February 22, 2014
For some reason I can't get any internet connection. I brought my I PAD with me and it has all our hotel/flight info, etc. Good thing I printed out those calendar pages I did before leaving home. I know some may say it's OCD to do that but at least I have flight and hotel info written down. Internet in Bagan was intermittent also. I look out the window and see a herd of cows?/cattle walking down the street. How cool is that! Breakfast-I want to see if the egg station guy can get my egg cooked right again and he does. Egg over easy is not that difficult so I don't know why so many had trouble getting it right for me. The egg was always cooked too much with the yolk being fully cooked and well I'll stop now as it's getting boring for me to even type this!!
|My sad looking breakfast-toast and 1 egg OE.|
|Husband's breakfast looks appetizing|
|Lots of cooked food to choose|
We meet Zaw, our driver, at 8:30 am. What I liked was he asked before taking us to any workshops and wasn't upset when we declined to go to some he suggested. Our first place for today is SHWEINBIN MONASTERY Very pretty. This teak (tropical hardwood tree-has a leather like smell when freshly cut and is known for its durability and resistance to water) building was built in 1895 by Chinese jade merchants. Wealthy individuals would often build these elaborate monasteries as a donation to earn merit. It's still in good condition. Built on a classical teak foundation and raised platform for ventilation and protection from snakes. Tiered roof with beautiful carvings. Scenes on the inside show court and daily life. Surrounding wooden deck. A living monastery. Natural teak forests only 4 countries-Myanmar, India, Laos, and Thailand. Expensive. I believe that as of 2014 there is a ban on the export of virgin teak by the Myanmar gov't.
|Other buildings for the monks who live here.|
MAHAMUNI Buddha image is the most revered in Mandalay. Completely covered in gold by locals. Only men allowed to apply the gold leaf to the image. Image has become distorted due to all the gold leaf. TV screen. Seated posture-Bumi Phasa Mudras. Cast in bronze and its crown is decorated with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. Every morning around 5:00 am monks wash the face of the Buddha. Only 5 likenesses of Buddha made during his lifetime. Gautama Buddha visited Arakan 554 B.C. King Thuriya asked that an image was cast of him/Gautama. After casting the image the Gautama Buddha breathed upon it and then the image became the exact likeness of the Mahamuni/Great Sage. This is how the story goes. Opens 4:00 am. Fee $1 per camera.
|Applying gold leaf|
|No ladies are allowed to enter|
|TV screen so you can see the gold leaf being put on the Buddha|
|Lots of bare feet|
|This tells the historical story of the bronzes' journey|
|3 headed elephant|
|Is this the warrior guardian statue??|
|I bought my black teak elephant from this guy|
|Name of the tapestry and woodcarving place|
|This is the one I bought|
|Hard at work|
|Lion Throne room|
|Climbed up the watch tower|
|Moat/water around the palce|
|Fried spring rolls|
SHWENANDAW MONASTERY Also called Golden Palace Monastery. Built 1880 by King Thibaw Min. Only survivor of the original royal palace built by King Mindon. His son had it removed from the royal city thus inadvertently saving it from the destruction of WWII. Teak carvings of Buddhist myths-serpentine dragons, flowers and vines, dancing figures. Ornate carvings, spectacular roof. Lots of gold.
|Wood carving of Lawka Nat|
KUTHODAW PAGODA World's largest book. Located at the foot of Mandalay Hill. 729 marble stones/slabs inscribed with Tripitaka text housed inside 729 pitaka pagodas. Built during the reign of King Mindon to gain merit. Main entrance has huge carved teak doors with flowers, scrolls, and Deva Nats. Mature star flower tree propped up by supports.
|Buddha carved from 900 ton marble slab|
|Where you get the escalator to go down or come up|
|Our driver/guide for 2 days-Zaw Ko Thet|
We're not all that hungry as we had lunch which we normally don't do do we decide to just go up to our hotel rooftop restaurant for desert. Coffee and ice cream for us both. Cost 11000k.
|Coffee was good|