Bitten in Bagan…




A horse and cart picked us up at 4.30am. We went to the highest temple again as its meant to have the best view for sunrise. It’s nice and cool ( a mere 30 degrees) as we trot between the temples – I love the sound.
On arrival at the temple, the highest temple in Bagan called Thatbyinnyu Pahto, it seemed we were the first to arrive. Kristina said to me ” it’s a bit scary isn’t it?” And I had no idea just how scary it was about to get.

We checked with our cart driver which side of the temple the sunrises on and walked around to the back to climb up.

As I approached the stairs, some dogs started to bark. I couldn’t see them as it was dark so I put my torch on. There seemed to be more and more barking as I approached the stairs. It felt like we were being surrounded by a pack. Kristina was behind me.
One dog approached me barking loudly and although it was loud and aggressive looking I kept walking and moved past it towards the stairs…then it sunk it’s teeth into my leg from behind! I screamed and I felt it rip off my flip flop which gave me a chance to run away – I thank god now that at this point I had reached the stairs as there is only one set on each side of the temple….I scurried up them barely able to see in the dark
It seemed my scream may have scared them off as Kristina was quickly behind me. I was so shocked – I couldn’t believe I had been bitten by a dog! I then couldnt stop saying ‘ I’ve been bitten!’ I ran further up the stairs to look at my leg with my torch and could still hear the dogs barking below…I was shaking like mad!

Luckily only one fang had punctured my skin close the my ankle and I had teeth marks around the back of my leg – just scratches but they stung.

I hobbled around to the far side of the temple incase our cart driver had heard me and could get me out of there, I then bumped into a small group of tourists. I must of looked like a crazy person, as straight away asked me if I was ok.
I said ‘ not really – I’ve just been bitten by a crazy dog’ the look on one woman’s face! I couldn’t see our driver as it was still dark and he must have parked far away…’ shit I thought… What if the dog has got rabies?!’ I started to feel really panicked…what if I couldn’t get down and the dog came back for me…
Just then a man approached me and asked me if I was alright. It turned out he was the guide with the small group. He was lovely and spoke great English. He had alerted the dog owner ( great it was a dog with an owner!) and made me wash the wound with water. There wasn’t too much blood then.
The owner then climbed up with some iodine and cotton wool and the kind man washed it and cleaned it for me. He then asked the man if the dog was infected with anything. He said no and that the dog was probably trying to protect its children and the house. As I looked over the edge I could see about 6 of the dogs were puppies and there was mum and dad. Mum had bit me. Although this calmed me a little I then had to say to the owner that he should lock up the dogs when he knows people are going to visiting the temple at sunrise and sunset! The kind man translated for me but I could tell it made him feel uncomfortable.
The ironic thing is that just outside the entrance to the temple there is a massive sign which says ‘ Take care of Tourists!’ yeah right!

I asked the owner of he could find my flip flop ‘ it should be at the bottom of the stairs ‘ I said. He went down and I watched him as he searched for it. It wasn’t near the bottom of the stairs. He walked across the grounds and pulled it out of a bush by the side of a shrine.
As he walked back up the steps to return it to me, I started to get really upset and a few tears came as I watched mum running around below…what if I hadn’t been near the stairs to run up and away? I could have been mauled and part of my leg could have been in that bush!?

As he handed me my flip flop, straight away I noticed a big tooth mark at the back. I felt relieved that it hadn’t also been in my leg and started to shake a bit.

I sat down and calmed a bit as more and more people entered and climed the stairs totally unaware about what had just happened and generally shooting me funny looks ‘ why is she crying? The sun hasn’t even risen yet?’
We decided to wait for sunrise and be escorted away from the temple and the dogs. It was a beautiful sunrise but I couldn’t appreciate it.
Once back with the cart driver, he said he was aware of the dogs and that they go after tourists…great I thought, thanks for the warning!
He drove me to the doctors which was already open at 6.30am. How bizarre I thought…imagine if there was a real emergency and a horse and cart were charging through the streets to the hospital…this image made me glad it wasn’t an emergency for me!
We trotted passed monks out in the roads on their morning alms procession. It’s always such a calming sight.
The doctor was very casual about it all stating that there is no rabies in Myanmar which made me feel a lot better. He washed and dressed the bite but it was the scratches that stung the most as he poured iodine on it. He gave me 3 lots of tablets and told me to rest it and fingers crossed there will be no infection.
I’m writing this the day after the incident while it’s still fresh in my mind ( and I’m on yet another long bus journey so…) so far I have no signs of rabies so it’s reassuring that I shouldn’t die and fingers crossed no infection.

However it may scar, if not on my leg in my mind…it’s not something I’m going to forget about Myanmar but I’m writing this now so maybe in time it will fade…as I don’t want to be afraid of dogs now…but yet again it’s another sign of now life is for the living as you never know when a crazy dog may maul you!!!