If it weren't for the noise pollution of the single cylinder inboard diesel engines, you would swear you had stepped back a thousand years. Standing fisherman propel their dug outs with one foot, floating gardens made of harvested lake-bottom weeds bob with the waves, children cross wooden bridges on their way to and from school. It is a long way from Yangon's political discussions about the constitution, which forbids Aung San Suu Kyi from running for President and the educational system, which remains stuck in a rote learning world. But, forgetting the enormous environmental damage from modern pesticides and the political uncertainty in Myanmar for the moment, it's a magic sight.
In the midst of villages on stilts above a hazy lake, I ate spicy exotic foods, sprinkling handfuls of fresh mint on top. Now I am angry at the nasty result. I displayed ignorance, greed and anger -- the three greatest failings of man according to our Bagan guide; the three poisons of human beings, our root afflictions. Now I am paying the consequences -- along with the local farmers and vendors who have graciously let me use their facilities about every ten minutes. But I'm sure everything will be fine, because soon I get to India. What could go wrong there?