Saturday, June 21, 2014

More Photo Updates - Playing Tourist Around Mandalay

And the fun continues...
Still in Pyin Oo Lwin, we headed to the famous waterfall.  Having lived in the south Pacific it was quite a let down.  

This guy was enjoying the cool water, though.

These folks saw me taking a photo of the man in the water and came up to take my photo - they're all related and live in Mandalay.

View of Mandalay from the road coming down the mountain.  POL isn't far but the road is all switchbacks as you climb to a much higher elevation.

I cut these roses down so they'd fit in my mug.  They cost a whopping $.80 for a dozen.

My assistant teachers are awesome and made this bulletin board.  First grade has come a long way from Dick, Jane, Spot and Puff.

We celebrated Sally's birthday with a cake her mom brought.  She also provided balloons and hats for the kids.  She brought a bunch of bananas and rambutan for the teachers and I and a beautiful piece of amber for me.  It's believed to bring good health when you wear it.

I needed something notarized and shipped back to the USA.  I was told only the highest ranking attorneys could do it.  I had an appointment and expected an office but the attorney works out of his home.  The man working/kneeling is a junior attorney.

This is the 81 year old married attorney.  He asked me out as he notarized the documents.

The process included a seal.

Friday night I had the best meal I've had in Mandalay at Mr. Barbecue (on 71st at 31st).  You choose a table then walk over to select what items you want.  The food is then grilled and brought to your table.  I thought it was ironic that the dishes were sealed while there were flies crawling all over the food.  I didn't mind since I figured it would be cooked.  And, I ate a lot of flies when living in Samoa.

I enjoyed dinner with Glenn.  We met when he and his mom visited Samoa in 2012.  We've stayed in touch and finally reconnected.  He came to visit me in Mandalay for 4 days on his way to vacation in Phuket with his family.  He's originally from Taiwan and attends Michigan State.  We ordered a ton of food and ate it all.

In the foreground are grilled green peppers - similar to poblanos.  At the top of the photo is a plate with (from left) potatoes, a type of nut and mushrooms.  It's a bit ironic, the first time I tasted these large nuts was in Salelologa, Samoa, with Glenn.  They're delicious, by the way.

Chicken stuffed with vegetables and grilled.

Two giant prawns.  Unbelievably good.

Did I mention we ordered a lot of food?  This is a list of items we bought.  All the food, two draft beers and 4 large glasses of freshly squeezed fruit juice (grape, orange, watermelon) came to a whopping $21.  I'll be going back to Mr. Barbecue frequently!

On Saturday, Glenn and I enjoyed breakfast at a tea shop then headed to the monkey pagoda.  We drove past rice paddies on our way.  

We stopped on our way and bought bananas and sunflower seeds for the monkeys that live at the pagoda.  A monk said there were over 1,000 of them.  To get to the pagoda, head out of Mandalay on 35th and turn right onto the Pynn Oo Lwin road (35 dead ends into it).  Take the first left toward the rice paddies and follow it to the pagodas.  It's about a 10 minute drive from the main road.

The monkeys loved the bananas and took them from our hands. 
Saving his banana for later.

In addition to the monkeys, there are pagodas, built on a steep hill.

I don't speak enough Myanmar to know exactly what she was saying but the gist was clearly that she wants Glenn as her boyfriend.  Several people spoke to him in Myanmar, assuming he was a local.
I met these kids at the monkey pagoda.  We now have photos of each other.

Very close to the pagoda is a monastery.  Our taxi driver took us there because I'd said I was interested in mediation and they offer classes there.  I was quickly surrounded by kids and discovered they're orphans who live at the monastery.  I plan to go back and take crayons and puzzles and teach them some English.  They seem to have a good teacher already and all knew how to count and the abc's.

After our morning at the pagoda and monastery, we headed to Diamond Plaza.  We decided to try VIP Korean Barbecue, which is across the street from Diamond.  It was good but not what I'd call authentic Korean food.  This fish was delicious.

Speaking of Korean food, I bought this package of "ramen-like" noodles recently.  Couldn't resist the description.  Glenn said he's had it before and it's good but a bit on the sweet side.

After lunch, shopping at Diamond and a break to have some fresh fruit juice, we went to get pampered.  We went to a typical local beauty salon (although salon is really stretching it).  I think Glenn was a bit leery but he was up to give it a try.  We both had the hour-long shampoo/massage combo that is typical here.  In this case, while one person (woman for me, man for Glenn) shampooed us and massaged face, head, neck and shoulders, another person massaged the rest of us.  That included walking on us (after the shampoo was over and we could lie on our stomachs) and doing some serious stretching stuff.

Next came the foot and leg massage, which was heavenly.  The two hours of pampering cost $9 each.  We were having so much fun we forgot to take photos.  At one point during the foot massage I was laughing so hard I almost wet myself.  I'm really going to miss Glenn.

Our next stop was the Yandarabon Hotel, where Glenn was saying.  It was now after 8:00 p.m. and we were going to the rooftop restaurant for a drink, dinner and the free puppet show.  The food was only average but it's a lovely setting and the free puppet show was terrific.  At sunset, they offer free run sours to enjoy as you watch the sunset.

After the show and dinner, Glenn walked me out to our waiting driver.  It was sad to say goodbye but I look forward to seeing him again.  With any luck he can meet me in Malaysia at Christmas.

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