Friday, April 26, 2013

Burma Part IX: Hsipaw

Hsipaw has a night market.  Really, it is a very, very early morning market.  We went at 3 a.m. and it seemed to be finishing up.  You may be asking why have a market at 3 a.m.?  Good question! The villages send one member, on their one motorbike, down to town loaded up with all their excess produce. That person is responsible for selling said produce and then buying what the village needs. The market is all closed up, and everyone is home, before breakfast.

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I also visited the princess in the Shan Palace. Technically she isn't the princess, her brother-in-law was prince (her husband is his brother). The princess, the Shan Prince's Austrian wife, lives in Colorado now. The Prince was killed by the government. The brother was imprisoned for telling this story to tourists, actually he was imprisoned twice, but now with the government reforms they are allowed to talk to us. This is their home -- they accept donations to help pay for badly needed renovations.

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I also took another boat trip, this time down the river.

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Pineapple field

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This adorable old lady talked our ears off. She lives here at the edge of a fruit plantation by herself. She grows some food and she seems to get around pretty well. She didn't know how old she was.

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This is her eggplant.

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Village shop

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Thatching a roof

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Twins!

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The government writes the vaccinations given to the children on their house. They do this in chalk, so I'm not sure how long they expect it to stay there, but otherwise this seems like a genius way to keep tabs on vaccinations. I'm assuming people don't move often.

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This is called, "the Bagan of Northern Shan." It was nice, but it was nothing like Bagan.

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The following photos are from a Nat shrine. Before Buddha, the Burmese were animistic. Nats are spirit gods that protect villages. Every village has a Nat Shrine that includes a bottle of oil the village buries every year under the Nat to bless their fields. The oil is dug up after a year and used for medicine. But this shrine was by far the most elaborate we saw.  [Note: Nat shrines are also incorporated into Buddhist temples.  Buddhism is nice like that.]

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How to make rice noodles

1. soak rice

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2. squeeze out the starch goo into noodle shape

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3. set noodles out to dry

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I definitely missed some steps in there, but trust me, none of you will ever make them if only because your family/neighbors will complain about the smell.