Mandalay Day 2

Jan Leeming

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MANDALAY - Day 2

Date: 3rd November 2016

The day began with a visit to the Morning Market where we purchased various items of food to offer the Buddhist nuns at whose 'convent' we were to take lunch.  It was all very confusing and dark being a covered market - and none of us knew what the others were buying as gifts.  I had a really amusing experience when I saw some very attractive leaves and assuming they were some kind of vegetable I pointed to them and made a gesture that I would like to buy. There was a flurry of activity and before I knew it I'd been presented with the leaves and various other bits and pieces and payment was refused. It was a present and turned out to be all the ingredients for making a Betel 'roll'.  Later we did see how they coat the betel leaf with lime, add betel nuts and various other flavours, then roll and make into small parcels.  I was amazed at the generosity and didn't really understand why but wondered if it would be appropriate to offer the nuns this 'drug'.  Nyi Nyi assured me that the nuns would pass it on to other visitors.  I also bought rice, fruit and vegetables.  Everyone bought generously and we were laden with gifts when we reached the 'Convent'.

The nuns ate separatley whilst Nyi Nyi took us around the building and explained something of their way of life. Then we were served a delicious lunch - I like vegetables very much and in Burma they were always delicately spiced and made interesting.  There were also some chicken dishes but whether this was just for us visitors or not I couldn't ascertain - not knowing whether the nuns were purely vegetarian.

After lunch we went to a large hall containing a Buddha and where the nuns obviously come to pray and chant which they did for us.  We were allowed a Q & A with them and they were delighted to answer our questions. One nun in paricular spoke extremely good English and had a Degree in Psychology.  They were all shaven headed but despite this some of them were very beautiful and the beauty was also radiating from them with their wonderfully infectious smiles.  We all felt very much more at peace with the world when we left them.

In the afternoon we visited a village and saw pottery being made and then on to a family who weaved the most beautiful cloth for longyis (the traditional one piece of material worn by men and women alike).  The same family treated us to a very elaborate tea but we were so replete from lunch we couldn't do justice to the meal.

Our next destination was the legendary U Bein Bridge which crosses the Taungthamen Lake.  It is reputed to be one of two of the longest wooden bridges in the world.  We were here to take a short boat trip onto the lake to enjoy the sunset and to watch local people and robed monks crossing the Teak bridge.   I got some splendid photos but sadly we didn't actually see the sun set. The boatmen saw the approaching thunder clouds and we all beat a hasty retreat back to the shore.

Another action packed day and far too much food.

The beautifully serene nuns http://www.justyou.co.uk

MANDALAY - Day 2

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