Monday, February 29, 2016

Last Views. Nyaung Shwe Five Day Market & Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery.

Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery.

Happy Leap Year day! We made our way from Nyaung Shwe to Yangon today. The nearest airport to Nyaung Shwe is the same one in Heho that we had arrived at from Bagan a few days ago. On the way to the airport, we made a quick stop at the 5 Day Market in Nyaung Shwe.  The market is called the 5 Day Market because the between 5 different locations over a 5 day period. Today, it just so happened that today was Nyaung Shwe's day to host the market. How lucky are we?

After the market, we stopped at Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery which is definitely worth visiting..

It was an early morning start.  We were breakfast before 7a and by 8a were in the lobby to check out.

View of the canal from the hotel restaurant's balcony.  You can see the long boats on the water.

One last look at the view of Nyaung Shwe from our hotel room.

Nyaung Shwe.

It was a short drive to the market.   By now, we had already been to two local markets and so I only took a few photos.  It was time for me to just take in the sights and sounds and not be so preoccupied about capturing images for remembering the experience at a later time.  It was a lively place - full of sights, sounds, and smells that you expect to see in a small town Asian market.  Since the basically operates only once a week, it was filled with local people stocking up on food ingredients.



Even with so many market visits under my belt, there are still some things that I see that I've not seen elsewhere.  Like these avocados which I never expected to see in Myanmar.  I've not eaten any on my trip so far.  Unlike the varieties we get in the US, these are round shaped.




Then there were these tube shaped things with something inside the tube.  Have no clue what they are and I was too far away from Polo to ask him.




Sorry for the blurry video.  I really have to get my lens repaired when I get home.



One thing you definitely do not see in a US market is freshly slaughtered poultry.  In Asia, no part of an animal is wasted so here the woman is cleaning the intestines which will show up in a dish on someone's meal table.


In some countries I've been to, it's the men that handle the meat but in Myanmar, I would sale that most of the meat vendors I've seen have been women.  These women are very skilled at butchering meat!


I just had to take this photo of a young woman selling ducklings.  Her son couldn't be bothered with the baby ducks; he was more preoccupied with the plastic bags.


Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery is located enroute to Heho Airport.   If you are flying to Yangon from Inle Lake, you will likely stop here.  Compared to all the other monasteries, we've visited on this trip, this one is very modest - both on the outside and the inside.

Most of the monks here are young boys - novice monks.  The monastery not only provides the boys with an education but as with so many monasteries in  poor regions, it also provides meals more than they would have at their home.  In many ways, you can look at these monasteries as boarding schools of sorts except the boys get to live and study here free of charge.  Mind you, not every boy grows up to be an adult monk though as some will decide that the monastic life is not for them.

Shwe Yan Pyay is a teak monastery that was built about 150 years ago.  Photographers are attracted to its unique oval-shape windows which serve as eye-catching frames when novice monks stand to look out.  For this photo taker, there was not a novice monk in sight, anywhere near the windows.


The entrance was on the side, up a set of white painted steps.  We left our shoes at the base of the steps before proceeding up.






We arrived just around the time when a few novice monks had begun to pray and chant.  I decided to discretely shoot some video instead of taking photos as I didn't want the sound of my camera shutter to disturb them.


On the monastery grounds, there is a small temple that is home to a collection of small Buddha images, which have been donated by the local and foreign pilgrims, and some unusual small, brick corridors.   I was pleasantly surprised to see the richly colored painted walls.  All in all, although it's a small temple, I think it was worth visiting.



Each small Buddha image was displayed in a niche with a small plaque imprinted with the donor's name.


Above some of the niches was bas relief work that I think depicted scenes from the life of Buddha.













At Heho Airport, Polo helped get us checked in.  Because of the fact that we spent a lot of time traveling on boats, we really didn't have a lot of opportunity to talk with him and know him better.  But I have to say, that for the time that we did spend with him, he took great effort to explain things to us and took great care of us.  As I slipped the tip into his hand, I just hoped it reflected how grateful we were for his services.

Now, it's on to Yangon!