I arrive at Nyaung Shwe, Inle Lake’s main development, in the dead of night and immediately book myself into a boat tour of the lake, wondering aloud if the notorious Nayar, a mythical dragon with four legs, still patrols the waters. An old man seated next to me on the bus had told me all about the Nayar and the Magan, a man-eating crocodile-cum-anteater that patrols the murky depths of Inle when the sun goes down. I don’t consider myself superstitious, but in Burma I’ll believe just about anything.“Now you’re starting to understand our country,” he says, winking at me as he captains us through the dark.The engine dies and we sit for a moment; I’m not sure if we’re waiting for the Nayar to drag us to the bottom of the lake or if our propeller has fallen off and we have to swim back to shore.
Out of the mist, with the first rays of dawn pouring over the eastern hills, a fisherman appears, trawling across what appears to be a thin sheet of glass, one strong leg propelling his slender canoe while he hefts a massive cone-shaped net above his head and plunges it into the water. This is an Intha fisherman, a member of the Tibeto-Burman ethnic minority group that make their homes in stilt houses on the lake, self-sufficient fisherfolk and farmers known for their unique one-legged rowing style that has been fodder for romantic travel tales in the same vein as Venice canal rowers for hundreds of years.
We paid $35 for a day on the water in a private boat. It was worth every penny.
Are You Sure I Can Have More Than One Piece Of Candy?
On trip to Myanmar in 2011, we visited the Inle Lake area. After a short Long-boat ride, our guide had asked if we wanted to visit the bamboo forest. After leaving the boat, we came across a group of children. Our guide had already prepared us by suggesting that the group buy a bag of candy at the local souvenier market. We were told to only give one piece to each child, but as you can see, the best laid plans . . .