Bago, Myanmar

Bago is a city about 3 hours train ride (or 50 miles) from Yangon. We were only there for one day but made the most of it. We rented a motorbike and hired a guide to see many of the local attractions. Besides the plethora of temples, here’s some of what we saw:

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Making an offering to the Burmese python. It is believed to be over 100 years old and a reincarnation of an important abbot. It’s over 5 metres long and feeds on whole chickens!
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Two figures representing nats – natural guardians of the snake. People leave many offerings including placing lit cigarettes in the (burnt) fingers of the left figure.
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Women working at a tobacco factory rolling cigarettes.
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A mother and her child at the factory.
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A woman making a selling betel nut. Everybody is constantly chewing and spitting this red juice on the sidewalk. The Burmese call it kun ja.
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A close-up of the contents before it is wrapped up in a leaf. The nut is actually a seed and is a reddish white colour. The betel leaf is dipped in lime (calcium hydroxide which releases the stimulant from the seed – not good for you! The white stuff might be coconut cream (not sure though), the other contents are tobacco and cardomom seeds.
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You tuck the betel package in your cheek and chew it for several minutes to an hour, spitting out the red juice every so often. Keep chewing betel and your teeth will stay red like many people here.
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At the monestary our guide acted as translator between the monk and ourselves. He told us he was very happy for this life and thought he was lucky to have so many other monks as his friends.
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In his room with his school books in his arms and all of his possessions behind him. Since monks aren’t supposed to own anything he probably views these things as essentials for living rather than having ownership over them. One monk sleeps in each corner of this room.
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The monestary (pictured) and temples are kept in very good condition and cleaned often.
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Mya Tha Lyaung, a massive recling buddha built in 2002> It’s so big, birds kept flying up its nose. To get a sense of it’s size look at the black dot on it’s shoulder – that is a bird!
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Here’s another size comparison.
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On our way back to the hotel to collect our bags for the long train ride ahead of us.

The day ended in heat exhaustion in the Bago train station while we waited for our overnight train. We’d heard this was a bumpy train ride from hell. We did not anticipated 14 hours of this:

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