The Golden Rock is Myanmar’s second main pelgrimage destination (after the Shwedagon Paya, a pagode with one of Buddha’s hairs as a relic). Every Buddhist hopes to once make it to the Golden Rock: a huge gold painted rock balancing on the edge of a mountain n Southern Myanmar.
We did it the way Birmese Buddhists do it: we got to the village Kinpun by bus at 1 am (passed midnight!). This village, at the foot of the Golden Rock, is home to thousands and thousands of pelgrims every day. We laid our head down for 3 hours of light sleep on a spartan straw mat, together with large families of pelgrims, awaiting the first trucks to go uphill at 5 am.
Squeezed in with 40 to 50 people per truck we had a rollercoaster ride up hill,, arriving at the top in a crowded temple complex where people were praying, sleeping, eating, what not. We spent the entire day there just obvserving people, having our photos taken (really!) and talking in gestures and mime with curious locals. An unforgettable experience.
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How interesting this trip has continued to be. I cannot believe they squeezed so many people in the back of the pickup truck. Were the roads curvy without safety rails? I can see throughout your travelogue so far, that perhaps you may have a book to publish when your trip is finished. Especially because you have done all of the illustrations already. I talked to your Mom and Dad today. We are excited that they will get a chance to visit the states this year. Hugs and prayers for a safe journey.
I had to smile when I saw the picture and illustration of the people crammed into the truck. Apparently those Nissan trucks are a popular way to transport groups in many countries in the world. On the trips I took, we did not have seats in the backs of those trucks. We all stood up, (squished together like sardines in a can) and hung on! I always feel that getting to your destination is half of the fun :>)