One Pagoda, Two Pagoda

Sunset on a Pagoda

One pagoda, two pagodas. Old pagoda, new pagoda. This one is right under a star. This one is right next to a car. From here to there, from there to here, pagodas are everywhere. That’s what you would say when you approach Bagan, the City of Two Thousand Pagodas. You could try counting them, but after a while, you will give up.

Spinning thread like Gandhi!
Spinning thread like Gandhi!

Dad took us to a lot of temples, but we breaked in a couple of villages and a lacquerware shop. In one of the villages, I helped spin cotton into thread, like Gandhi. In the lacquerware shop, we learned a lot about lacquer. We learned that it’s made from tree sap, which is white inside the tree. Then they take it out of the tree, and paint it onto the shaped material, but it turns black when oxidized! Lacquer doesn’t harden in the sunshine, though. Sunlight makes lacquer runny! For lacquer to dry, it must be kept in a humid environment, protected from direct sunlight. When I saw the lacquer getting mixed, I noticed that its consistency is very similar to the consistency of liquid chocolate, but it is so black that the color reminded me of tires.

The comedians (in pink) were my favorite characters
The comedians (in pink) were my favorite characters

One day, we went to a show. It was so amazing. The play was filled with local, traditional dances, and singing went along with some. I really liked a part with comedic dancers. That was funny!

On our last day, we saw a sunset on a pagoda. How glorious! It was so colorful, and the silhouettes of the incalculable pagodas were absolutely stunning. It looked like it could have been an alien world, dotted out, pagoda after pagoda. In no logical order whatsoever, it was a wonder how people knew where to build their own pagoda, or simply make their own mark on the land, two equivalent actions. Whichever you prefer to call it, after centuries and centuries of the practice, Bagan earns its name as the City of Two Thousand Pagodas, destined to join Casco Veijo, Melaka, and many, many other places a UNESCO world heritage site.

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