Friday, 31 January 2020

The Sculpture Section Of Mandalay

There's a neighborhood in Mandalay that's overrun with little sculpture factories, basic storefront establishments that spew dust all over the place. Get carving.

Typical spread, sculptures everywhere, a pile of chips growing.

Not a vocation for the neat freak. Hard work, no pun intended (OK, a little?). The finished product, all lined up and shined up.

Polisher portrait.

Supply does not seem to be a problem, each factory storing work wherever it can.

In another part of town, military sculpture as propaganda taking shape.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Bringing The Bling At Mahagandhayon Monastery

Gold and shiny mosaic glass tiles are the style emphasis at Mahagandhayon. Not unusual for a Buddhist complex, just maxed out a bit at this monastery.

Side stupa, bathed in gold and covered in little alcoves, all with their own Buddha statue. Lily has been gilded.

Small figure, exhausted by the divine reflection. More stupas, more gold.

The gold keeps going and going.

The grounds, obsessively manicured and managed into a surreal existence. Still life Buddha, all about the tone yellow.

Bam! Inside the main stupa, the big Buddha is Mr Bling. Perfectly painted and lit, behind diamond-looking columns, he's just begging for some selfie action. Desire obliged.

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Taxidermy Nirvana At The Rahmat International Wildlife Museum & Gallery

Medan, in Indonesia, has one of the best animal taxidermy collections in the world. Why? Its founder, Dr H. Rahmat Shah, is an avid hunter and he's crisscrossed the world, shooting everything possible. Their loss of life is the museum goer's gain. It's an amazing place, both in the variety of animals and the quality or preservation and display.

Various cats getting busy. The museum loosely divides animals geographically and/or by similar species. Noah couldn't have done a better job.

Two animals of the "Big Five" trophy animals to hunt. Can you name the other three species?

Important birds.

Big horned thing and a snarling hippo, blue light for water mood.

The  furry behemoths in the bear cave, not happy a wolf is crashing the party. BYOB. Bring your own bird.

Getting local to Sumatra, the orangutan. Formal warthog portrait.

Tigers, showing what they do best.

The "Big Five" animals to hunt: lion, rhino, elephant, leopard and panda. Oh no, not a panda! Correction, the last animal of the five is the cape buffalo.

The Bagaya Stupa At Lake Taung Tha Man

It's a small, lakeside temple, crammed in between the road and the water. What it lacks in space, Bagaya makes up in quirky character.

Entrance sign and gold stupa in the background.

Party space. Buddhas up the wall.

The big Buddha.

The turquoise grotto Buddha.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Tourists Trampling Taungthaman Lake's U Bein Bridge

U Bein Bridge is the oldest, longest teak wood bridge in the world. Is there much competition? No matter, it crosses a lovely lake and around sunset, attracts hordes of tourists like mosquitos to a plump person in a Speedo. No offense to the portly bather.

The bridge has been around since about 1850 and spans 1.2 kilometers. There's no denying its natural, scenic beauty.

Or its touristic attraction. Huge tour buses wheeze in and start lining up a couple of hours before sunset. In the dry season, you can meander on or under the bridge.

There are also old time carriage rides available. The turnaround point looks a little like Hell's Half Acre.

On the bridge, a stop at an ice cream stall. If you've had enough of the bridge, a slow boat to nowhere on the lake is an option. Line up.

Back in the tourist bus gulag, a driver catches some down time in the luggage hold, the bridge traffic monitored in the reflection.

Monday, 27 January 2020

Around Lake Taung Tha Man Near Mandalay

Lake Taung Tha Man is a nice respite from busy Mandalay. It's about 45 minutes south of the city and still a bit of a lazy, rural backwater.

Flood plain settlement and donkey cart during the dry season.

Lakeside shrine and laundry day in the shadow of a Buddhist stupa.

The tattoo man.

Local housing and local beer sign.

The dusty, empty lot.

Friday, 24 January 2020

Restoring Pahtoedawgyi Pagoda Near Mandalay

Pahtoedawgyi Pagoda is a beautiful stupa that got a little restoration love in the spring of 2019. It's located in the Amarapura area, south of Mandalay city. Built in 1819, still going strong.

Park the tour bus and go have a look. Let the sleeping dog lie.

The main stupa, covered in bamboo scaffolding. Like a lattice cap.

The construction, inadvertently mixing religious motifs.

Navigating supplies, a touchy job for the crew.

A Buddha statue out back enjoying its umbrella setting.