Friday, 23 September -- PyayClick here for All Photos of the Day
Nice to be able to go to the lounge and get coffee to drink in our room at 6 am, then an abundant breakfast and onto the buses at 8:30. First stop: Shwe San Daw Pagoda, a beautiful place along the same lines as the Shwedagon in Yangon, but smaller and less-elaborate.
Lots of swallows and dragon flies flying around and above. Rice paddies and sugar cane fields everywhere are very green and there are a fair number of teak trees, though during the time of the junta most of the teak was harvested and sent to China. The second stop was Payagi Pagoda, an unadorned stupa about 1500 years old.
Then we visited the ancient Dragon Gate of the city of Sri Kestra, a site that has been excavated. Archaeological work was started at Sri Kestra in the 1920s by the British, but was halted under the junta. Now it has begun again and the whole large area has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The well-executed small museum contains a wide variety of the artifacts recovered here. After a brief stop at another part of the city wall, we rejoined the boat some distance up-river from where we left it. Lunch was waiting for us, then it was time to put our feet up and watch the shoreline go by.
The staff gave an informative and amusing presentation on the longyi (pron. LON-gee) -- the traditional dress of all Burmese. Both men and women wear them, but in different ways. And there are many other things to do with this simple tube of cloth.
At the end, Larry and Gabriela were "volunteered" to dress up in them. They looked pretty spiffy. As well, we learned about Thanakha, the makeup worn by women and children. Besides the qualities I mentioned earlier, it is thought to act as an insect repellant. All of us who'd cruised with AMA in the past were treated to drinks and appies and conversation with the cruise director, we had a briefing on tomorrow's program, enjoyed another great dinner, and watched a movie about a small, isolated community where traditional ways are still followed. Then bed. We found that most of our lights are not working, but decided not to worry about it until morning.
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