July 4th, 2012; Bagan, Myanmar
Dear Khun Pedro,
Wow! When I was wandering, and roving around the temple area of Bagan—cruising through 9-12th Century structures, I thought of you and how much you would totally dig this place. Pre 1975 earthquake, they charted over 5,000 temples, now just over 2,000 remain standing. Whereas Angkor Wat temple area is made to host an entire community or two over the span of many miles, Bagan temples were family built and spread over 20 square kms, hence the reason there are so darn many!
Inside many of the temples were mural paintings, many 800 years old & each temple had only one painter. The temple paintings reflected stories of the 547 Buddha lives he had before reaching Nirvana. There was a LOT to look at! The temples I really grooved on had paintings of the Buddha’s footprint overhead, on the ceiling of the temples. Even though there are over 7 Billion people on earth, I spent very little time with other tourists with the temples. Off the big tourist path and hello my own private Idaho…You’re going left? Great, I’ll go right…
An older temple guard (nearly 65 years old), small in stature (nearly 5 ft tall) found me laying down in a temple gazing up at a set of lovely blue Buddha footprints, and he grabbed me by the shirt literally laughing and dragging me out of the temple…he was OVERly excited to take out his key ring and push me into temples, which were not open to the public. He showed me so many cool nooks and crannies special to each temple—his English was fantastic and he was very proud of his knowledge. He loved his $50/month job as the eyes and ears of his 20 allotted temples. The guard Mr. Mozin like you, understands all the nuances and details of history, and unlike you, Mr. Mozin could not read or write. His knowledge base was profound, and his temple stories verbose. Mr. Mozin, took me around for 2 hours, showing me about 9 temples with those master keys. He showed me ancient untranslatable script, and paintings that monks have taken from the walls and now use as the image for the protection tattoos they bear.
Peter, my most knowledgeable history fact man, you would so dig it here…whereas most tourists spend only one-or-two days here, I took six.