Burma Road Map Online

It was still raining in the morning but not as heavily. My breakfast toast had finally been introduced to a toaster, but so far it was only a platonic relationship no real consummation of the affair had occurred. I was still rattling around in the huge dining room almost alone. There seemed to be few guests beside me.

The tuk tuk I had arranged to take me up to visit the mountain-top temples arrived at ten complete with an Indian driver. There are Karan and Indian people here, hence the mosques. And it was now Ramadan.

We chugged and bounced up high into the hills around the town, and, stopping at the gates of the first temple complex, Mahamuni Paya, I was put off to walk minus my shoes along the slippery tiles, albeit undercover walkways. I was alone apart from a temple guardian or two and a couple of well-cared-for ginger cats.

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I came to the shrine of the inner chamber. I had expected this to be small but it was huge with its walls completely covered with little mirrors, while the sides were held up by large mirrored columns. The wall behind the Buddha statue was not only mirrored but set with what were said to be rubies and diamonds. The Buddha was enormous and gilded, partly with real gold. The effect was utterly dazzling.

I walked, careful of the slidy tiles, around the building outside, umbrella aloft. Then we drove further along the ridge to the next temple, Kyaikthanian Paya. It has the area’s tallest stupa and a lift that took me to the top, but its electrics failed and I had to inch my way back down, still barefoot, skidding on the damp tiled steps. The view from the parapet had been worth it though. Then it was on to yet more pagodas, everything gold and glittering and accompanied by the tinkling of the little bells that hung from the rooftops.

After a couple of hours we were finished with the Buddhist sites and my driver offered me a church. I could see the cross on its spire in the distance. I declined, opting for lunch instead, and I asked to be taken to the Cinderella Hotel that Mr Anthony from the Breeze Guest House had told me about.

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