I’m near the end of my Burma trip, so I’m going to prolong the blogging pleasure by posting photos of the journey to Inle Lake, not just writing about the lake itself.
It was a wonderful journey. As always in Burma, there were some great bits of traffic and scenery en route.
It was Christmas Day and although not a soul on our trip was remotely fussed about celebrating (well, we wouldn’t have escaped our home countries if we wanted fireside, satsumas and too much food, would we?), it was good to have a decent lunch stop. This was our view – I don’t know the name of the little lake but it doesn’t really matter. Just being somewhere so different at a time of year that I really don’t enjoy Britain much, was superb.
Just before we arrived in Inle Lake, we went to Shwe Yaungwe monastery. I think these are probably the most photographed monks in Burma but they don’t mind. In fact, the young boys doing their chanting at 4pm seemed happy to have a distraction. They looked so serious in the photos and then when the cameras went down, they waved and grinned!
Here’s a puzzling thing. Back home when I think of young boys and girls going off to boarding school before their teens, I feel a sense of outrage, that they are too young to be shipped off and if their parents wanted them, why are they sending them outside the home. So how come I had none of that feeling in Burma, seeing young monks and nuns in a similar situation? I have no explanation for my double standard.
I wonder whether it’s because going to a monastery can give a young person an education in a country where there is no compulsory education at all. That’s right, not even the most basic primary education is free in Burma.
These are some of my favourite photos from the trip to that monastery.
By Carole Scott