed this large trip immensely and I am so amazed to see that despite all the poor people there are so many beautiful mostly storic public buildings in that country. It witnesses about a time of great power and very strong beliefs. Countries like Italy, France, Germany or Greece also have wonderful historic buildings, but those countries are wealthy, industrialized places, so there isn't that stark contrast like you'd find it in Myanmar. Btw. I loved the music to your videos. Very fitting, indeed.
    I think you are very brave (daring?) that you just go out on such a journey without even knowing where to sleep the next night and whether or not you will be able to get gas for your little bike.
    So, thanks for sharing all this.

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    1. Thanks a lot. It means a lot to me to know that people are enjoying these videos.

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  2. I agree with what was said, previously by ME. You are brave, travelling there. Blessings, Lynn

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    1. Heh heh... I took me a couple seconds to figure out what you meant by "previously by ME"... You've said it many times, and I really appreciate your viewership as well, Lynnie.

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    2. Thank you, so much! It was surprising and a blessing seeing your response! :) Blessings...

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