my last afternoon in bagan & dinner at the sunset garden

Saturday, February 21:  By the time I return from Mount Popa at 2:00, I’m famished.  The first thing I do is rent an e-bike from the hotel for 4,000 kyat ($4) for a half-day and head straight to New Bagan to find a place to eat.  I happen upon the open-air Black Rose cafe, where I park my e-bike and sit at a table. It’s late for lunch, so I have almost the whole restaurant to myself.

The Black Rose in Bagan

The Black Rose in Bagan

view from The Black Rose

view from The Black Rose

I order Butter Fish Curry and lime juice.  The fish curry turns out to be one of the best meals I have in Myanmar, and the lime juice is sour – no sugar.

Butter Fish Curry and lime juice

Butter Fish Curry and lime juice

After lunch I stop in at a small pagoda across from the restaurant, and then I’m on my way to the South Plain, along West Pwasaw.

small stupa near The Black Rose

small stupa near The Black Rose

me e-bike for today

me e-bike for today

As I pull up to the first set of pagodas, my e-bike suddenly dies.  When an e-bike dies, it’s not like you can suddenly start pedaling it like a bicycle.  It becomes dead weight and very heavy.  It’s hard to push, especially on a bumpy dirt terrain!  Huffing and sweating, I push it into the parking lot of the pagoda.

Buddhas found in random temples

Buddhas found in random temples

My Chinese phone doesn’t work here in Myanmar, so I’m not sure what to do.  I see a temple keeper walking across a small neighborhood adjacent to the pagoda.  I wave that I need help and when he comes over speaking a few words of broken English, I tell him my phone doesn’t work here and make a waving motion over my phone.  I point to his phone and ask if I can use it.  He miraculously gets all my hand gestures and my English and allows me to use his phone to call the phone number listed on the e-bike.  I explain to the folks on the other end that my battery power on the e-bike is dead and then I hand the phone to the temple keeper to describe my location.  It’s all very complicated!!  But the man tells me that someone will be here soon.

Meanwhile, I walk around to explore these nameless pagodas.

Buddha

Buddha

frescos in a random temple

frescos in a random temple

random temples and pagodas

random temples and pagodas

random pagoda and my e-bike

random pagoda and my e-bike

Buddha

Buddha

the gate to the temple complex

the gate to the temple complex

Finally, someone from the hotel shows up with a new battery.  After trying to start the bike with the old battery, he finds that the battery has simply been unplugged somehow.  After he plugs it back it, voila!  The e-bike roars to a start.  I feel pretty embarrassed that it was something as simple as that, something I could have fixed myself if I were at all technically inclined. 🙂

me with my dead-battery e-bike

me with my dead-battery e-bike

Buddha up close

Buddha up close

By 4:00, I hop back on the e-bike and head down the road to a temple I had passed along the way.  I don’t want to get too far away from New Bagan as it will be dark before long.

pagodas along the way to Minnanthu

pagodas along the way to Minnanthu

It’s so dry and dusty in Bagan.  I don’t know how people eke out a living on this land.  It was a lot greener in the area around Mount Popa, where I was earlier today.  My cough is getting increasingly worse riding in the open air, dust flying into my mouth and nose!!

I climb up to the terrace of the pagoda shown below, where I have some great views of the South Plain.

pagodas along the way to Minnanthu

pagodas along the way to Minnanthu

View over Bagan's South Plain

View over Bagan’s South Plain

View over Bagan's South Plain

View over Bagan’s South Plain

View over Bagan's South Plain

View over Bagan’s South Plain

View over Bagan's South Plain

View over Bagan’s South Plain

View over Bagan's South Plain

View over Bagan’s South Plain

Buddha

Buddha

View over Bagan's South Plain

View over Bagan’s South Plain

View over Bagan's South Plain

View over Bagan’s South Plain

I figure I don’t have enough time to stay for sunset, so I take off again, this time making a 4:30 stop at Dhammayazika Paya, which is under renovation and covered in gold mesh panels.

Dhammayazika Paya

Dhammayazika Paya

This temple sits in lush garden grounds and dates to 1196. It’s supposedly haunted by a general who supervised the construction and died before its completion.

Dhammayazika Paya

Dhammayazika Paya

Dhammayazika Paya

Dhammayazika Paya

Dhammayazika Paya

Dhammayazika Paya

Dhammayazika Paya

Dhammayazika Paya

Finally, I head back to the Sunset Garden Restaurant in New Bagan for an early dinner. It’s now 5:00 and I’m ready to have a large Mandalay beer and settle in to watch the sunset, due to occur around 6:00.

The Sunset Garden

The Sunset Garden

me at the Sunset Garden

me at the Sunset Garden

I enjoy my beer and sunset views over the Ayeyarwady River, and then I order dinner: chicken in garlic and butter with rice for around 11,000 kyat.  The chicken has bones and is very dry, so it isn’t a very satisfying dinner.  The beer is the highlight!

Finally, the sun begins its slow descent and I watch, mesmerized, as it paints the sky in golden and coral hues.  I love watching the fishermen plying the river with the sun setting behind them.

The Ayeyarwady River from the Sunset Garden

The Ayeyarwady River from the Sunset Garden

The Ayeyarwady River at sunset

The Ayeyarwady River at sunset

The Ayeyarwady River at sunset

The Ayeyarwady River at sunset

The Ayeyarwady River at sunset

The Ayeyarwady River at sunset

The Ayeyarwady River at sunset

The Ayeyarwady River at sunset

The Ayeyarwady River at sunset

The Ayeyarwady River at sunset

By the time I am driving my e-bike back to the hotel, it’s dark.  I pass a couple who see me riding along with no lights.  They show me how to turn on my lights so I don’t get run over on my way back!  I can be such a dunce with technology!!

When I get back to the hotel, I treat myself to a full body oil massage at the spa for 25,000 kyat.  It’s a wonderful treat for my sore body!

I still have a bad cough and now I seem to have lost my voice!  Tomorrow at the crack of dawn, I’m heading to Inle Lake. 🙂

 

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Categories: Asia, Bagan, Dhammayazika Paya, Myanmar, New Bagan, South Plain, The Black Rose, The Sunset Garden Restaurant, Travel | Tags: , , , | 15 Comments

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15 thoughts on “my last afternoon in bagan & dinner at the sunset garden

  1. Oh, the joys of e-bikes, Cathy! 😦 It’s a crazy landscape, isn’t it? One temple after another… I wonder how you managed to keep up with all the names 🙂 It must be strange now, writing these surrounded by snow. No excuse not to get on with the story now that you can’t get out!
    My favourite shot is that row of vases on the terrace at sunset. Beautiful! 🙂

    • That e-bike was so much fun, Jo, although it presented me with a number of challenges!! I did try to write down some of the temple names, or I took pictures of the names while I visited each one. There were so many!!! It is nice to write these posts surrounded by snow as I can imagine warmer climes. That restaurant was really beautifully situated but the food was nothing special. The beer was wonderful though! 🙂

  2. Ooh I love this set of photos! I’d be the same if a bike broke down, not a clue! But it gave you time to linger and engage with such a helpful man, I like encounters like that!

  3. I can see that you’re not very good at mechanics and electronics.

    • Haha, you are so right, Dai!! I’m no good at all. You should see me with the TV remote!

      • You should see me with our remotes too. We need two, probably it’s the same there. I’m okay with switching on the TV and changing channels and okay with the volume but that’s about where it ends for me, Kat.

      • We have 3 remotes and I can barely keep straight which ones are used for what, Dai. I can’t do anything complicated myself. Mike knows how to TEVO shows, whatever that means! 🙂

      • Three remotes ? I would pack and leave home. I’m amazed when people come here and know immediately how to do everything with my remotes while I don’t know a thing. I’m just now learning how to connect my laptop to the TV so I can watch online movies on the large monitor. I love it too.

      • I’m so glad I’m not the only technically-challenged person in this world! 🙂 Connecting the computer to the TV would be a good skill. Maybe you could teach me!

  4. By the way, Kat, has your snow started to thaw yet ?

  5. Kat, I like this layout. So easy to read your comments with the darker shade boxes. Can you tell me how to do mine as well ?

I'd love hear your comments & start a conversation! :-)

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