Inle Lake is a large, very shallow fresh water lake in the hills of the Shan Division of Myanmar. A large number of the Intha people live on the lake, on houses on stilts above the water. They collect clumps of floating vegetation into small islands (usually strips a meter or two wide and several meters long), pen them in with bamboo poles so they won't leave, cover them in dirt, and grow stuff on them. It's particularly surreal to be boating down a main thoroughfare and watch the tomato plants lining the channel bob about in the boat wake. The center of town reminded me somewhat of Venice - a controlled chaos of long boats, with heaps of tourists eating and admiring temples.
The story of how I got on a boat to Inle Lake is another strange one. I had hoped to find someone to share the cost of the day-long boat ride, but you never meet people when you want to, only when you're not worrying about it. So this morning I went down to the canal, and wandered about looking for foreigners. I approached about five before I found someone who was heading out today and was willing to share a boat. Those who know me are probably astonished (as they should be) that I would just walk up to strangers and talk to them. So this is how I came to ride a boat with two Israeli beekeepers and the Deputy Minister of Agriculture for Myanmar. They were here to assist Myanmar in improving their beekeeping, and this was their day off. In the end, they treated me to the trip. They were good company: I hope I was too.
Notice that we do seem to have electrical power here.
And these were just somewhere in the middle of the lake ...