Day 8. Inlay Lake
After a really long ride we deserve a rest. Today we explore Inlay Lake and the Padaung tribe where the women and girls still wear the brass rings around their necks.
With the exhausting ride behind us, we decided to have a rest day in Kalaw and check out Inlay lake.
We hired a taxi to take us the 2hr trip to Inlay lake for 40 dollars between the four of us. The trip was bumpy and it didn't seem like the road was any better on this side of the mountain.
The mighty tourist $dollar
After 1.5hrs dodging trucks and potholes we arrived at the entrance to Inlay lake. This place has caught onto tourism; now even charging entry to the main town - $3/person. It troubles me somewhat when a town is transformed into a tacky tourist destination because it detracts from the original charm that people found attractive enough to come and visit.
We hired a boat for $15 for the 4hr tour of the lake which included a guide and driver.
It was a great day, partly cloudy and not too humid. The boat was long and narrow and we all sat one behind each other on little deck chairs. Just in case the sun got too strong or the wind whipped up the waves, there were little umbrellas to the side of the chairs.
After 20 minutes we were near the center of the lake. Here the waters stretched wide between two mountain ranges and we could start to make out the first structures of the floating city.
Yo, Heave Ho!
On the way we saw our first "one legged paddler". The fishermen use their legs to alleviate the stress on the arms when paddling for a long time.
Another interesting fact was the floating gardens which even grow tomatoes. The whole city is just as any other city, but instead every structure is built on top teak stilts which anchor the buildings to the lake bottom.
We visited a traditional blacksmith, silversmith a fabric workshop and even got to see the famous women of the Padaung tribe, who stretch their necks with brass rings from the age of 5. The Jumping Cat Monastery, also on the lake was a bit of a waste of time because it was just a bunch of cats jumping through a hoop in order to get a little treat.
Everywhere you turned there were hawkers trying to sell you trinkets and souvenirs - not something I particularly buy while away.
Nevertheless the whole experience was very relaxing. The water was calm, the low revs of the single stroke engine hypnotizing, the sun on the skin warm and the gentle rolling of the boat put me to sleep.
After we arrived back in Kalaw Dave wasn't feeling too well and we feared something serious when he started to have minor shakes. He swallowed some pills and we let him sleep for a few hours. Mucks and I went for a walk.
Find me a clone
It seems that many Chinese rip-offs of Honda motorcycles rebadged as Handa or Conda or Canda are a commonplace in the area, along with compulsory motorcycle helmets styled in Nazi colors and badges.
When Dave woke, he was still tender and nauseous but feeling a bit better - however we’ll need to wait till the morning to see if he can ride.