Tuesday, 27 September -- Bagan

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This is an amazing place, with temples, stupas, pagodas, wherever you look, most of them around a thousand years old. The recent earthquake damaged some, but there is already scaffolding and workers are repairing them. They are in all sizes, shapes and states of repair (the stupas, that is, not the workers). In some there is intricate wall and ceiling art, but in others it has  been covered over or (horrors!) removed by a German archaeologist with a sharp chisel, in 1899. He even left a "receipt" in one stupa. It's doubtful if he got many of them off the walls intact, so they were simply destroyed. Over the two days we got very adept at removing our shoes and socks, then wiping off our feet with wet wipes & putting shoes and socks back on.

 "Our" hawkers stuck with us at every stop for the 2 days and some of us got to  know some of them quite well. They really wanted to trade for lipstick, but most of us had none. I think they did OK off us, but I'm not sure whether everyone's luggage will be within the weight limits going back. And there's still Mandalay! 

This afternoon we visited a lacquer factory and saw how lacquerware is  made. Some of it is spectacular. 

Afterward we drove to a remote area of the archaeological zone and watched the sunset from among untouched stupas, while goats and cattle were herded past and young guys played with a wicker ball.

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