Friday, 30 September -- Sagaing/Mingun/Mandalay

Click here for all Photos of the Day
Video of Sally Jo's Birthday Celebration
At 8:30, 30 monks filed down the river bank carrying begging bowls. 
The crew & staff filled the bowls with food, then we placed bags on top, filled with other supplies. As we placed each one, we said "Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu". They said nothing, then silently filed back up the river bank and disappeared. We spent the morning travelling around Sagaing by bus, visiting a monastery, a convent (I suppose 

-- a home and school for nuns and novices in any case) and a boarding school for boys and girls, both lay and religious, though we saw only boys. The kids sang for us and we sang Head & Shoulders with them -- they already knew it. Ellen-Mary handed out balloons, which they loved. Sagaing is a religious centre and from a pagoda we could see 

the International Buddhist school, a free facility offering everything from one or two month courses in meditation to PhDs in religious studies. In the afternoon we docked at Mungun 

and climbed into tuktuks. they were bigger ones, accommodating up to 6 people. The hawkers here were extremely annoying, crowding and touching us and making it hard to walk around and see what we were trying to look at. One even jumped into the back of a tuktuk,  but Mojo quickly scolded her away. 

First we walked around "The Huge", an unfinished stupa from the 18th century, that was meant to be the biggest ever. It is now cracked and crumbling. 

Then, the Mingun Bell, the world's largest uncracked ringing bell. Some people climbed inside to admire the graffiti. The final stop of the day was 

the magnificent white Hsinbyume Pagoda, built in the 19th century. It is very unlike the many others we've visited and offered spectacular views from the upper terrace. Leaving Mingun, we docked at Mandalay. 

We celebrated Sally-Jo's birthday with tiara, prosecco and cake at dinner 

then enjoyed an evening of professional Burmese music and dance.
 Click here for all Photos of the Day  
Video of Sally Jo's Birthday Celebration


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