Mandalay- 2 more ancient cities & 2 funny moustaches

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Having lunch in a locals home in Myanmar, sat in the living room…well not exactly…but that is certainly what it felt like!
We had stopped before we crossed the Inwa river for some food in a shack that looked like somebody’s home. It was very retro with 70′s furniture( I recognise as we had some similar in my family home where I grew up) and the toilet was literally a wicker shed with chickens roaming around underneath and when you stood up you could see the countryside- very ‘ slum dog millionaire! ‘ this part was not like my mums house…
We met lots of lovely, chatty children who flocked around us when we got out of our truck , wanting to sell us necklaces made from local Jade. I brought a necklace off one little girls – she then painted some Thanaka on my hand in the shape of a leaf. There are a lot of children working across Myanmar, more than any other country I’ve been to so far…

They showed us the way to the boat and were to buy our tickets…a few other westerners were waiting for us hiding from the afternoon heat so there was at least half a boat full. On the other side we boarded horse and carts and went off to explore the island of Inwa. Thats right horse and cart. It is the local mode of transport on this island. If I thought Yangon was retro, this was something else!
We had a lady driver- she was very nifty with the rains and had big smiling red teeth! She smiled a lot as she couldn’t speak any English and obviously my Burmese isn’t up to much but with a bit of sign language we got by!

We saw several golden pagodas and monasteries amongst the green rice fields one of which was my favourite temple so far!

After Inwa we headed to Amapura….home to the U Bein bridge. This is the place that is photographed a lot to show scenes of Myanmar to the world, especially when the sun sets behind the bridge. Unfortunately there was no sun on this day, it had been replaced with a grey sky but we got a boat anyway and a big Myanmar beer to go with it. Our driver/ rower was a lovely man and he definitely thought we were a little bit mad.Little tipsy me thinks!

After a bit of Dutch courage, Kristina and I then went for a walk on this famous bridge. It is made entirely out of wood, it’s very high, wobbly in places with some holes in…oh and it has no sides/barriers…just a big drop off if you trip up! Yikes!

I took millions of photos of monks, women with trays on their heads, people riding bikes wearing the large weaved pointy hats, locals waving and more monks…We also saw water buffalos bathing, and it was beautiful but alas….no sunset!

We spent an evening in Mandalay watching the ‘Moustache Brothers’ show. These guys are quite famous across Myanmar as a while back their comedy show got them into quite a bit of trouble! From my understanding, they told jokes about the state of the government and bascically took the p**s out of them too! The government didn’t take kindly to this and after several warnings one of the brothers was thrown in jail.
They live on…and after he was released from prison they continued their show. The other brother learnt some English and now they perform to nosey tourists. They have roped in the help of their wives and friends to put on a performance of dance and sketches to show the various tribes and cultures across Myanmar and its all done in a very slap stick kind of way.
The brothers posed for photos with everyone, lapping up the attention and It looks to me like its paying off too… I noticed the building was undergoing work and had all new wiring and floors…who knows maybe in the next few years they could grow into a big stage show? It was certainly a different way to spend an evening…even if I was laughing for the wrong reasons…

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