Posted by: Heather | September 30, 2009

Would You Drink the Water?

Everyone keeps asking Ted and I if we ever get tired of traveling.  The answer is, “No.”  Sometimes we miss having a home base (don’t misconstrue this statement with a need for having an actual home) for a while, since we are constantly on the move, an average of every four days.  Our inspiration is constantly being renewed with the next encounter of a different city or a different country.

Welcome to Burma (Myanmar)- our new FAVORITE country in the world (sorry Cambodia).  These are the faces of Inle Lake, where water brings life.

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After more than 60 countries (Heather) and 50 countries (Ted) respectively, we finally found a place that feels untouched by the modern world.  Fire guns and kill a few monks protesting, hear unimaginable stories about how the government/military represses the people and top it all to off with a tsunami and you magically get a place that tourists aren’t climbing over each other to visit.

How wonderful to step back 100 years in time to a place where fishing boats are foot-paddled across the river and goods like garlic and beans

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are being moved by ox carts, cigarettes are smoked through bamboo bongs and grandma is not too old to paddle a boat.

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Imagine a family living on $1.00 a day and being extremely happy. Welcome to Burma.

I’ve seen houses and development along the river before, but I have never seen any life living OVER the river (the dumpy shacks on the canals in Amsterdam don’t count).  Bamboo poles host one-room, bamboo weaved walled shacks over 10 feet of water.

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There’s no need to worry about where to park your car.  Navigate your canoe off the lake onto your “street” and steer the boat up next to the “stairs” to your house and climb up.  Simple.

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Move around by canoe, fish for food (if you have incredible balance) and visit the floating markets around the lakes for your fresh vegetables.

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Make money by selling your fish or pulling up seaweed from the river to protect the floating gardens of tomato plants in-order to retain the moisture and soil that needs constant maintenance.

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Or, you could choose to roll cigarettes in your house for extra money…if you don’t smoke them all!  You can make as much as $0.45 a day.

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Then there’s the question, “Would you drink the water?”  I wouldn’t, especially because they won’t.  All waste and trash goes in.  Granted packaged goods and paper aren’t common, but you’ll see a little bit of everything else floating in the lake.  Everyone washes their clothes in the water although whites don’t stay white for long.

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Life is a simple existence.



  1. Your site was extremely interesting, especially since I was searching for thoughts on this subject last Thursday.

  2. What an incredible experience you and Ted are living.

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