23.01.2016 - 23.01.2016
Finally, we had enough energy to tackle a bike ride to see sunrise. The staff were up too so we could rent the bike for the dark and chilly venture. There was a little traffic but we stayed safe enough. The dirt road was kind enough to us too. The sky began to light up so we opted for our familiar sunset temple, Buledi. We weren't the only ones there either which confirmed it might be a decent place to watch sunrise.
The sun hadn't broken through the clouds yet but light trickled to the temples. Red hot air balloons were being inflated in the distance, just waiting for the sun to take off and illuminate the rusty landscape. There were green balloons as well.
As the sun began its ascent, two scenes emerged: the sun rising between two stupas, a bit darkened by the direct lighting, and the fire powered giants rising over the lit temples to the North. The green Oriental Balloon giants rose in photographic succession that I captured all too many times. The balloons soon drifted in front of, over and behind us.
Switching to the other side on the temple, a colour splash awaited of red, yellow and green. It really added something special to the already stunning vista. We both left pretty happy with the experience.
With time on our hands, we ventured to the large Dhammayangyi Temple. Built by King Narathu between 1167 and 1170, the temple had a bloody history. King Narathu murdered his own father to ascend to the throne. He was a strict overseer of construction and would execute masons if a needle could be pushed between the bricks. As fate would have it, he never completed the construction, due to repercussions of his actions. Displeased by Hindu rituals, he executed an Indian princess. Her father, Pateikkaya, sought revenge and sent eight disguised officers to assassinate Narathu in the temple.
Each entrance was nearly closed off by Buddha statues. The structure had a more pyramid-like shape than the others. In the sections that protruded, there were paintings of Buddha as well as circles on the archways. The building had high ceilings, but they were relatively empty, save the birds and the bats whose feces was pungent. A walk outside went better for us.
We biked by Shwesantaw Paya on our way out for more photos. Things were pretty relaxed just after sunrise.
After breakfast, our minivan came with air conditioning and decent seats. A few locals and a monk sat up front and we always had an extra passenger hopping on or off. Once we made it to the Yangon-Mandalay highway things sped up. They even dropped us off close enough to our hotel.
Garden Hotel had okay priced rooms with shared bathrooms on the 5th floor. Once you lugged all of our bags up, it was hard to motivate yourself to say no and look elsewhere. We took the drab, clean room. The price of the room went up when we didn't have US currency to pay with.
We found a Shan restaurant after wandering the industrial district. We had a meal of potatoes, watercress and rice. It wasn't amazing, but it was better than having no vegetarian options.