It is a rainy season. Inle Lake. 2,900 ft above sea-level. The freshwater highland lake located in the Shan State. Stylizing the geographic shape of the lake, it appears like a golden drop blown by a fart of Buddha. The one-legged fishermen paddler seem to walk on the water, Captain Ahab with a fishnet in his left and more artistique, dancing the waves, not stiff by anger. The never-ending corridors of gardens planted near the shore, in the lake. The shopping stops on the boat trip for tourists. The burmese kids, starting to charge money from the bloody ignorant tourist, kneeing – Don´t touch the ground, Florence, it´s dirty! – in front of the locals, neither saying hello nor trying to communicate in a smiley way, zooming, video taping, without a spark of respect. Bargaining about 1,000 Kyat, which is more or less 1 Dollar, buying souvenirs, handcrafted. – You like it or not, don´t blame the locals for one Dollar you scumbag. Whatever.
So. The Lake. Attended by a hilly mountain area at the west and east coast. Weather is changing like in a minute, from rainstorm to tropical island sunshine.
Lazy hilltop guardians.
Invading the valley.
Like huge fishnets.
Leaving me dripping wet.
Cursing the guardians.
Up on the hilltops, during a 2-Days Trekk, eve of creation unclosing an amazing view over the lake and the mountain area, impressing me and the rest of the group. Five altogether, accompanied by one guide and his younger brother. Stayed overnight in a small village up there whereever we arrived at a locals home. We haven´t been the first ones, that´s for sure, but kind of, and of course and unfortunately not the last. Anyway the stay was rural enough. Sleeping on the wooden floor with a planket, better as i expected, eating in a seperated room, peeing from the balcony at night, being adorned by laughs about our appearance. In a group it´s hard to keep in touch with locals after the warmly welcome by the family, counting two kids, the parents and the grandmother. At the groundfloor of their wooden home, all painted black in the inside, with just to pieces of furniture – my dream of a simple and functional architecture, they drying tabacco leaves in the harvest season, on 10 round stoves, heated by an undergrounded oven. The house pretty looks the same like the others in the village. Basic. I love it! They are all farmers, cultivating tabacco, curcuma, corn and wheat in this area around, in an ecofarming symbiose with nature, of course, they maybe never heard about ecofarming, they just do it that way, the only way to keep the soil fertile for generations. Some of the farmers are so moving from field to field, for a couple of months or more, staying in small bamboo huts.
– Can i have the Avocado Salad?
– Sorry Sir, no have, not season.
– Strawberry Juice?
– Orange Juice?
– No season.
I don´t know much about eco-farming, but viewing that surrounding you feel like diving in green. Green all-around. No words. I hope the change in Myanmar, the money, tourism and with that more and more industrialisation won´t destroy and deleting that knowledge about living in peace an balance with earth. Forcing farmers to move. Rising prices caused by imports. Selling grounds. You still see the beginning, cleared hills, the need of wood building up more and more of 5 star resorts, polluting the country with greed and high-speed capitalism. Not one of the locals i´d talked to likes that development, so they know what´s gonna happen, but feel more stucked between earning money by tourism, they hope so, and loosing their paradise.
Group travelling, if it´s just for two days and even with some really good dudes, still sucks. But sometimes you don´t have another choice, if you don´t want to run out of money as fast as possible. This group was after all properly, no complaiing, no bargaining, no worries, no questions about how much did everyone paid. And still managed to escape, in the morning, to stay with the family for a couple of minutes, joining them for breakfast, which was tasty to try – to beat a toast with egg and chips isn´t that hard. The Shan family and the tow guides gathered around the fireplace in the kitchen, like yesterday after dinner, chatting and playing games. Compaire it with a snuggery, filled up with smoke. The two opened windows didn´t help at all. Cigarette helped. I felt blackened from the inside. Smoked. Faces arising and vanishing in the black amorphous state. The kind red smiling face of the grandmother, facial wrinkles telling her story, lined by a laugh of a young girl, a touch of the simplicity and humanity of entities. – I don´t mean it like “Oh, they have nothing but are so happy, that´s great! We have consumption, envy and greed.”