Just looking

There are days for being a traveller and days when you have to be a tourist.

Just like everybody else on one of the traditional flat-bottomed longboats on Inle Lake today, I was unashamedly a tourist. It is a lake like no other and despite a few tourist hotspots, Inle is a working lake. Home to a number of tribes and villages, the lake also has monasteries, floating villages, pagodas, markets and incredible floating gardens growing everything from pumpkins to tomatoes.

If I was a smoker (like every other foreigner in Asia seems to be), the 'sweet cigars' that I watched being made would have made a nice souvenir. The combination of tobacco, brown sugar and some other secret herbs and spices, just didn't do it for me.

Watching anything being handwoven is always impressive and I could quickly see why a finished scarf made from lotus thread could command an $80 price tag (just not from me). It takes two days of work for one person, just to get the thread ready for weaving. Who knew that inside the stalk of the lotus flower (like a waterlilly) contained a super strong fibre?

The surprises and delights just keep coming.

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