The roar of the motorboats (our alarm clock of yester morn), seemed like a purr today, which meant for a bit of a sleep in; most pleasant. Our short time at the Paramount Inle Resort is at an end, and while the service has been very energetic and eager from all staff, in the restaurant it hasn’t been exactly competent! It’s been below ordinary, actually, with waiters often only taking the order of one or two people of our party of four, then leaving, giving the order to the kitchen and coming back for the others. Even when the orders were taken together, there were very long gaps between dishes arriving. They need some training here!
We had another morning excursion before heading back to Heho airport. Of course it involved another very pleasant boat ride through these delightful villages to the big markets. Now THIS was a sensory overload experience – a cacophony of sights, smells and sounds: pigs snuffling at the waters edge through the rubbish, live fish wriggling on woven mats on the ground, puppies squealing in pain or terror before being silenced, and the less disturbing, but relentless, ‘You pay…Just looking!’ from the vendors to every Westerner passing, with a quirky combo of asking us to buy and parroting every shoppers response. Even getting ashore to the markets was an ordeal – our boatman could only get us so far, and we had to climb over, on and through other boats to clamber ashore! (see pic below). We became quite agile after all this boat experience!
After docking at ‘Jetty Town’ (Nyanugshwe) we stopped at a couple of ‘points of interest’ on our way to the airport. First off was a 200 year old teak monastery – Shwe Yaunghwe Kyaung, a rough, almost fragile looking structure from the outside, perched on solid logs to keep it safe from the floods. It was filled with 12-16 year old boys sitting cross-legged, chanting and swaying, as they recited their book off by heart.
Visiting an umbrella making shop was, surprisingly, one of the highlights of the many similar ventures we’ve embarked on in our time here. This small shop on the side of the road held some truly exquisite hand made items, but the umbrellas really were simply beautiful. The husband and wife team, aided by their teenage daughter, and occasionally hampered by their gorgeous toddler son, made every piece of the prettiness by hand – from the pressed flower paper to the genius mechanism made of bamboo that opens and closes the umbrella. The work was immaculate, but there was nothing that could be taken home to Australia with its ‘no untreated wood, no plant matter’ laws. The man was a gentle, intelligent, skilled and patient soul, and his work truly was artful.
Our flight was delayed from Heho (not unusual in Myanmar), and we arrived at our hotel about 6:40pm (even though the distance between Heho and Bagan is not great, it was another ‘bus trip’ style flight going via Mandalay). Luckily, our resort is only 10 minutes or so from the airport (shame it is not a place we are flying out of!). This hotel is our last of the ‘Amazing’ chain – Amazing Bagan Resort (next to the golf course). This place has lush gardens, a lovely pool and looks the ‘bizz’, but is, once again, lacking in the service department – especially the restaurant (glad we only used it for breakfast).
We had dinner at Black Bamboo restaurant, which was completely packed on a Wednesday night. Service was slow and full of hiccups, but our waitress was absolutely lovely, delightful, so none of us really minded much. We weren’t one of the 2 or 3 parties who left because they were sick of the wait for service!
Our travel agent on this trip was Kyaw Khaing at One Stop Myanmar. He handled all of our internal flights, transfers and tours. We were very impressed with his efficiency, helpfulness, excellent advice, friendliness and price!