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The Mandalay Bike Tour – Grasshopper Tours, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma) – part 2 of 4

By on March 24, 2017 in Myanmar/Burma

The next stop on the Grasshopper Mandalay Bike Tour was a nearby village (immune.soaks.optimists) which was a short ride from the ‘words biggest book’.

In the village, we stopped for a drink, and a snack (included in the price of the tour), and for a little look round.

The first thing that caught my eye was a crazy looking truck that came down the road. At first glance, it just looks like a truck and then you realise that the headlights are behind the engine. The more you look at the truck the less sense it makes.

mandalay bike tour village truck

The shop we stopped at was small, but it had a great selection of cold drinks and snacks.

mandalay bike tour village store

Just down from the shop was a very ornate looking structure (photographed below).

The ‘structure’ was for a big party in the village to celebrate children going off to be come monks or nuns.

From what I understand (and please correct me in the comments below) all Buddhists are expected to spend some time being a monk or nun.  In most cases (all?) this happens during childhood and most children go off to become a monk for only a week or two.  It is then felt that they met the requirement. From what I could gather it is like the initiation into a number of the world religions (think confirmation in Christianity).

In some cases, the children may remain as monks or nuns until they are 16 as it guarantees an education.

Anyway, whatever happens. If the child is a monk or nun for 2 weeks or 10 years, it involves a big celebration before they head off to the monastery or convent.

mandalay bike tour village cellebration

In the restaurant next to the ‘big tent’ they were busy preparing food.

The shot below I really like. The red of the tomatoes. The black of the wood burning stove. The concentration on the face of the cook.

mandalay bike tour village food

I also met a number of children in the village who insisted that they come up to me and say hello, introduce themselves (in English) and in some cases shake my hand. As I left the village they waved me off…

One of the many highlights on the Grasshopper Bike Tour of Mandalay was a visit to a traditional Myanmar farm.

This first thing that surprised me was you didn’t need to get very far from Mandalay to get to the farms. It was just a short bike ride to take you from the crowded and busy roads of the city to the quiet dirt tracks to the local villages and farms.

The farm we visited was located at excavate.backup.chopper, and the first thing I saw when I arrived was a new farmhouse (see below) make using traditional weaved bamboo (see The Mandalay Bike Tour – Grasshopper Tours, Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma) – part 1 of 4 for some photos of bamboo weaving).

I liked the little house and was intrigued by the small bit sticking out of one end (see photo below, on the left).  This, I was told, was an internal shrine inside the house.

mandalay bike tour farm house

The bamboo had been painted to help preserve it, and what was noticeable was that the bamboo in the weave was sliced very thickly which meant that it was a ‘quality’ weave and would last.

mandalay bike tour farm bamboo wall

In a nearby barn, there was harvested rice.  The rice for human consumption was in large bags, and hanging from the rafters was rice for feeding birds.

I have often seen ‘bird rice’ in the towns and here it was on a farm, ready to be sold and to also be used to feed the local birds.  I was told that the farmer viewed it as important to give some of the rice back the birds.

mandalay bike tour farm bird food

I must admit, I did admire their haystack!

mandalay bike tour farm hay

In another nearby building was a crop of mushrooms being grown.  I have seen this sort of thing before on my wanderings around SE Asia, that is, a large dark shed containing racks with ‘mushroom pods’ (see A visit to UK Farms, Kluang, Johor, Malaysia – sheep, goats and ostrich…)

mandalay bike tour farm mushrooms

The mushrooms seemed quite water intensive, and on my visit to the farm they were being sprayed with fresh water from the farm pump.

mandalay bike tour farm water

Besides growing mushrooms and rice the farm also had chickens running around, a couple of turkeys and some cows. The small white cows were worth $500 USD, and the full grown cows were $2500 USA.

The farm made use of ‘old’ discarded items, and I particularly liked the old canoe, that appeared to be carved out of one piece of wood, that was now being used as a food trough.

mandalay bike tour farm boat

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