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Mrauk U

TEXT GOES HERE (when I take time to write any)

Ok, here we are setting out from the boat jetty in Sittwe for the four-hour boat ride up the river to Mrauk U. It's only four hours because we got a fast boat; on the normal boat the trip takes 8 or 9 hours. Four of us chartered this boat for $40 US.
The rivers are the main mode of travel in this part of Myanmar. There are practically no roads, but there's a nice river network. Here's some guy going somewhere...
We found this really nice place to stay in Mrauk U, and it still seems odd to find such a nice resort out here in the boonies. I think they're guessing that Mrauk U will boom the way Bagan did, but until tourists can get here in less than three days, with boat trips and all that, I can't see it happening.
So we headed out to see all the archaeological goodies Mrauk U has to offer. Here's a couple of cool old statuettes we found out in the field.
Here's a nice little temple with a shady hut in front. This temple has buddhas all around the outside, then of course the main one inside.
Another little friend and his companion.
Here's the interior Buddha. No Buddha in this country goes untended; even in the old out-of-the-way places people care for and pray to the Buddhas. I have never seen such an active religion...
Here's the view from a pagoda on a hill, with another follower coming up to check us out. Not many foreigners make it to this neck of the woods, so we were even more of a novelty than normal.
This was a cool place. I've just noticed that most of the pagoda pictures I selected for this section are interiors, as that's where the really cool stuff is, so this is about the only exterior shot in this collection. Quite different from Bagan, where the exteriors were more interesting than the interiors.
For example! Here's what I think looks like a garage outside a pagoda. It's a garage that's home to a lot of cool Buddhas, though, as you can see below.
I can accept that they had to put in the floor for some reason, but I don't see eye-to-eye with them on color selection.
Here's some of the Buddhas lining the walls.
Here's this really nice carved wall with Buddhas. I didn't see this kind of wall carving anywhere else... it kind of reminds me more of India than Myanmar. The wall was around an entrance to a pagoda, and there were six Buddhas on each side of the door. This photo shows the wall best, though, which was the really impressive part.
Now here is a really cool wall in the tunnel of one temple. It kind of looks like these things were carved in blocks and then attached to the wall, but I don't know.
Here's a corner in the same tunnel. The light was so bad I didn't end up getting a clear photo (I still refuse to use the flash), so I'm a little disappointed. I thought this one was going to be better.
Now this was cool. This had that kind of overgrowny look I like, like you discover some old temple out in the jungle or something, Indiana Jones and whatnot. So it satisfied that desire. But the coolest part of this place was what lay underground in the tunnels...
Here's the bottom of the stairs to the tunnel. The top of these tunnels collapsed at some point, so we get some natural light coming in... enough for some good photos!
This place just rocked. I mean rocked. There have to be a billion of these little buddhas carved into the wall...
Here's a shot of one of the walls so you can see.
And here's a part of the entryway that sun gets to. Man.
Here's one of the entries to the tunnels.
And here's the guy waiting to getcha when you get to the bottom of the stairs.
Here's another tunnel full of buddhas.
Morning on the veranda; coffe, cigarettes and The Sun Also Rises.
As far as the town of Mrauk U goes, here's the main drag. The rest of the town was typical Myanmar village, with the grass houses and stuff. I didn't get any photos of that.
Here's a shot from the bridge downtown. It's really hitting home at this point how few photos I took around town. Still, I have a couple more.
Here's a raft of bamboo either waiting to be shipped down the river or having just arrived. I don't know which way the bamboo commerce runs.
What do you do when it's hot out (as it was indeed)? Play in the river! Whee!
Look at the booger hanging out of that white guy's nose!
Sam slept a lot. Attractive. At least I didn't take this photo earlier when you could see his berries.
I climbed through the underbrush up the hill to a pagoda behind the hotel at 6:30 one morning to catch the sunrise. Am I glad I did!
This one is actually before the sun crested the horizon, facing east.
The sun was just peeking over the horizon and slowly illuminating the hills and pagodas. The grey stuff is actually not mist, but smoke from cooking fires accumulating in the valleys. Hm, this one looks much better in high resolution. Oh well. All in the name of bandwidth.
Wow.

Now on to Sittwe and Yangon.

On to the next gallery!