On our way home from a walk on dusty tracks leading to the temples, we got a chance to observe first hand how roads are constructed today, probably not only in Bagan but in all of Myanmar. I usually don't like to take pictures of people without asking, but for these shots I found a good spot where I could unobtrusively capture the scene with my zoom lens.
A Simple Meal
For lunch we went to the closest restaurant, the one right next door that we visited on our first day here. They only serve curry, to foreigners at least, although it looks like the Burmese at the other tables have different things on their plates. But four kinds of curry - beef, fish, lamb and chicken - is easily understood. The curry itself is a small dish with three modest sized pieces of meat or fish in a puddle of oily sauce. This is then accompanied by side-dishes of stewed eggplant, fermented bamboo, spicy tomato puree, dried fish fried with onions, green beans and a bowl of broth. A pot of rice is placed on the table, you help yourself. Perhaps the fermented bamboo shoots are an acquired taste and probably the smell of a stinky French cheese is just as unappetizing to a Burmese as the smell of the fermented bamboo shoots is to us. All the little dishes make a nice array to look at, perhaps not my favorite Asian food but good enough and it all seems to be very authentic.
So perhaps if we haven't seen as many temples and pagodas as we wished, I feel the lethargy imposed on us by my illness has given us time to take in the flavor of our surroundings.
Temples and Dusty Roads
For today we choose a different group of temples to investigate. We are again lucky that it is cloudy and cool for our walk. A blue sky might be nicer for pictures but being exposed to the baking sun not so nice for us.
The paths leading to the sights are a mixture of red dust and sand, sometimes loose and deep. I wouldn't want to have to ride any kind of two-wheeled vehicle here, with or without a motor. But these paths or minor roads don't just lead to the historic sites but also to villages and there is light traffic.
A Stroll to Nearby Temples
It rained all morning, strange for this time of year. In the afternoon the sky remained overcast and the air cool. It was good weather for walking. These pictures are all of scenes closeby, places we walked to and probably nothing on a tourist's itinerary.
Although we have been close to this legendary river since we arrived in Myanmar, today was the first time we saw it. That was at sundown, but let's start the narrative at the beginning of the day.
Yesterday I finished my prescribed antibiotic, but I wasn't well yet, not by a long shot. Time for a doctor. We trotted off to Bagan's Global Care International Clinic, its name grander than the building itself. But I got to see a doctor who spoke good English, took his time to listen to me and made a very competent impression altogether. I left with a bagfull of medications, including antibiotics. I don't know what's in all those little yellow, white and blue pills they gave me, but I'm taking them all, no questions asked.
Both Janos and I were relieved to have things under control and in the evening I felt up to a walk to the banks of the Irrawaddy. We got there at dusk, as the sun was setting. When the river came into view, we gasped. It was a splendid sight.