Near the market is Kyauk Mosque, one of many in Mandalay. It is small, and certainly does not have the daily activity seen at Buddhist temples. Muslims have a long, and difficult history in Myanmar, and are experiencing particularly trying times in the NW.
All was quiet and peaceful here, a caretaker and wife the only people present. The wife was shy to have her photo taken with her husband...
...but when Zhufeng urged her to join in one, she did so, quite demurely.
Across the street is a large temple, Shwekyimyint, founded in 1167, where one can wander though its maze of indoor and outdoor spaces without attracting too much attention.
An elderly monk, eating rice from his alms bowl, next to an impression of the Buddha's footprint and a statue in the "Touching Earth" mudra.
A group of young nuns resting after eating.
A lay group was at the temple for a week-long event which included lectures and...
In another part restoration of statues and ...
paintings was underway.
An impressive statue of the Buddha being protected by a large snake was In a courtyard., It is said that as Syakamuni was in deep meditation under the Bodhi tree, a large cobra came and shielded him from the monsoon rains. Since then snakes have been seen as the protector of Buddhism, as seen at the top of Mandalay Hill.
Nearby, another set of the Daily Eight, complete with water source and metal cups with which to pour water over the statues.
Further back in the temple grounds, a veritable diorama of Buddhist teachings.
A small set of figurines show Buddha at Deer Park preaching to not only disciples but deer and other animals as well. Note his hands are in the "teaching mudra", not the usual "touching earth mudra".
As with any Buddhist temple, this one too is a place for friends to meet and talk. Mazin Moeaye (left) a recent graduate in Electrical Engineering, and Mahnin Eikhang (rt) in Architecture.
Bus # 30 continues south to Shewinbin Kyaung Monastary, 1895, one of the few remaining temples of teak.
Similar to Shewnandaw, the raised platform holds a wooden building festooned with carvings.
The doors have images of Buddhist believers holding lotuses in bud...
...and above a dancing "apsera".
And inside, a Buddha!
In the courtyard, a caretaker...more interested in football than Buddhism or tourists.
Another hop on #30 to another big complex, Mahamuni Temple, 1784, whose plan was one of the only such plan guides seen.
Wending thru side courtyards, stupas and drying "longyis".
And in the center of it all, a large pagoda...
...with an equally large worship hall. Note most are women...they are forbidden to approach the Buddha,...
...but men can, where they can apply gold leaf, but the breast decoration, and the face are kept clear. Indeed, every morning at 4 AM monks wash the face and brush the teeth.
And all around are statues, paintings, dioramas...here behind glass, Buddha preaching at Deer Park.
The eight daily animals behind bars....for the zoo effect?
All around this complex are stores selling everything one might need for decorating a votive stupa...
a gold top...
...and some statuary.
Probably the rough out, and body and clothing detailing are done by apprentices, but...
...the faces left for the masters. Pretty simple tools and lots and lots of "tap" "tap" "taps" for the face and the hair.
But not a slave to the old ways, final grinding and polishing being done with an electric tool.
Inventory was impressive, some more finished than others.
When a buyer comes and wishes to buy a statue for donation, the appropriate names and dates are added to the base.
Another shop was working on larger items....a Buddha NOT with the "Touching Earth" mudra but a variant on the "Teaching/Preaching" one.
Many statues are surrounded with what would be the equivalent of a white picket fence.
The youngest member of the family of sculptors is going over the writing with an engraving tool, to be filled with black or gold ink.
Not all were working in marble, here is wood. People always said "teak"; could be, there is a lot there.
Bus 30 continued south..waiting at a stop, a girl rolls betel nut chews: the nut is cut into small slivers (it is hard), thena white lime solution is placed on a betel leaf, the nut, with maybe some spice, is added, and rolled into a hard, easy to pop in the mouth, wad.
One consequence of betal chewing is broken (or lost!) teeth and red gums and lips. This friendly man worried we did not know where we were going, but understood "end of the line"; "Me too! Sagaing." That was one of the places we wanted to go, so we tagged along in a "tuk-tuk"...
... to get to the village. More than one time the city Sagaing was capital to kingdoms, but now it is a pretty minor place, a node for "tuk-tuk's".
And the home of our "guide", Thiha, who insisted we join him for lunch. We met his family, and his mother served us the dishes, but all retreated to let us three eat alone.
Zhufeng did get his father and mother to join in a photo, but his wife, Winmin, was off somewhere else.
The city may have slipped into history, but temples and monasteries surround the hills make it a major center for Buddhist education. Sagaing Hill has a pair of "chinthe"...
...one used to prop up ad for English class at the International Buddhist Education Center.
Note the "2013" change stuck over "2012"....
It has a covered walkway, but way less crowded with vendors and visitors than Mandalay Hill.
Periodically funds are needed for repairs and improvements: donate and have your name on the wall.
Maybe these were early donor names.
Like Mandalay, various temples and stupas lined the stairway and ...
... a long view to the Ayeyarwady awaits at the top.
At the top, is Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda (from 1312) , where Thiha and Minlan posed with Zhufeng.
A grand Buddha with LED halo...
...and a bevy of collection boxes at his feet.
Among and between these major sites, there are lots and lots of side streets, even a canal or two, to walk.
A bridge out in the sun makes a good laundry drying area.
It must be fun to write Burmese.
A sign at the post office: better than "Neither snow nor sleet..."
Sometimes there was help reading characters...
...and with a little imagination easy to learn these two.
But some places took no chances on misunderstanding.
The bamboo panels used in housing, or window screening, are made...
...by splitting, and splitting and splitting again bamboo stalks, then woven together.
More contemporary building materials are fabricated by cutting, and cutting and bending in a jig, held down with rocks.
This man had some English and what I made of it was he had a tattoo artist friend who used him as a sketch pad. The red lips are a sign of betel nut use.
Residential plumbing is probably rare...this bicycle rickshaw man is washing down at the end of a day at a public well...with partial concrete privacy walls.
Empty drinking water bottles may indicate safe water supplies are rare as well.
Newspapers and magazines were full of Obama, Thien Sien and Suukyi photos and stories.
With photos of General Aung San and Suukyi on her tee-shirt, they may have spurred sales.
An assembly line of fried noodles: squeeze noodle shaped dough into the fryer...
...remove with a chopstick and place in a basket...
...package in plastic baggies and sell.
These ladies had a wider variety of fried items for sale.
In a more relaxed atmosphere, tea houses provide free thermoses of tea, and hope one orders something to eat.
The flood of Western goods is on, and sometimes their modern equipment needs adjusting to get in the door.
Of course there always is housing to look at...here monks' quarters.
A traditional wooden urban house with lots of ventilation options.
Alas the Chinese model is winning out for contemporary houses...ventilation options limited as air conditioning comes to the fore.
A typical corner with examples of increased density: the older two story buildings, and the newer four and five story ones.
An elementary school in a traditional building...the sign in the middle says, in English, "Drug Free School"...
...could that be an issue with these youngsters??
More likely with these men...unemployment is a problem leading to hours of checkers using bottle caps and maybe something stronger than betel nuts.
Good old Bus 30 did not go everywhere, so sometimes a pick-up or a moto-taxi was needed.