Flying over Myanmar it was looking dry and some of the river beds are just sand. But once the rainy season starts it'll be quite a different story.
The soil is a rich terracotta colour,
but despite being resource rich Myanmar is still a relatively poor nation.
So it was a delight to find that our hotel had been recently renovated and our room and balcony where about four times larger than last nights one! Still it was fans in the bathroom and roses on the welcome letter but not swans on the bed....
From our balcony we can see far to the surrounding hills, but the heat haze meant it was just a shadow of itself today. Can you see all the golden towers of the stupas? The middle one is still under construction; as if there aren't already enough!
We had a welcome cocktail on the roof terrace before our late afternoon bike check and ride to a local vineyard. It was still very warm at 4 pm as we left to collect the bikes, so I can only imagine how hot it's going to be in the day time.
We paused awhile at our first stupa. Loved the little elephant which was one of many animals around the base of one of the plinths.
Then I spied this little pot left in a road side 'cupboard'.. Just love the colours and slight wonkiness of it all.
The local houses are fascinating. Mostly constructed from woven palm on wooden stilts I've yet to discover if there is any meaning behind the different woven patterns. Or is it like patchwork, you just piece the shapes which appeal to you?
Collectively the homesteads can look quite scruffy, but full of character.
I have no idea what Alex is doin here!
To the right is a traditionally woven house, in the middle wooden planks have been used to strengthen the structure while the left hand one looks to be made of prefabricated steel and with turquoise cladding to top it off and to weather proof the whole building.
When they do new buildings there's always an impressive set of steps to lead you inside. The colour inspired by the colour of the local soil?
Rice is important to the Burmese diet, and it is now grown 3x per year. This farmer is using ( and if you squint hard enough you'll just spot them) water buffalo to plough the paddy.
It's still a very Intensive labour crop, here the young rice plants are bein sown by hand.
I'm afraid to say we left them to their back breaking work and continued our cycle up to the local winery. Who knew wine was made in Myanmar? No, I hadn't know it was either.
Sitting on top of a hill, I expect the views on a clear day are stunning. But with the hazy today we just had to dream about it.
There were two whites and two reds for tasting. The second white and both Reds were most agreeable, although it did then require you to keep your wits about you as you cycled back to the hotel...
Fortunately we all missed this road traffic obstical!