The Golden Rock, Mount Kyaiktiyo, one of Burma’s holiest Buddhist sites, is a huge gold-plastered boulder precariously balanced on a mountain top. Legend says that a precisely placed hair of the Buddha in the stupa on top of it maintains its balance and that the boulder was found at the bottom of the sea. This holy shrine attracts countless pilgrims who laboriously climb the arduous path to the top where only men are allowed to cross the bridge over the chasm in front of the rock and place gold leaf on it.
By now Bago township was flooded. The streets were awash and in some parts, narrow, flat-bottomed canoes were being used to navigate along them. Motorbikes were getting stuck and people were wet to the knees.
Burma Map Main Cities Photo Gallery
I had a real coffee finally, found for me by my friend whom by now I could not get rid of. But he was interesting to talk to and he did speak English well. I think he was of Indian extraction. I gave him some money and he took me back to my guesthouse, returning in the evening with a young couple who had a tuk tuk so that I could arrange a jaunt for the next day with them. I had baulked at more motorbike riding.
Snake in a monastery
The young couple and their tuk tuk turned up at nine in the morning and we set off. Heading through the town streets that were rivers of swirling, muddy water, we were soon on the road out to the pagodas and shrines. Really only tracks, the roads were appalling all mud and rubble.
There were horses, buffalo, pigs and goats in the villages and the fields around them. All the animals looked well fed which was not surprising with the lush green feed that abounded, and the rubbish that they had to fossick in. But the dogs worried me. There were far too many dogs wandering everywhere the streets, shops, temples and pagodas.