While I had a quiet day at the Inle Princess Resort, David went off again in the long tail boats to explore more of Inle Lake and its villages. They left the resort quietly and sedately with the help of one of the Intha leg rowers.
But it was not long before the noisy motor was cranked into life and they sped off across the lake.
Their destination, on the other side of the lake, was the village of Indein.
On the way they went by a couple of other villages built partly on the land and partly over the water.
The sun shone and it was obviously washing day for this family.
This restaurant is clear evidence of the growth of tourism in the area. It also shows that those providing for the tourists are learning what is important to visitors. The sign above the door reads:
“Sterilized tube well water is used for cleaning and cooking. No MSG is used”.
This family has one of those tube wells for their water.
They don’t need to wash themselves and their clothes in the river.
But the majority of people do not have tube wells
and many people still use the river to wash both their clothes and themselves.
One enterprising lady met the group’s boats with bamboo cone hats for sale.
They are light and certainly good for shade against the hot sun.
The boats were well equipped with blue umbrellas for shade.
To get to Indein, the boats travelled up a narrow river.
Finally the group arrived at their destination.
Judging by the various coloured chairs, a couple of groups had arrived in the village.
For now, the noisy motors were quiet while the visitors explored Indein.
A small market at the dockside sold such local necessities as longyis and shirts.
Another necessary item that almost every Burmese needs is a bamboo woven basket.
Inevitably,even at a fairly quiet tourist destination, there are stalls selling souvenirs –
like bangles and beads and necklaces.
While wandering through the stalls, David was surprised to see a small army of women walking towards him with hoes and bamboo baskets over their shoulders. These were women of the Pa-O ethnic group; the second most numerous tribe in the region who mainly live in the hilly areas in and around Taunggyi. These women wear dark plain coloured lungyis with long sleeveless shirts and cropped long-sleeved black jackets. They also wear distinctive brightly coloured turbans, often in a red check weave. They are mostly farmers who come down from their villages on market days to sell their produce. But this was not a market day and these women had come into the village of Indein on a very different mission!
It soon became apparent that this was another incidence of community activity. The Pa-Os are very religious, and although previously animist, most are now Buddhist. They were coming together to clean up the approaches to Indein’s ancient Shwe Inn Tain Pagoda, the site our group had come to this village to see. (Photos of that in the next episode.)
Men were already hard at work repairing the road – in what seemed a time consuming way. But lots of hands make light work! There’s no earth moving machinery here; not even a wheelbarrow. A bamboo cane ‘stretcher’ was used to carry the soil. What was amazing was what a short distance the soil was moved!
A group of boys stood in the shade waiting for their instructions to also begin work.
They wore the traditional Shan bags over their shoulders.
While Mums and Dads worked, little ones found simple games to play.
No fancy toys or video games here!
The women who had just arrived waited for their instructions.
It was a well ordered, planned community activity.
Faces in the crowd always fascinate David. This girl wears her traditional Pa-O ethnic check cloth headwear and her face is painted with a mixture made from the bark of the tamarind tree. This is not only traditionally for beauty but also to save the skin from the sun.
And it wasn’t only the young ones who had come to help.
All ages were represented.
Down on the river there were other activities to watch.
Children are the same everywhere –
give them some water and they’ll make their own fun!
When everyone in our group had had plenty of time to enjoy watching the village activities, they began the walk up to the ancient Shwe Inn Tain Pagoda (or Shwe Indein) Pagoda. We’ll go there in the next episode.
All photography in this episode © DY of jtdytravels