Today was our ninth day in Myanmar, and our first day at Inle Lake. Our day started early. We departed the hotel in Mandalay to make our 8:40 flight to Heho Airport. After landing, we drove to our hotel past deforested lands, markets and shops. We spent some time walking around the Five Day Market, a large market that sells things from jeans to toothbrushes to fish and occurs once every five days. This was very different from any sort of farmers market that we see at home, and much larger than any other market that we have seen thus far. There was a lot of bargaining with prices, something we have seen just about everywhere in Myanmar. This is different than at home, where there is always a set price and no negotiation. After the market, we divided into groups of five and boarded small boats. The boats were unstable so it became a team effort to find the perfect balance as to not tip the boat. It was a beautiful ride filled with views of mountains and small huts on the riverside. We saw fishermen that are different from the fishermen that you would see at home. These men each have their own small canoe and used their foot and oar to move along the river. After lunch we took another boat ride through a fishing village. These villagers homes are built out of bamboo and wood and are right on the water. Rows upon rows of houses are built on stilts above the water, it was amazing. The people were so friendly, waving to us, coming out of there houses and peeking out there windows to say hello, it was so great to see that. I think that because this whole idea of tourism is so new to these people they get so excited seeing people and showing them how they live, but in a few years when tourism in Myanmar becomes greater the people will be less excited and rather more annoyed and over the idea.
We continued to a silk factory where we were able to witness the making of string and then how that string would be turned into beautiful silk pieces. The work place was old fashioned. Everything here was done both by hand and with the help of handmade wooden machines; this was nothing like what you would see in todays American factories. Now that Myanmar is no longer isolated from the world they will be open to the newest technology that would make their lives so much easier, but I hope that the places like the silk factory that we visited today will always stay old fashioned and in a sense more pure. These traditional ways make the things that they produce that much more valuable in my opinion. As we headed back we passed through a small farm village where right on the water tomatoes are grown, going through that area I probably got some of the best photos I will take this whole trip, I was gorgeous. Our day ended with yet another delicious meal and the anticipation for another great day in Myanmar to follow.