Yesterday was one of the highlights of Myanmar! Some real QUALITY suffering!
We set out for a day of sightseeing outside Hpa-an, with the main draw being the collosal Saddar Cave. The car we hired was a match-box sized thing with two open-air benches in the back in place of a back seat. To get to the cave we had to drive for a few hours, with about 20 minutes being on the dustiest road imaginable across through the jungle and rice paddies. When we got there we were absolutely covered with a thick layer of dust!
The cave is collosal in size... it's several stories high and you can walk about twenty minutes through it with the squeal of hundreds of bats above and loads of bat s*** beneath your feet - you can't wear shoes through the whole thing because of course there's a temple inside it and shoes are a no no in temples... anyhow, you walk in the blackness with a flashlight until at last it opens up to a beautiful lake! A red-robed monk led us through. He then called over a fisherman and the monk paddled the boat across the lake to where the water went underneath the mountain and through it via a partially submerged cavern, which then opened up to a second lake. Back on shore, he took us back partway through the cave, but halfway back led us up some moderate scrambling through a hole in the roof, where we then climbed to near the summit of the mountain, then back down the front side to our awaiting car. Doesn't get much better than a monk guided tour with him rowing your boat around the lake! Awesome!
On the ride back to town we were all sweaty, so the dust REALLY set into the clothes and skin and couldn't be brushed off. Even the Burmese people commented on how dirty we were. And when they do that, you KNOW that you must be really dirty.
The Israeli girl peeled back the sheets of her bed to reveal a long streak of bird s***. Not sure how you could make a bed up and not notice that. Anyhow, the manager apologized profusely and replaced the sheet. Then she noticed a giant squashed cockroach beside her bed. I could only chuckle as I picked it up and threw it in the garbage. She was understandably agitated, but you can't let that stuff get to you here or you will SURELY go mad!
You know that crinkled colored paper streamer that you hang on the roof and walls for parties? Well, save it! That's exactly what the toilet paper here is like. Except it's not nicely colored. Anyhow, now you can do you duty and recycle!