Inle Lake

Lake region, fascinating stilt houses, rowing with the legs, and unique crafts.

The toilet at the bus stop between Thazi and Inle Lake.  It's actually pretty easy to use.  You're supposed to wash up with the water in the trough there.  I used toilet paper, though.Pear-apples and flowers for sale at the bus stop.

My hotel room in Inle Lake, at the Remember Inn.Selling roasted sunflower seeds and a strange large bitter nut, steamed.  I tried it, and although I didn't like it at first, it kind of grew on me.

My guide and I took a bike ride (using clunky one-speeds, but comfortable seats) around the lake area.Tutu at a rice mill.  He's standing on a pile of rice hulls, and next to him is a tractor that's used in the rice fields.  I don't think it was working, though.

A water buffaloInle Lake, from a hilltop temple

We biked through a monastery, and saw Buddhist novices, doing road work.These little sheets drying in front of a house are made out of cooked and mashed up beans.  They're eaten in curries.

Here the beans are first ground, then cooked into a paste, then steamed, dried and sliced up for use in curries.(In case you haven't guessed yet, beans are a huge part of the local economy here).  Beans, roasted like popcorn with salt as a snack.  I bought some--very tasty.

This woman is rolling bean paste into balls, which were then flattened and dried.An oil mill, with the owners. They pressed oil out of peanuts and seasame seeds.

We hired a woman to take us on a short tour of the lake.  Here's she's doing the leg rowing that's traditional in Inle Lake.I met Stephie in Bangkok, and we ended up traveling together a little.  Here she is with the "bible" (the Lonely Planet guidebook to Burma).

More leg rowing, with the fish traps that are traditional to this area.Stephanie and I and two other women took a boat trip around Inle Lake.  These souvenir vendors in small canoes held on to the boat as soon as it slowed down, either 2 or 3 canoes on each side, and tried to interest us in their wares.

Pao tribeswoman, in their traditional black costume. Here they're selling pickled tea and sesame seeds.Myra, bargaining with a souvenir vendor.  They didn't know numbers in English, but had numbers written down sequentially in 1000s on a cigarette carton, and would point to them.

A typical house on stilts at Inle LakeThe round gold things in the picture are Buddha images.  They've had so much gold leaf plastered on them that they look like shapeless blobs.  Notice the "ladies are prohibited" sign at the bottom.

Spinning silk.One long thread of silk is wrapped around a frame, and then pieces are separated by being tied off so they can be dyed individually.  It formed a very distinctive pattern when it was woven.

This is the dyed silk being woven.  Her hands are moving very quickly!At a blacksmith shop, making crude knives.

Cutting cowbells out of a 55 gallon drumInle Lake is famous for its floating vegetable gardens.  These are tomatoes.

The monks at this temple on Inle Lake got bored, and trained cats to jump through hoops.I never knew this, but apparently the fiber from lotus flower stems can be extracted and woven.  The extraction takes a long time, and the cloth is extremely expensive.

A recliner with a swing-out foot rest.Transporting large baskets on the lake.

I tried to carry this woman's load, which sounded like a bunch of recycled bottles.  What does it feel like to carry something on your head?  Not very stable, at least for me.A black market gas station.  These were everywhere on the road, because gasoline is rationed.