The sound of a horse trotting on tarmac is like somebody running with their high heels, clop-clop-clop clop. Our driver can speak minimal English and we cannot speak any Burmese, so our conversation with the driver is rather limited and the conversation will involve a lot of hand gestures and expressions. We asked our driver what is the name of his horse and he said ‘Osaka’, we then asked why he named his horse after a Japanese city but I think this was too complicated to be conveyed by body movements and English, so he just shook his head and smiled. But after some pondering – I think what he was trying to say was ‘horse cart’ and we jumped to the conclusion that he was saying Osaka.
Our driver seemed to be a cruel master, he whipped Osaka ever so often and scold it every other second, the scolding sound like this..’aiyaaa alaaa hooya..mama’ then something that sounded like a whine, then give the horse a whip on the side then repeat ‘ aiyaaa alllaaa hooyaa mama…’
Extracted From http://www.orientalarchitecture.com/myanmar/bagan/mino.php : Minochantha Stupa Group (built c. 1112). The small Minochantha (also Minochanta) group features the stupa erected under orders of King Kyansittha, who had fallen seriously ill around 1112 AD. A Ceylonese king had sent Kyansittha nine relics of the Buddha as a tribute. According to the marker on the site, the king enshrined the relics in a stupa and said “I am quite old enough, with this meritorious deed may I be free from diseases, may I live a longer life. May the sasana [the Buddhist movement] be flourished. Thus this stupa was named as Min-O-Chantha.” Alas, the king died the following year.
We stepped into the cozy restaurant and a waitress told us that for 30,000K ( a bit less than RM11) we get to enjoy the Myanmar buffet. Yes, please- we would like that very muchie. Dishes of food start to appear on the table. The way the Myanmar buffer work is > free refills ! The spread include – deep fried fish and deep fried chicken, curry chicken, stew fatty pork, blanched pumpkin shoots, fried bean sprouts, a guord of some sort, pumpkin plus bean, chili paste, sourish paste. I liked the Myanmar buffet, there are so many choices, and if you don’t like one dish, there are others to choose from. Taste wise was rather nice too. (Chinese)Tea were also provided.
After a few refills of fatty pork, fried fish/chicken, curry and vegetables- we finally allowed the waitress some rest and then it was dessert time..watermelon, some brown chunks of thingies and a bowl with three compartment were brought to our table-the only familiar thing out of the three was the watermelon ! we asked the waitress to show us how to eat what was in the bowl. She took a small spoon, scoop up the green mushy fibrous looking stuff, then scooped the stringy stuff and the deep fried nuts and sesame. Then she passed me what was on the spoon. I took a bite and Voila ! I likeyy…this dessert is called Laphet – the mushy stuff is pickled tea leaves (I wouldn’t have guessed !), the stringy bits were ginger shreds. The combination of the tea leaves, ginger and nut was a bit of sour, a bit of spice and then the fragrant and crunch of the fried beans and sesame seeds. The dark brown chunks which looked like blocks of belacan turned out to be palm sugar- these were not sweet but slightly sourish – tasted like tamarind (asam) sweets and yet rich. W.Hoong made a funny face when he bit into it and keep on saying ‘sour sour sour’ and yet he kept eating chunk after chunk of these palm sugar and even took some with him when we left the restaurant..i think he liked these too much..
Aiyaaa alllaaa hooyaa mama…
The arch led us image of the south facing Buddha – Kassapa. We overheard a tour guide telling his charge that the architecture of this image is special because the smile of the Buddha changes from a slight smile to a fuller smile when you move away from it..
Ananda temple has four large Buddha image facing the four directions. The Buddha images are over 9 meter high and said to be made out of solid teak wood. Below is a picture of the north facing Buddha image –Kakusandha. On the left hand, the Buddha is shown holding something in his left hand. Extract from Wikipedia : is shown holding, between the thumb and middle finger, a small nutlike sphere – a herb. This herb is said to symbolically represent the Buddha suggesting dhamma ( Buddhist philosophy) as a cure for misery and distress.
The west facing Buddha – Gotama .Extracted from Wikipedia – the abhaya mudra is displayed – with hands outstretched in the gesture of fearlessness. At the feet of this Buddha two life-size statues made in lacquer representing the crowned figure of King Kyanzittha kneeling piously in prayer, and Shin Arahan, the Mon monk who converted the King into Theravada Buddhism
After enjoying the coolness of the indoors, we venture out into the exterior of Ananda Paya. There is a legend behind the temple- extracted from Wikipedia : The legend associated with building of this temple ended in tragedy to the builders. Eight monks who approached the King Kyanzittha seeking alms gave a graphic description of the Nandamula Cave temple in the Himalayas where they had meditated. When the king invited them to the palace to hear more details, the monks invoked their meditative psychic skills and vividly explained to the King, the landscape of the place they had lived. The King, pleased with this show of their skills, requested the monks to build a temple in the middle of the Bagan plains creating cool conditions in the temple. After the monks completed the temple construction, the King, in order to retain the uniqueness of the temple, got the architects (monks) killed to ensure that another similar structure was not built by them anywhere else.
While we were busy taking pictures around the temple grounds, an elderly man was standing a few feet away and waving at us and pointing at the spot that he is standing. We ignored him at first ( well, not sure what he was up to lahh), but finally we gave in, and we started to follow him around the scenic spots. And this is the spot where you can take a picture of the three stone lions…
Our communication with our incidental ‘tour guide’ was in English which involved a repetitive of words like ‘ old, original, take picture, good, hahahaha ‘ – limited conversation but I think we managed pretty well. After that little tour, we gave Uncle a small token of appreciation ( 1000K) and parted ways. Send Uncle our regards if you see him at Ananda Paya..
We had a small incident where a bag containing our shawls and sweater fell off the cart onto the tarmac …luckily there weren’t any horsey poo-poo on the road and we managed to retrieve the runaway bag sans horse poo poo..
On the way back to the guest house , the weather was getting kinda chilly and the sky was already dark and it was just a bit over 6 p.m. I had to use my shawl to keep away the cold. When we arrived at the guest house, we paid the driver 150,000K as rental for the day, bid Adieu to Osaka .See ya tomorrow !!
At first, nobody wanted to go for dinner- I guess we were tired and we did have a late lunch and the Myanmar buffet was rather filling…then after further discussion (and the not so attractive option of having bone dry biscuits for dinner), we decided to go for a stroll down the street to look for a place to have a light dinner. We walked past a few shops and finally settled for Fuji Restaurant. There were a large variety of choices including Japanese food , we later found out that the owner is Japanese, hence the name ( although we were left wondering about the Doreamon sticker on the signboard)
After our dinner we walk past a second hand book shop which had only Burmese books on sale. We need to get some drinking water and stopped an the convenience store, they were priced at 3,000K for a 1.5L bottle- which was the same price at the guest house, but after some negotiation, we paid 2,500K…
Showered and got ready for bed. It felt as if we had been in Myanmar for many days, but this was just our second night here…Night night