landscape image - Burma, the golden shadow
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  • Fly to: Yangon, Burma

  • Internal Transfer: 4 flights to Thandwe, Heho, Mandalay & Bagan

  • Visa required: Yes if British

  • Currency:Myanmar Kyat (MMK)

  • Time Zone:+6hrs30mins GMT

  • Journal:Click here

Day 12, 17/02/11: Burma - The Golden Shadow

This morning I awoke feeling much better, though I still couldn't face any food preferring instead to just hydrate with some electrolytes.

The Sangha sat in meditation outside Roshi's room and once again the timing was spot-on, it just gave me enough space to reconnect with my body. Turns out Jo & Rose were also sick last night.

We headed to the market on the edge of Inle Lake; this seemed a lot more commercial than the market experienced a few days earlier, so Paula, Jo & I headed back out, instead watching Jo as she haggled over little animal weights for opium scales.

Ken took us to see the silk weaving in the afternoon, it was really amazing to watch the women striping the lotus stems for the silken thread encased within.

At a local monastery we put gold leaf on a Buddha statue dedicated to women; the energy was profound. Once again my little inner voice crept into my consciousness, 'so how are you going to stick the gold leaf on to the gold statue without it sticking to your fingers, especially with all these people watching'. The voice of this age old (mis)belief of always fudging things up or doing things wrong is becoming all too familiar to me now... 'I will stick it the best I can & that'll be good enough me old fruit!'

From the monastery a few of us headed out to a Burmese cat centre. It was so funny, Ede had arranged for us to visit the place but on arrival scoffed, 'why do I want to look at cats... I came here to see the building'.

Ede's candour really makes me smile inside & out. Inside a cat sneezed on Jo's bag, whilst she stood trying to fathom whether it was sneeze-matter or sick on her bag, it then jumped inside and proceeded to snot in there as well - thankfully this sparked her into action as knowing Jo's past record on Burmese soil it was only a matter of time before the cat would have taken a cr*p in there as well. As we laughed one of the cats took a standing leap from the floor to the top of her back; incredible, such athleticism.

Ede entered the room just as the food bowls had been laid out. The cats charged, Ede let out a rather curious squeak before promptly disappearing out the nearest door.

At the hotel, Ede, Avyn, Paula, Jo & I drank beer, ordered pizza and chatted. Whilst in mid-flow, Avyn's eyes focused on something to the right of my shoulder. I leapt up, letting out a girly squeal in the process. Attached to the side of my chair (I must add it was at head height) was a huge praying mantis.

The beautiful sun fell from the sky to the gentle, pitter-patter sound of rat's feet as they scurried along the ceiling rafters, back and forth, over and under...