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    Tropical Heat Tour: Myanmar Part 14

    Thursday, September 6, 2012
    Nyaung-U, Myanmar

    An odd brick temple at Shwezigon Pagoda in Nyaung-U, Myanmar.

    A circular shrine to Buddha basks in the evening sunlight at Shwezigon Pagoda in Nyaung-U, Myanmar.

    An elephant's ass basks in the evening sunlight at Shwezigon Pagoda in Nyaung-U, Myanmar.

    An old Buddhist monk walks by the main stupa at Shwezigon Pagoda in Nyaung-U, Myanmar.

    After the mega-rough seven-hour bus ride yesterday, I slept for 13 hours straight. When I finally woke up, I was dismayed that I was brandishing a full-fledged cold. But, I knew I only had a few days to explore Bagan, so after fueling up with a plate of sweet and sour veggies with rice at Swe Tha Har San, I rented a bike from May Kha Lar guest house and rode down a half mile to Shwezigon Pagoda. The only problem was, this bike had way worse geometry than the ones in Mandalay, and the seat post was so short, I couldn’t raise it up much at all, so it was nearly impossible for me to pedal the thing, even though the land around here is mostly flat. In fact, I had to get off and push the bike up a slight incline for a block or so. It was quite pathetic considering that at home I ride my mountain bike up super steep inclines no problem. Once I arrived at the temple, I asked a guy if I could take my bike inside, because I forgot my lock. He said yes, so I took off my hiking shoes and socks and pushed it inside. Then another guy promptly told me I couldn’t have my bike in there, so I had to put my socks and shoes back on and returned to the guest house to get a lock.

    This is the funny little lady who followed me around at Shwezigon Pagoda in Nyaung-U, Myanmar.

    A couple of odd Buddha images at Shwezigon Pagoda in Nyaung-U, Myanmar.

    More golden goodness at Shwezigon Pagoda in Nyaung-U, Myanmar.

    They wrap up your silverware like a mummy at Swe Tha Har San in Nyaung-U, Myanmar.

    Finally, after I found a pole to fasten it to back near the temple, I made my way inside. It’s always such a treat for the eyes and soothing for the soul to walk around inside Buddhist temple compounds. And Shwezigon Pagoda was no different. “It is a prototype of Burmese stupas, and consists of a circular gold leaf-gilded stupa surrounded by smaller temples and shrines. Construction of the Shwezigon Pagoda began during the reign of King Anawrahta and was completed in 1102 AD, during the reign of King Kyansittha of the Pagan Dynasty. The pagoda is believed to enshrine a bone and tooth of Gautama Buddha.”–Wikipedia. White chedis, gold chedis, brick temples, elephants, odd Buddha images, this place has it all in spades, and it looked so amazing glowing in the setting sunlight. This one funny little lady kept following me around telling me to donate money to all of the Buddha images for good luck. I gave her a little bit of cash to take her photo. I spent the rest of the evening eating at Cheriland and visiting a funny little snack / internet shop that had a 7-Eleven banner hanging up out front. Somehow, I get the feeling that this funky, tiny place is not a real 7-Eleven.

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

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