I had booked a one day tour of the three ancient cities of Mandalay. It was on a minibus for $17. My roommate invited me to join her and 2 other people on the same tour via a shared taxi. Costing us $12 each. I agree to go because a taxi driver would be more flexible about our day. In hindsight I wish I had done the formal bus tour.
In all honesty I am over the under 25 crowd. They think they know everything when in fact they are all idiots wondering around in circles chasing their own tails. I am thinking about starting a travel podcast and calling it, “The Non PC Traveler”. If I have to listen to one more sniffling liberal entitled European whine about animal cruelty I’m going to scream. These countries have starving children and elderly. They won’t buy a $1 necklace with a $2 markup to feed a person for a day but will moan all day about the poor horses and dogs. They ignore the poor nursing mothers who are literally begging monks for food and want to feed the flea infested stray dogs. I’m over it!
First we stop at the Gold pounding factory. Something I really wanted to do. They hear the word factory and automatically think scam to steal tourists money. I make them stop anyway. This is an actual gold pounding workshop that is amazing. This is where they make the 24 karat gold flakes that you buy to place on the Buddha. When I was a little girl I always wondered if it was real gold. And if I pocketed all these little slips and one day put them together if I could have a gold block. The answer is yes!!! They first have to make bamboo paper out of bamboo. Since bamboo is the only fiber that won’t absorb gold. Then they bound out a small gold bar for 5 hours to make the thin squares they sell at the temples. This is back breaking labor. There wasn’t anything to buy in the end and they even gave you a free gold flake on your forehead for good luck.
We passed the cotton factories because they assumed they were tourists traps but they were the actual factories that produce the longies that every single person in Burma wears. Later that day one of the girls asked where she can purchase longi fabric for cheap. Umm…the factory you didn’t want to stop at. Me using all my self control not to add dumbass at the end of that sentence.
We passed the marble factories. Again not stopping. I did make them pause so I can take a photo. I then explained to them in elite European, that this district was similar to what streets in Rome were like 2000 years ago. The marble carvers would be on a street off on its own where they were commissioned to carve sculptures for the Colosseum or a cathedral. The only difference was these people were using power tools.
These people were getting a glimpse into a place that has been trapped in time. But they were to intelligent to see past their over privileged noses. It’s only an authentic experience if they hike to the mountains and sleep in a hut. The rest of the world is somehow just putting on a show for them. Instead of the reality of it being the other way around.
We then went to a monastery to watch 1200 monks line up for lunch. There were hundreds of tourists there to observe this and not one felt the need to donate to the lunch. They do realize that people donated to feed these monks twice a day. Outside the lunch room were small children and women begging the monks for anything they may have left over. I observed a monk sharing his milk with a nursing mother. While hordes of wealthy tourists walked by turning a blind eye. Was this not a photo opportunity they wanted? Why look away as though she doesn’t exist??? According to the actions of most tourists they are basically encouraging prostitution. They have no problems paying for massages, where sex acts are performed for money. Then wonder why their $5 massage sucked. Because she’s not a f*#% masseuse! She is a prostitute who you only paid to rub your skin in what you think are appropriate areas!!!
I actually had a wonderful conversation with one of the head monks who explained the history of the monastery to me and showed me a statue of the founding monk.
We then went to some pretty temples with some beautiful views. Oh and we stopped to see a Buddha that had been covered with so much gold he looked like Jabba the Hut.
We then stopped really late for lunch and the restaurant was literally out of everything. My bland noodles were horrible so I went in the kitchen to find a sauce any sauce and all 10 bottles I found were empty! They were out of everything! It then started to pour rain!!!
We then get on a boat to take us across the river where we are met with horse drawn carriages that are $5 per person. The mud is thick (mixed with horse poop and dirt and water) and it is splattering everywhere!! I am covered in mud and wet and hot and irritated. If the girl I’m with expresses one more time about the poor horses that have to pull us I’m going to push her out of the cart!
We then arrived at the most beautiful teak ancient monastery. I go inside to find a creepy monk praying in the dark corner. I almost screamed as I was the only one in there with him! I quickly leave and enjoy looking at this beautiful ancient building.
We then stop at a ruined pagoda. Everyone decided to just walk around and leave. I ask a French guy to take some photos of me. I look into the ruined monastery and find a beautiful alter and a structure that at one time had a wooden floor that was now missing due to time. It was stunning.
I then decided to skip the last two stops as I am seriously Pagoda’d out! We then get back on the boat cross the river and into the taxis. We are now trying to catch the sunset at the famous U Bein Bridge. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/U_Bein_Bridge
I want to get on a boat to get pictures. They are to cheap to pay $3 each so I get on the last boat out with 2 extremely nice people from England and a nice guy from India. As this is the last boat of the night he only agrees to take us if we pay $5 each. We said sure! We didn’t come half way around the world to bicker over a couple of bucks. And we wanted to get our photos! Our boat guy was crazy!! He was yelling the entire time! Apparently he was on the phone with someone. Then I would ask him to move the boat so I could get a nice photo and he would just scream at the other boat guy to move out of the way. It was hilarious! He then took photos of me with my phone. People who paid for expensive tours got champagne on their boats. When I asked for my champagne he told me to swim to the other boat! We ended up really liking each other!
Afterwards we couldn’t find our driver. He was waiting for us to call him but the extremely intelligent masters degree holding scientist seemed to not think it was important to bring the drivers phone number. So we spent about an hour looking for him before he decided to look for us. Good times standing around being mosquito food.
I got into the shower first then headed out to dinner alone. I think it was obvious I was done with them as much as they were with me. I have no idea why these people are still brain washed to believe socialism works. It doesn’t. It’s proven. If the truly believed it does then why aren’t they giving half of their travel budget to the less fortunate in Burma? Oh, because the are cheap selfish capitalists that don’t realize it!