We received the following document from IVA - Tue Y .
Hope you will enjoy reading it.
Myanmar: Lake Inle
A trip to Lake Inle is a fast passage through customs, foods, traditions, culture, art, faith: the life of Myanmar.
Lake Inle is a fascinating lake, full of pictures that remain impressed in the mind so we will try to share some of them with you, as much as we can.
A day that begins at dawn on the small jetty of Nyangshwe where we embark when the sparkling air -also due to the 900m of altitude- and the low mist on the water surface creates a mottled atmosphere and great effect .
The boats are light, with four seats each and have a small motor, driven by very young lads: you need to know the lake deeply to navigate it because the bottom is not deep (1.5m-3m, at most, after the rainy season) and the plants that arise abundantly in the water create an intricate tangle that could easily blocks the propellers of the engines and in some cases cover the surface almost completely.
After at least three hours of sailing south (the lake is about 22km long) during which we met the typical fishermen who paddle with one foot, we stopped at Naung Po village. Here, the people were really kind and in one small stilt house where we found craftsmen working terracotta - a lady in particular, produced a whole range of objects under our very eyes. They went to great lengths to prepare us coffee and hot tea, as the temperature was still a bit low for us, but even more for them.
Not far from there we found a small market - the temperature was starting to rise lifting the constant dust pervading this country, which, being no longer controlled by the morning moisture on the lake, gives its best everywhere. The Myanmar markets are an explosion of colours because they are rich in an incredible variety of fruits and vegetables not to mention fabrics, just as colourful and with lively designs. In this market in particular, you cannot miss the fresh, but also dried and salted fish and then terracotta pots of all shapes and sizes.
The waters of the lake are the source of many activities: mainly fishing, but also cultivating and harvesting aquatic plants and algae or even real vegetable gardens. The floating gardens of Lake Inle are incredibly large: tomatoes, pumpkins, courgettes, aubergines, peppers and chillies, garlic beans, onions and a large variety of flowers are cultivated - the farmers of the lake care for their crops with the boats, between the strips of land.
Lake dwellings are stilt houses, but most everything is on stilts: houses, monasteries, silkworm farms, ruins, restaurants, schools and all kinds of craftsmanship and whatever else.
The Mga Phe Chaung Monastery (of the cats leaping) is 160 years old and is one of the many monasteries on stilts. In this case the poles that support it are teak wood as well as parts of its furnishings. Its characteristic is precisely the cats that circulate freely, lazily and numerous inside but if the occasion arises you can see them performing stunts thanks to their monk coaches.
A large number of boats are loaded with children who go back to school, or to bring vegetables to the market, interlaced lumber or mats for house construction, firewood or other commonly used objects.
There are men and women in daily activities; in the water of the lake they wash pots and dishes or take a bath, or you can see girls washing their long and beautiful black hair or washing their children; that, without counting the herds of cattle grazing herbs and lichens in the water.
Even the bread is laid to dry as if it were laundry.
On a stilt house, we were very impressed by the working and weaving of the lotus,
a splendid example of how to use local products.
We never thought that from the milky threads of the lotus stems you could get such a resistant and extremely beautiful fabric.
The long stems of the flowers seen alongside the lady working them, are cut into small pieces of about 10cm. Then the threads coming out from them are doubled a couple of times and then twisted, woven in a single thread that becomes elastic and very durable, then rolled into spools and coloured and woven into garments and scarves.
Even the restaurant where we stopped for lunch was on a very stylish stilt house.
We will surely keep with us that day spent immersed in the magical atmosphere of Lake Inle, and, last but not least, the Pagodas and Temples overlooking the lake. The Taung Tho Kyaung Pagoda with Buddhas covered with golden leaves and tiles with beautiful designs covering all the walls and floors;
the ruined pagodas dating back to the 16th century village of Indein situated on the southwestern shore of the lake,
and the Taiker Pagodas,
similar to those of Kakku with an infinity of bells on the spires that twinkle in the wind creating a magical atmosphere.
At the end of the day Lake Inle gave us another present: a fairytale sunset!