In December of 2008 Brian Hartenstein and family left America for an adventurous life overseas to live and work throughout Asia, raising three daughters with a sense of wonder and awe at the possibility of the world. It is now 2016 and the adventure continues back home in Oregon. This blog remains as a time capsule to that period. Thank you so much to all our friends around the world. Please stay in touch. We miss you all!
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
On the Road to Mt. Poppa
Got mixed up with a middle-aged group of retired French and Canadian travelers, rented a beat-up old bumpy van, and set out on the road in Central Burma, out of Bagan, to see the Mt. Poppa.
Stopped at a little sugar plantation where the men climb cane trees barefoot and slice up slabs with machetes then grind them into slivers with oxen before they enter the thatched roof still. Yummy, sugar whiskey and wine! I also bought a bag of coconut sweets for my daughters and students back in Taiwan.
One of the Canadians traveling with us was a geologist searching for petrified wood, which he found... his wife was a riot. Here, a wine farmer washes his hands beside the fermenting jars.
Stopped in a little village and chatted with some monks who were traveling in the other direction...we shared fresh strawberries together and swapped tales.
The road was dusty and dirty and unpaved, hanging on in the backseat for dear life...oh yes, our driver ran out of petrol and we were stranded on the side of the road. He left us there... flagging down a passing motorbike, returning half an hour later with a plastic liter bottle full of fuel. While we waited, a group of female, pink clad Buddhist nuns passed.
Mt. Poppa is overrun with monkeys... big screeching claw at your clothes and toes kind of monkeys...sweep out of nowhere and snatch stuff out of your hands monkeys. The villagers all carry slingshots...not kidding... and the boys think it sport to shoot them with rocks, bottle caps, and handfuls of trash.
Along the road the van stops... it's either that or it overheated... still not sure. A much needed morning banana break is very welcome too.
Then around the corner she rises... Mt. Poppa, one of the highest mounted temple peaks in all of Burma... time to park and start our ascent.