Bago, Myanmar

I arrived at Bago around 1pm. The guest house is just a short walk away, though it does involve crossing Bago’s main road, which is a pain. Still, I ducked in, they had a room available and I ducked out of the sun for an hour or so.

After that I went for a wander. From the station, the sights, pagodas, a palace and temples, are West and East, and I figured I’d go West, get off the main road and explore. Maybe I’d even find the restaurant the guesthouse owner recommended (I did not).

Lion sculptures flank a gate
Off the main road, sights abound.
Statue
The grunge is more charming, I think, than the recently re-painted temples, which are indicative of putting too much money into gold paint and not enough into education.
Four Buddha image
Four Buddha image.
Gilded gate
Gilded gate. By now I was a bit hungry, and very hot.
Mittaya Ananda pagoda
Mittaya Ananda pagoda.
Reclining Buddha
Reclining Buddha. My Yangon guide, Steven, told me that Buddha only ever rested for 30 mins or so. But that rest is captured.
Mahazedi Paya
Road to Mahazedi Paya. I found a snack and pressed on.
Mahazedi Paya
Mahazedi Paya.
Children playing, Mahazedi Paya
Something joyful about children playing near the site of special religious significance.
Steep sided Paya
Steep sided, the Paya.
Temple inside Mahazedi Paya
Hot now, I wandered into the Paya grounds – remembering to remove my shoes. Everyone I passed smiled at me, and that cheered me up completely. I sat in the shade of trees round the back, filled with joy – doubtless tiredness from the walk contributed to my slightly teary joy, but it was an intense feeling that made me realise how hot and bothered I had been. It now being after 9 at home, I also answered the question ‘here or work?’ pretty vehemently on one side.
Monks feeding birds
To my right, two monks were buying bird feed, one alternately scattering and holding it in his hands to bring the birds in close, the other filming/photographing with his phone.
Temple plaza
Somehow I have managed to catch this area without people. A group of 3 children had been running past repeatedly to get me to wave at them – one had to be pushed by her brothers first, but soon got over her shyness to join them in creeping up behind me to play peekaboo behind my bench.
Snake statues
Snakes.
Snake and Buddha closeup
Snake and Buddha closeup.
Elephant and generals
Elephant and generals (I think).
Main Paya - gates open now, to climb it
Look closely, and you’ll see two people up on the gold section. The gates were closed when I arrived, but were now open.
Looms for weaving religious offerings
Looms; for weaving garments to be left for the Buddha. Yangon guide had said they work till 4pm, then have to stop, and the garments have to be finished by then each day
Sign - women not allowed to climb the pagoda
Even if I had been with a female friend, I’d have had to leave them behind. They could still have mocked me from here, though.
View from top of Paya
I climbed to the top. As ever, the thought of doing it was fine, the reality was that part way up I was scared.
Sight from top of Paya
A local came running up, and paused for breath next to me. That kicked in my competitive side and, because my legs felt fine, I climbed quickly to the top.
View from top of Paya
At the top, I felt wobbly legged and very odd, and sat down immediately, took these three photos, and walked back down, not letting myself think too much. Both hands on the railing to my left. Squeaky bum time.
The side of the Paya
Does it look steep to you?
Me, having walked back down
It looks steep to me. I think you can see I look a bit tired here. My legs are wobbling a bit, and the ‘oh shiiii’ feeling hasn’t quite gone from my stomach.
Walking back to Bago, smoke rises over a house, filtering the sunset
Walking back to Bago, smoke rises over a house, filtering the sunset.
Bago house.
Bago house.
Typical shop front
On some streets, every house front is a shop front. This one is fairly typical.
Buzzing bikes in the twilight
Buzzing bikes in the twilight.
Locals eating to the left, people travelling on the road
Locals eating to the left, people travelling on the road.
Temple
I walked back on the Ma Zin road, parallel to the one I’d used earlier. Many more people here, most of whom wanted to say ‘hello!’, ‘Hey you!’ or just smile and wave.
Temple entrance
A different temple on the way home.
Thatched houses
Charming houses. I’m sure people will be happier the sooner they can build something sturdier – I hope not to romanticise the beautiful but poor scenes if I come back.
Snooker table, Bago
Trick shots on a full size snooker table (1 of 2 I saw).

 

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