We were bowled over at the reception we got from the family running the Teakwood Guesthouse. Despite thinking we would move accommodation, we decided to stay there, wading in and out of the accommodation, on the worst flooded street in town.
We spent a few days generally chilling around the town. We took one afternoon trip on traditional a traditional canoe around the north of the lake, rowed in the traditional manner of rowing with their legs, while standing on the back of the canoe. We were taken to a realxing village and shown around the local’s making sweets and cakes using soy beans for the local market day. All these were made in a very laborious manner, crushed by hand, stirred, and fried on the most basic fires. We watched two woman making traditional cigarettes, and invited to try our own hand at it. This was really enjoyable, as there was never any hassle to buy anything, and we were free to interact, and take photos, especially of the wee kid who seemed to unravel every batch of cigarettes his mother had just tied together.
The next day we took a full day boat trip where they took us round more villages, and watched families and kids more at home on the water, in their stilt houses carefully balanced on the lake. Unfortunately there was quite a bit of selling as we were dropped into tradtional weavers, silk weavers, blacksmiths and silversmiths. Despite this it was fascinating watching the traditional methods of weaving on looms, and heating up metals on hand pumped fires, kept alive by bellows. The market we were dropped off at was full of ‘you buy, cheap, cheap’ hard sells.
We had a great few days here, all hanging out together, reading books and catching up on journals, with the off rum encouraged night. My nightly bills were generally 12-16000 Kyats, doubling Tracy’s bills that had no alcohol. I had bought a bottle of ‘army rum’ for around 50 pence, but it was more than adequate to spice up a night for all of us. We managed to dodge the water most of the time, despite wading in and out of our accommodation. As we were contemplating the end of the world here together (we thought we saw a bright star that could only be considered a meteor), Tracy was lead to alternative, non flooded toilet facilities by the waitress…. at one point, she thought she was being taken to the waitresses house, only to be pointed to the dark flooded field across the road. One night Dominic and I stayed out a bit later, caught up in a conversation with Israelis he had met, but we overstayed the town’s welcome and had to make our way back in complete darkness as a powercut hit, illuminated only occassionally by my camera flash and our mojito induced alcohol vision.
As the Germans departed on a two day trek, we Dominic, Tracy and I decided on another day here and delayed our flight back to Yangon (or Rangoon in old speak). Yes, we were flying as it the only alternative was a 20 hour bus trip, dodging the floods.