Bagan: The Most Perfect And Beautiful Sunrise Of All Time, Ever. With Temples!

Future Emma: So… have you heard of Bagan?

Past Emma: I think so. It’s known as the plain of temples or something, right?

Future Emma: Yeah, but most of them are pagodas, not temples.

Past Emma: What’s the difference?

A very nice hallway.
The entrance to Shwezigon Paya, a pagoda (not a temple).
Same same but different.
Same same but different: The thousands of structures represent “A balance between uniformity and diversity.” (Pierre Pichard)

Future Emma: That’s not really the point. I was just thinking maybe you wanna go there? To Bagan? You could rent a scooter and watch the sunrise from on top of one of the pagodas! The cool thing about sunrise is that you’re watching A NEW DAY BEGIN, which is both literally and metaphorically beautiful.

Past Emma: Wow, that sounds great!

Sunrise make happy.
This could be you!

Future Emma: Totally. But then the night before maybe you fall asleep in the middle of planning and forget to set an alarm, oops! And then you wake up in a panic because there’s light streaming through the window and you think you missed the sunrise!

Past Emma: Do I have to do it that way? Maybe I could remember to set the alarm…

Future Emma: No, the drama is a necessary part of the story arc. And don’t worry, it’s just streetlight. If you check your watch you’ll realise it’s only… FOUR FIFTY-FIVE and you have to get up RIGHT NOW!

Past Emma: O- okay…

Life on the river.
The Irrawaddy River runs through the Bagan plains.

Future Emma: Relax, the scooter rental is right across the street and they’ll be expecting you, you’ll be on your way in no time. You’ve driven a motorbike before, right?

Past Emma: Well actually, –

Future Emma: Nevermind. Driving in the dark along badly maintained roads in heavy rain is the BEST WAY TO LEARN! Questioning why you’re trying to see a sunrise in a rainstorm is all just PART OF THE EXPERIENCE. Realizing halfway you don’t actually know where you’re going because you fell asleep mid-research, trying to finish your research in the rain and the dark by the light of your scooter headlamp then getting lost anyway and spending the best part of sunrise fish-tailing your way out of ankle deep mud is CHARACTER BUILDING.

How building character makes me feel.
Was the arch designed this way?

Past Emma: Can’t I just sleep in?

Future Emma: Then you would miss out on the best part! This is the bit where you take your frustration out on the people you’re with when really you’re just angry at yourself!

Past Emma: Wait a second. What if instead of being a jackass I suck it up and realise that it was a crappy sunrise and I didn’t really miss anything. What if I arrive at the temple-

Future Emma: Pagoda.

Past Emma: Whatever. What if I climb the pagoda and realise that even though the sun is already up the light is beautiful, the temperature is just right, and I’m in Bagan. I could sit quietly by myself for a few minutes listening to birds gossip while the morning reveals itself.

The sun, it rises.
The sunrise sucked but this early morning light is pretty flippin’ nice.

Future Emma: Look, it makes a better story if-

Past Emma: Shut up. After the failed sunrise mission we could head to another pagoda. I’ll get the hang of the scooter thing and start to enjoy navigating around potholes and puddles on dirt roads! And the clouds will part to reveal a GLORIOUS blue sky! In the hottest part of the day we’ll happen upon a shady riverside cafe and stop for FRESH LEMONADE! While exploring Dahmmayan Gyi Phaya we might discover HIDDEN STAIRWAYS! I’ll be EM DIANA JONES in the PAGODA OF GOLDEN BUDDHAS!

Maybe I can find a new suitcase in the market?
If I am going to steal this religious artifact I will need a bigger suitcase.

Future Emma: Do you have any knowledge of religious artifacts, or even like, a headlamp?

Past Emma: Headlamp shmeadlamp! It’s an adventure! The steep, crumbling, doveshit-splattered steps will lead to UNEXPECTED VIEWS and thrilling NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES! – A narrow ledge over a 5 metre drop to an unforgiving stone floor leading to a dark platform further inside the temple – what lies beyond?… The risk/reward calculator slash magic 8 ball says, “all signs point to ADVENTURE!”

Future Emma: That sounds really dangerous…

Past Emma: Fine, whatever. We’ll watch the sun set from Shwesandaw Paya. I will cast away the LOOMING THUNDERSTORM with the POWER OF MY MIND to reveal the first clear sunset ALL WEEK!

No thunderstorm here folks.
Does this need a caption?

Future Emma: You can’t control the weather with your mind!

Past Emma: Quiet. This is my story now! Is that a DRAGON dashing between stands of trees? And look! A SUNSET RAINBOW!

Future Emma: That’s not even a thing!

Past Emma: Sshh! Ryan Gosling and I are trying to enjoy the sunset rainbow. Sunrises are for schmucks anyway.

We practically have the whole place to ourselves
A quiet sunset, just me and Ryan Gosling.

3 thoughts on “Bagan: The Most Perfect And Beautiful Sunrise Of All Time, Ever. With Temples!

  1. Hi Emma been a long time
    The blog is as cool ( do people still use cool) as ever.
    Continue keeping safe
    Try for a sail on the SV Tenancious if you want to experience a sea farers trip


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