Rising before the sun, seeing it rise over the hills, covering all it touches is golden highlights is amazing at the best of times, couple that with the brilliantly vivid scenes of gently glistening dew covered rice growing in the field – its simply magic – simply Myanmar.
While in Kalaw, staying at our early 1900’s bed and breakfast, we could not turn down a change to walk in the rural countryside. What better time than early morning.
Our guide assured us the night before that the terrain would be ‘gentle’ and ‘down hill’.
I think today must have been Opposite Day since 7 of the 12km was up hill rising to 1404m above sea level at the high point. By not means was the walk hard, just unexpected.
The villages that we passed and their inhabitants live a truly rural existence. Every second house had a water buffalo in the front yard, who received a loving pat as the families departed, walking their a small children heading off to school.
During our visit, the children were heading off to school on the last day before a 10 day break. Which means after cleaning the school grounds they were free to go home which they were doing when we dropped into the local school at around 930am.
As the villages are totally devoid of mains power, every house had a solar panel for lighting during the dryer months and a mini hydroelectric setup in the local stream for during the monsoon season.
Our guide even showed us the roadside local herbs that the farmers use for first aid – one to stop nose bleeds, which when burnt also keeps the squadrons of local mosquitoes at bay, another that you put the sap on cuts and scratches to seal against dirt.
During out time in Kalaw & Inle Lake a number of internal bombings occurred throughout Myanmar, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) has emailed me a few travel advisory updates informing us that a number of explosive devices have been found across the country. Detonations have been confirmed in Yangon and Shan state ( the state we are in now). While the information is most welcome, it will not be effecting our plans, but I will be keeping a ‘weather eye’ on the situation.