After spending a day exploring Mandalay city by bike in the heat of 32°C we decide for joining a tour to three ancient cities, the former capitals of Myanmar: Sagaing, Ava (today: Inwa) and Amarapura. They are approx. 20 km southwest of Mandalay. Booking the night before at hotel reception we are collected at 8 am next day by a minivan with tour guide and driver from our hotel, only for us, three persons.
The driver, a friendly man, speaks little English. The young lady tour guide, a graduate of the university of traditional medicine, Mandalay. She used to support her widowed mother in her pottery business together with another sister, both still live at home. In Addition, she works as a tour guide. Her English is quite hard to understand but we get used to it after a while.
Unknowingly we are led to the Mahagandayon Monastery, introduced to the former residence, now the museum of its founding monk. Then we are guided through the monastery kitchen to see how their meals are prepared for the next day.
Finally, it is time to watch the young monks queueing for their meal. We are also encouraged to take picture while they are having dinner at the table but we don’t feel comfortable to do so and leave for the next stop.