27 October 2007
Suddenly turned dark with fogs, and the weather suddenly became cold. We sat at a tea shop and had a cup of tea and snack. All day we had been walking and our whole body had a full exercise, so here at the teashop, we did our neck exercise – swing our head from side to side looking at beautiful girls walking in the street.
Until now we still couldn’t find a place to sleep. We asked at three pavilions but all the rooms were full. (At Kyaikhtiyo, most of the visitors stayed at backrooms of restaurants, shops and pavilions). Finally, we ended up sleeping on Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda’s main platform.
It was time for prayer. We sat on the staircase around the pagoda and said our prayer. I was already half asleep when I heard a voice saying “They will have to sleep here”, and was woken up suddenly. All my friends were also sleeping while in their prayer. I had to wake them up and looked for a place warm enough to sleep on the main platform. Next we hired mats at 400 kyat each, and prepared to sleep. At that moment, one man appeared from nowhere and said “Are you sleeping here? You will all freeze to death. Come with me”. We followed him and he gave us a place to sleep in a pavilion. I thought how fortunate we were and fell asleep.
28 October, 2007
By the time I woke up, others were still sleeping. I went out to wash my face – 50 kyat a cup of water! Bought two cups of water to brush my teeth and wash my face: a total of 100 kyat.
I wanted to offer the first alms (food offered to Lord Buddha or monk) of the day to Lord Buddha, so I asked the vendors for the offerings they sold. 4,000 kyat (US$ 3.8), 2,500 kyat (US$ 2.4) and 1,500 kyat (US$ 1.4)! That was extremely expensive. This was robbery! I decided not to buy and offered “light” to Lord Buddha instead.
After finishing breakfast at a teashop, we climbed down the mountain on foot. Some of the people who could not walk hired palanquins (A covered bed or chair carried on poles on the shoulders of four or more bearers, formerly used in eastern Asia) – 15,000 kyat (nearly US$ 15) to climb up to Kyaikhtiyo, and 12,000 kyat (nearly US$ 12) to climb down (only between Kyaihtiyo and Yathe-taung bus station which was only one mile apart). Some just hired porters to carry their luggage. On the way, I was thinking of climbing up the Yathe-taung (Hermit Hill) but I could make only 30 steps; children there climbed up the hill very quickly carrying water buckets.
Original article in Burmese at PK’s Blog