Valentine’s day at a monastery

Valentine’s day at a monastery

Pictures as always on the bottom of the post!

After India, we took a pitstop in Malaysia and then headed to Myanmar. We spent some time in Yangon and Bagan, but that’s a different story I might tell later. I feel we’re so busy I rarely have time to update. So here’s the story of Valentine’s Day at a monastery or more so of our trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake!

Early in the morning we got ready to meet our group and guide for a 60km trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake. Our guide, an 18 year old cool Burmese girl promised us to take us through non-touristy parts and over some mountains, hopeful we started walking! Our group was a bunch of cool people, but 3 germans, 3 french and Kevin the lonely American! French and Germans are just everywhere!
After some hiking through gorgeous countryside, over railway tracks, through Villages and fields, we found ourselves 20km later in a small village of a pao-tribe, where we would sleep in the house of a Pao-tribe family. While we waited for food to be cooked, we wandered around the village, danced to a kid banging a drum, played the flipflop game with villager kids (we haven’t quite understood the rules, it seems they just randomly throw flipflops and it never became obvious to us how to win). Made some Burmese girls giggle (oh the giggles in this country!) and exchanged a ton of smiles with enthusiastically waving villagers.
Finally dinner was done, extremely good food, enormously nutritious. I know that’s weird to say but somehow I expected to be eating fried noodle or rice every meal every day on this trek.

While we were eating, a bunch of villagers all hurried into the small room next to us and we heard cheerful laughs. When we were ready to go to bed, the villagers invited us in. About 10 people, sitting in their kitchen (well basically just a fire place on the floor), laughing and talking. They shared their Rum, Ricewine and green tea with us. They didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Pao or Burmese, so our conversations were all fingers and hands! Burmese people are the most innocent, happy friendly people. They laugh along even if they don’t understand, they’re humble and so happy even if they own nothing. It’s inspiring. It turned out to be the most random, fun night we had in a while.

The next day our guide took us over a mountain and through villages and we saw as promised absolutely no tourists, except the people in our group! It was sweet. The villages we walked through were all so happy and friendly and when we greeted them with Mingalarbar (Burmese greeting), they would poke each other and break out in joyful laughter. It was refreshing and sweet!

We bathed in a river that women did their laundry in and a guy washed his cow!
In the evening we reached another 20km away, a monastery in the hills. I tried myself in some night star photography, which I have always sucked at, but there were soooo many stars! More than I’ve ever seen in my life. The whole sky! I vote for decreasing light pollution in Europe! Check the crappy results further down 😉 The monks asked us to go to sleep at 9pm, so it was an early night and woke up to the 14th of February, Valentine’s Day! Can you imagine a better location for a couple on Valentine’s Day than a monastery?

We ended the day at Inle Lake, which we crossed by boat and found a place to stay and rest our blistered feet!

It was an amazing experience! We normally hate guided tours (there’s a blog coming about it soon!), but this was the best!

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