Waving goodbye to our house ‘mama’ at Yo Yo Lay Guesthouse in Mandalay, we set off on the 8:00 bus to Bagan. We were told it would only be a 5 hour bus ride, but it turned out to be about 9 hours. I knew from the minute we got on it was going to be a long ride, as we were in the front two seats and the bus driver started blasting his horn from the moment he turned the key in the ignition. Every time he saw a car, a cow, or even nothing, he would lay down on the horn, effectively blasting my eardrums. The ride took so long because we stopped every half hour to drop off a package, pick up a random passerby, or for the bus driver to simply take a smoke break. When we got to Bagan, we were told we could go no further in the bus and were crammed into the back of a pickup, stopping to pay the 20$ Bagan entrance fee, which all the foreigners grudgingly handed over.
The next day was a day of temple touring and sightseeing. The temples were truly stunning, although a bit repetitive after a while. My favorites were the ones a bit off the beaten tourist track, where you could sit in solitude within the cool stone walls of the temple and just enjoy the peacefulness. I also met a couple of young Burmese boys who had started coin collections from all over the world. Showing me the quarter, he was very unimpressed to realize it was George Washington, not Obama on the coin. I also gave them some stickers I had left over from teaching, which they adored.
It’s a universal fact- kids love stickers everywhere.
The next day my stomach was off and I wasn’t too eager to do another day of riding around in the hot sun, so I did some long overdue yoga on the roof. We made it back out for sunset at the temples, which was a beautiful sight. When we returned to our guesthouse, the sweet owner heard I was feeling sick and made me a Burmese ‘herbal remedy’ to help soothe my stomach. It consisted of a spoonful of honey and some kind of powder mix, followed by hot water. I was a little hesitant, but surprisingly my stomach was feeling better by the morning.