When I consciously pause and take time out of my daily routine to think about where we were this time last year during our travels, I’m amazed at how quickly time passes, and how scary that these precious memories will soon be years ago, rather than a year ago. If I rewind to two years before, we were in Lisbon on the 5th of March 2014 and almost midway into our 2 year travel plan. And Lisbon already feels like such a distant memory. Oh how fragile memories are and how unforgiving the ticking clock that accompanies it!
So this time last year we were in Myanmar, one of the last countries we visited before heading home to Sydney. I’ve compiled a bunch of my favourite photos from Myanmar. The top four were taken in Bagan and the last three were taken in and around Hpa An. I’d be honest and say that Myanmar isn’t on my favourite countries list, but it certainly deserved a visit, and we met enough interesting locals to help us remember this country. Because at the end of the day the scenery and sights will fade but the interactions and people are the ones that form the fragment of memories that linger on, hopefully beyond the years that will soon pass.
Waking up before dawn, we groggily made our way by foot to the boat dock. We passed red robed monks doing their usual rounds of alms-begging, rendering the morning an air of tranquility. Our boatman was ready to take us out to the lake and we settled into our hard seats, tucking our legs comfortably under thick blankets. The chilly morning breeze was tangible on our skin but that would soon change with the rising sun.
The lake grew wider as we went deeper, and mist blurred the horizon between lake and sky while mountains painted a faint backdrop and fishermen on boats dotted the foreground. Not just any odd fisherman, but ones that skilfully paddle with their leg while their hands are free to wrestle the interminable fishing nets. Their graceful silhouette was seared into my mind that very morning and I could not take my curious eyes off them. How did they master this skill that fishermen from other parts of the world don’t know of? How is it not more widespread? It seemed like a very clever way to fish.
As the mid-day heat started bearing down on our necks, we slowly approached the floating gardens and villages of Inle lake. We passed young ladies with tanaka-smeared faces maneuvering their boats around lush vegetation. While the men fished, the women harvested and pruned. It was a simple life living off the lake and passed down generation after generation.
Traffic on the lake started picking up as speedboats whirred past, transporting locals to other parts of the lake. But the fishermen were still hard at work using nets, cages and primal tools that have served mankind for centuries. We slowly made our way back to the boat dock, taking cover under our umbrella. We will soon be back in town, walking amongst other tourists back to our hotel rooms with precious pictures in our camera to remind us of our day out at the lake.