12.03.2013 - 12.03.2013 35 °C
Today we have not really done anything in particular. The main reason people come to Hsipaw is to trek. The one day trek that we have seen centres around a waterfall and since our guest house informed us that as it is dry season there is no water in the waterfall we decided to give it a miss.
Instead we had a slow day exploring the town and river. We had a lazy start, ate breakfast and sorted our bus to Inle Lake. We have booked this with our guest house and it is costing 15000Ks each. We set off late morning on our walk. We walked around the small town to the market area. The town has small quiet streets with a mix of buildings. Most are really old wooden buildings but occasionally there is a brand new, brightly coloured one that sticks out like a sore thumb. The market was a lot bigger than expected and crammed full of stalls. Mostly they sold clothes and there were lots of tailors set up with their sewing machines. There were a few stationary shops and toiletry stalls and we browsed the shops ducking under the packed stalls while locals smiled and said hello to us.
We carried on our walk through town and went to a café on the river. We sat there for most of the afternoon watching life on the river, drinking iced coffee and eating spring rolls and chilli sauce. The view was beautiful; we could see the river and the mountains in the distance. Men were washing their cows in the river and boats of families we chugging up and down fishing. There were also boats with groups of children on them who would anchor down and then fill the boat up with rocks from the river bed. When the boat was so full it was almost sinking they would take the boat up river to unload and then come back to collect more. We are not sure why they were collecting the rocks but we watched them for hours wondering.
We carried on our walk through the streets, walking up to a temple and past several longyi makers and a park. It is a very small and quiet place and we were surprised to find so many tourists here. We have seen more westerners in Hsipaw than we have in our entire trip through Myanmar. The local people are extremely friendly and as you walk people and children shout hello and wave.
After our slow day we went back to our room and showered. We went back to our coffee shop from yesterday with the many doors that say ‘not toilet’ and shared a beer and talked. By the time we knew it, it was dark and we were really hungry so we went next door to a really nice riverfront restaurant and had some tea. The place was beautiful at night looking over the river and we sat by candlelight eating and drinking. The meal was delicious and we treated ourselves to a gin and tonic. When it came it was just a neat gin with a slice of lemon and the lady didn’t understand tonic so we partook in a gin and sprite, not conventional we know but it was still nice. We sat there for hours until the staff looked like they wanted to kick us out.
It has been a slow and boring day but has been lovely and relaxing. Walking around the town calling in cafes is exactly the sort of day we needed. Tomorrow we head down to Inle Lake, our last stop before leaving Myanmar. We are excited for the lake, but not so excited for the 14 hour bus journey to get there.