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    Tropical Heat Tour: Myanmar Part 8

    Friday, August 31, 2012
    Taungbyone, Myanmar

    A couple of nat kadaws relax at the Nat Pwe in Taungbyone, Myanmar.

    A Nat Pwe rages full blast in Taungbyone, Myanmar.

    My third day at the Nat Pwe in Taungbyone began as I arrived in style and comfort riding shotgun in a truck. I had strained a back muscle a couple of days before, and I didn’t want to keep tweaking it by riding back in the hard bed over crazy bumpy roads. Even though it was 4:00 pm, the sun was still blazing as I shot a bunch of brief video clips of life in and around the colorful and crowded market zone. I also captured a few moments of a massive feeding frenzy that went down as money repeatedly got tossed out to the crowd during a sweaty, packed Nat Pwe performance at the main Buddhist temple.

    A market stall full of figurines at the Nat Pwe in Taungbyone, Myanmar.

    A nat shrine at the Nat Pwe in Taungbyone, Myanmar.

    When dusk arrived, I found myself by the manual-powered Ferris wheel, where teenagers clambered faster and more agile than monkeys up, down and sideways all over the huge 50 ft. tall thing to load and unload passengers and make it spin. As the night wore on, I managed to squeeze in a few more video clips of music and dancing before my camera battery gave up the ghost. My feet and leg muscles started to get fatigued as I walked back out to the exit area. It took me way longer than usual–30 to 45 minutes–to find a truck that was heading off to Mandalay. I sat in one for a half hour, but for some weird reason, no one ever boarded it.

    This Buddhist kid asked me to take a photo of him and his friend. A split second later, they were gone at the Nat Pwe in Taungbyone, Myanmar.

    A mud-filled lane in front of a hut at the Nat Pwe in Taungbyone, Myanmar.

    So, I spotted another full one that was pulling away though the extreme motorcycle and pedestrian chaos, and somehow talked my way into shotgun for only $1.25. On the way out around 8:30 pm, I was astonished by the never-ending stream of motorcycles and other vehicles pulling into the place. But, I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising, considering that the festival goes non-stop 24 hours per day for a whole week. As we pulled out onto the main road that heads down to Mandalay, I saw truck after truck heading toward the event completely packed and stacked with people singing, laughing and yelling the whole way. Come to Taungbyone, indeed.

    A shrine to the Taungbyone brothers and their mother at the Nat Pwe in Taungbyone, Myanmar.

    The Mothership has landed at the Nat Pwe in Taungbyone, Myanmar.

    Roll over photos for captions.
    Words and photos ©2012 Arcane Candy.

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