The sun had yet to rise when our taxi driver dropped us off at the jetty. We scrambled down the stairs of cutout dirt, and made our way onto the ferry. Being the silly, adventurous, and curious people that we are, we bundled up and sat on the deck as the sun rose. After the ferry glided off, we were somewhat warmed by the coffee and tea that was passed out, accompanied by white toast.

Lifesaver OnboardTemples on the AyeyarwadyBuddha on the Ayeyarwady

I suppose it wouldn’t be Myanmar if temples and Buddhas didn’t pass by our sight. Boats made their way past us too, and as we drifted by each other, we waved quite genuinely. Everything moved by slowly enough to have a good look; from Mandalay to Bagan by ferry takes the whole day.

One of our stewards passed out veggie fried rice for lunch, which I was pleased with. I tested my very poor Burmese on him and learned a few words in return. We remained on deck, never getting quite cold enough to retreat inside. I read Harry Potter yet again. When I wasn’t reading, I was observing the waters and the shores, reciprocating waves with the other boatloads, large and small. The shores were dusty and the river cut along the banks. The only bad occurrence was one of my feet got sunburned. I also noticed a patch of floating water bottles which was so dense it almost seemed deliberate. But mostly I sat at peace and everything that we drifted past was new to my eyes.

Logs and TemplesBridge over the AyeyarwadyWalking the Ayeyarwady BanksBottles on the AyeyarwadyBoat on the Ayeyarwady

As evening fell we reached Nyaung U. Coming ashore we were greeted by taxi offers and hopeful book and pants sellers. We started negotiating with a tout, who upon realizing we didn’t exactly need anything luxurious, offered us a trishaw ride. Sure! Then we saw the trishaw: a side car attached to a rickety bicycle. Our driver stacked us and our luggage on and with an assist pushing the bike to a start, we were laboriously off. Again, everything new passed by my sight slowly, except when I had to keep my eyes on the road as we hopped off in order to surmount a hill. All in all, the ride was quite jolly in its desperation, and we gave the driver more kyats than bargained for. He seemed relieved we took our slow ride in stride, but I wouldn’t pass on this drifting and the chance to simply look.

Irrigation on the AyeyarwadyArriving at Nyaung U