We paid the entrance fee, which was substantially higher for me as a foreigner than for my students. Ma Khine did try to reason with the cashier that I was dressed in typical Myanmar fashion and that I was accompanying Myamar people, but her efforts went to waste and I handed over my foreigner fee. To be honest, the discrepancy in cost doesn’t bother me. I think that it seems like a fairly sensible thing to do. I come from a very touristy region of the UK and it soon gets expensive to show visitors around the place. My Mum and I have often lamented that we should have a local pass which give a discounted rate. It seems that is exactly what Myanmar does!
We fed the fish that live in the lake with bread crusts. The fish have enormous mouths for the size of their body, and I was slightly anxious about throwing a crust with too much enthusiasm and ending up in the lake as part of the meal for the fishes! Luckily I found that I was actually pretty stable on my feet and I was able to concentrate on throwing the crusts as far from me as possible as to not risk to possibility of the fish jumping at me from their watery dwelling. This was another photo opportunity for my students who seemed to relished my enthusiasm to feed the fish!
My lovely students had prepared lunch for all of us, and so at around 11:30 we found a suitable place to picnic. By this point the weather had taken a turn for the worse and we found somewhere undercover to sit and eat. In fact, my students had a good giggle and asked after my husband when it turned out that our picnic spot was the normal place for young couples to come and spend time together. Of course, as we were all female the effect was somewhat lost on us, but that didn’t dampen the mood or the taste of the delicious lunch.
Each of the replica houses has a gift shop beside it, as well as some defining feature of the local area. For the Rakhine house, this means Mrauk Oo. It was nice to know that we had seen the real life historical place, and the replica brought back good memories of our trip. My students were insistent on buying me small mementos of our day together, and so I ended up with quite a collection of items from the various gift stalls. Thank you very much, it is certainly a day out that I could never forget.
NEH Coordinator and Teacher Trainer