May 3, 2012
Happy birthday to my sister, Susie, back in the US!
I had an early morning flight today to Mandalay, a city of 2 million people. Upon arrival, my local guide, Aung, met me, and we headed to Amarapura and the U Bein Bridge. This bridge was constructed in the mid 19th century completely out of teak wood salvaged from the palace that was at that time moved from Ava to Amarapura The bridge was named after the mayor, its builder. My guide told me the direct meaning of U Bein, in English, is Mr. Skinny Man. They were filming on the bridge…a movie…a commercial…not sure what (where the umbrellas are in this photo).
Then we headed to the Mahagandayon Monastery where more than 1,000 monks live and study Buddhism. 65% of Myanmar’s one million monks live in or around Mandalay. This young monk was waiting patiently for lunch, which is served here at 10:15am. It is their only meal of the day.
So we stopped by a factory to see how they make gold leaf. This woman was applying the final touches, cutting them into one inch squares and placing in stacks of 100. From one ounce of gold, i thought my guide said they can make 13,000 squares of gold leaf (but I couldn’t confirm that anywhere. They are then sold at the temples and stupas for people to purchase and apply to Buddhas (as above) or the outside of stupas.
..each housing a tablet with a portion of Buddhist scripture in the original religious language, all together containing the entire Buddhist scriptures. This is thus known as the world’s largest book…
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Location:Ayawaddy River View Hotel