Leaving the weavers village of In Paw Khon, we retraced our journey by long-tail boat, at a much more leisurely pace, back through some of the water villages of Lake Inle. The impact of tourism became more obvious as we went by several restaurant cum guest houses lining the wider water ways.
Now we had time to look at the many different styles of pole houses and to go slowly along some of the smaller waterways. Even for those whose economic circumstances have improved because of the new growth of tourism, the Intha people choose to stay living on their lake. They just build larger houses. They are born, raised, live and die on the water. It’s their life. The only life they know.
Children are born to a life on and by the water. There are no protective railings anywhere on these houses. A sense of personal responsibility is learned very early in this country.
Children are born to water life and are very used to getting around in the local dugout boats. This is just the normal way of getting to and from school! Some of the houses here are built more substantially with bamboo timbers rather than plaited bamboo matting.
The kids were always just as interested in us as we were in them. Smiles and waves were the order of the day.
It seems that children are never too young to help Mum paddle the boat.
One never forgets how to paddle one’s own canoe! No driver’s licence is required here – and no tests that might take away your independence when you get a bit older. She’s been doing this all her life.
Construction of a local boat.
Imagine having a blacksmiths – and that most necessary very hot fire – in a pole house style building. At least they don’t have a thatched roof! The fire is kept red hot by pumping mop like bellows up and down in a chimney like structure. The men’s rhythmic hammering of the iron was a real tourist drawcard! But it also helps them to make lighter work of a hard job.
These blacksmiths don’t make horse shoes – there’s not a lot of call for those on the lake! They do make metal objects needed by the lake people. And, among other things, they make traditional, flat, personal prayer ‘bells’ rung by hitting with a wooden ‘donger’.
Another type of small traditional personal prayer bell is made to have its own donger inside.
Floating through these villages in the golden glow of late afternoon was a delight.
A coconut frond thatched mat covers this fisherman’s store house. The next door neighbour has used rather a fancy plaited bamboo for the walls.
Although the houses were all made of wood and bamboo, there were many different styles of houses. This larger house had a matting privacy wall around the kitchen platform and the toilet. With more and more tourists up and down these waterways, that’s probably a good idea!
(P1100528 © JT of jtdytravels)
It was a peaceful, golden afternoon after the rain.
There never seemed to be an end to the village waterways.
It was a surprise to see that this rather fancy building was the village library. Education is so important, even here on the water. I’d love to have a look inside. Next time maybe I can have a chance to read to some children there. They do learn English at school.
The village festival boat is a prize community possession and is kept in a protective mooring.
Wherever we floated in that golden afternoon light, there were abstract water refections. I loved them.
It was getting late and time to return through the main lake to our hotel. It was not this pole house hotel – but it did look interesting.
Darkness falls quickly in the tropical countries. As we hurried down the lake, the skies kept our interest, changing constantly against the deepening blues of the hills.
Eventually we turned from the main lake towards the hills and to our hotel on the lakeside shore. To get there, our driver had to navigate through narrow, hyacinth choked waterways. From our seating, low in the boat, we could often only see the plants. We trusted that he knew his way via the wayside poles and the odd white flag or two.
As we neared our hotel, “The Inle Princess Resort”, the noisy engines were cut and a leg rower joined us to take us into the hotel jetty. This is a much more peaceful, if slower, way to travel on Inle Lake.
Arriving at the hotel dock after a long day, a very friendly welcoming group of men greeted us as we pulled into the jetty.
It was all but dark when we finally arrived at our hotel room which was really a lake side cottage.
T’was a very peaceful evening view from our balcony at Inle Lake Princess Resort
We would enjoy this delightful place for the next two nights.
Jennie and David
Photography © Jennie Thomas and David Young of jtdytravels