Friday, June 8, 2012

Actually on the Inle Lake

The day starts about 5:30am when the noise of the boats also begins.  Today we had a half day trip booked to visit a market, some cottage industry on the lake shores and to finish with lunch at a special destination. This trip cost us 15k

As we came down yesterday we had seen the floating islands where people were tending crops of tomatoes and other crops. 

Market Parking and Fresh Fish

Local shopping is down at the 5 day market.  Each day the market moves location on a 5 day schedule.  Today the market was nearby so it was our 1st stop of the day.  We walked around the many stalls looking at the fresh fish, vegetables and rice cakes. 

5 day market

The drug stall was a new one for us.  Amoxicillan or Ciprofloxacin anyone?

We also picked up a number of cans of beer at least half the cost of those at the hotel.

Eventually we returned to our boat and were ferried firstly to a blacksmith.  There are a lot of local knives for sale and this village is one of the sources of these items.  The coals where brought to temperature by a hand pump bellows arrangement and 3 men with sledgehammers beat the metal while still hot enough.

blacksmith
From there we went to a lotus weaving workshop.  It was interesting seeing the strands of the lotus stalk being extracted and spun into lotus silk thread.  This is only done around the Inle Lake area and given the time consuming nature it is 7 times more expensive than silk.  It was however not pleasant being given the hard-sell on buying woven items from the workshop.

lotus weaving

We have said we did not want to visit the cheroot village but we were too early for lunch so our boatman was searching for places to take us to fill in time.  In the end it was interesting seeing the process, even if we didn’t like the actual product.

Cheroots

Our last stop was the boat building village.  Again the level of hard-sell on their little wooden items for sale was unpleasant but the actual boats being built were very interesting.  It takes 5 men 1 calendar month to build a boat and these cost between US$2,000 – $3,000 each.  There are now power tools instead just simple saws, drills & bits, planes etc.

Boat Building

The path through the houses and the people washing and living on the lake were fascinating.

houses 2houses

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