Today we hired a taxi for the day to explore some of the stuff in the countryside around Mandalay, with our trishaw driver acting as a sort of guide, or at least helping me with my Burmese words. First we went to a place called Amarapura, most famous for this mile long teak bridge across a lake, hugely photogenic and nice. On the way there we stopped at this big pagoda to check out the view from the top, only, as a lady (as women are called in Bath) Erica wasn't allowed up on the terrace, so I went up, in bare feet as usual, only to find a sea of mostly dead insects which I had to sometimes scrunch across in bare feet to get to the good views. And some of the insects were huge! Yuk! After I'd picked the insects from between my toes we explored this particularly brightly coloured temple complex, and lastly checked out the bridge, very nice indeed.
Then off to Sagaing Hill nearby, a hilly area of monasteries and nunneries, checking out various temples and pagodas, and walking around. Generally nice and interesting, and nice views too. It was very hot indeed (again!), and afterwards we finally got a lunch that Erica could eat as for once it didn't have the ubiquitous fermented fish sauce in it. Normally whenever we ask not to have this, everyone nods and smiles and then gives her food with fish sauce anyway.
In the blazing heat of the afternoon we took a ferry across the river to Inwa, where we met up again with an English doctor we met in Yangon (who else but us Brits would go out in such heat?) We hired a horse and cart, and had a very bumpy ride around the island, first to another (lovely) old teak monastery, and then to a scarily leaning tower with an even scarier walkway around it that seemed to unnerve the locals when we walked on it, especially when I leaned over to try and hear better what they were shouting and gesticulating about. And lastly another very atmospheric temple, and then ferry back to the taxi. Just when we think we have seen too many temples there is always a new way that they are delightful.
And after all that back to Amarapura again to see the sunset, which seems compulsory here. It was very nice on the bridge, hugely photogenic, peaceful and interesting, lots of people walking across, several tourists floating around the lake in boats. Back to town, and finish the day with another nice local meal - and a drink of course - and back to our sweaty room with no air-conditioning as there is still no electricity (as their is a 'd' in the day).