On the way from Bago, Myanmar to Inle Lake, I was sitting in a narrow seat, far away from anywhere. At three o'clock in the morning, I was exhausted, my body was sore, I have been on the bus or waiting for the bus for the past 19 hours. This lake is best "very beautiful" like all guide books, because this is my toughest trip in five months.
This is the time of the water festival, the hottest time of the year. Everyone in the country takes a bus to visit relatives and witness the sights. We arrived in Bago Town, 80 kilometers northeast of Yangon, in the early afternoon, and booked our night bus to Inle Lake through Kyiakito. The travel agency eagerly took our money, but did not let us know that in this busy season, it was almost impossible to get a seat in such a short period of time. Over time, we waited impatiently for a place to become available, and our desperate boss marked each coach through this dusty town until the last driver agreed to pick us up.
This was an embarrassing experience when we boarded the bus. People were kicked out of the seat to make room for us. Not to mention their language, our protests were ignored. We didn't want people to sit on the floor for us, but we couldn't do anything, we were taken to the designated location.
In the next 10 hours, there was a very loud variety show, a "laugh". I couldn't understand a word. A bus was packed with luggage. I was forced to put a 70L backpack under my feet. The temperature was so High breathing difficulties. Just as I floated in the glory of escape, we stopped to eat alone in the morning. Who is eating in the middle of the night? But sure enough, everyone got off the boat and ordered a full meal from the roadside food stall. We ended up staying in this lively stay longer than expected, as our bus is under maintenance and will not arrive soon.
I have a chance to witness this spectacle.
It’s already late, the children are playing, the music is harsh, several food stalls are busy cooking, and there is a market where vegetables and fruits can be sold. This place is booming because it lives on an overnight bus, which is full of people ready to spend money.
In the end we were on the road, once we entered our seats, the variety show became "11" for everyone to enjoy. Somehow, I managed to fall asleep again, but at 5 am I was awakened and prayed on the speaker. No one seemed to mind, so I sat in my seat and watched the scenery. We passed the oxcart full of market products, took people to the carriage in the city, the buffalo and the children walked to school until the driver stopped the bus and told us that this was our stay.
We dropped it on the side of the road and the rest of the bus went to Mandalay. Start negotiations again to the truck on the lake. We have never found it, but we managed to jump on an overly compact minivan, and I will spend the next 8 hours in 45 degrees without being affected by heat. 5000 Kyat [$6] bought me a seat with a thin straw mat on the engine. The four of us were huddled in front of the van. A driver who never stops smoking, a young monk in the driver and me and my husband curled up between the door and me.
After leaving our original destination for 31 hours, we went to Inle Lake, where we found the first hotel we could find and quickly retired for the rest of the day.
I don't know if Inle Lake is as beautiful as the guide. We spent the hottest time of the year in Myanmar, but we were cold, rainy and cloudy when we stayed by the lake. We have never experienced an amazing panorama. But, like all the places we have visited in this country, people have gained experience. They are warm and friendly, and we are even invited to drink tea and talk in private homes. In a temple called Jumping Cat Monastery on the lake, a group of people are so fascinated by us, the table is turned, and we are attractive. People took pictures of the pictures we took, and when we put our thumbs on the camera, we shared the laughter. The monks in sunglasses gave a peace sign, and summer vacationers took pictures of us. When Dave showed photos to people on his digital camera, everyone was crazy and hoped he could take more photos.
As for whether Inlay Lake is worth a bus trip from Hell? of course. I experienced pure hospitality and I had a rare opportunity to see Intha Leg Rowers, known in their unique way to push their boats around their paddles with one leg. I visited a cat-filled monastery. These cats were trained by monks to skip basketball. I was fortunate to interact with someone who had been isolated from the outside world for a long time.