Kyaiktiyo, Mon state, Myanmar

We woke up early and left Bago to head to the golden rock. This monument is the holiest relic for the Myanmar people. They pilgrimage in a mass number to attend this location.

The golden rock is a vast rock which is in the edge of a cliff. Just by watching the rock you think it should scientifically fall down the cliff. The legend tells that a single hair of Buddha was placed between this rock and the cliff’s edge. As the hair is from Buddha it contains the power to sustain the rock from falling. An extra fact is that Myanmar suffers from big earthquakes and still the rock doesn’t fall or has suffered any damage. The rock is literally living in the edge!

As a curious detail we found ourselves again with Beto. We again enjoyed his company. We ascended together to the top of the mountain. The transport seemed as an attraction park. We were inserted into the back of a truck as sardines.

A rare and confusing monk sat beside Beto. He showed us proudly from his smartphone some of his videos he had saved. For a long and sometimes uncomfortable period of time he showed us a vast variety of footage. From childish videos, Disney videos, animal documentaries or of people falling down. He acted a bit awkwardly towards Beto. The way he acted and touched Beto made us conclude he may have felt Beto quite attractive.

The ascend was hilarious as the bus would drive very very fast. We were many people in a truck, but it really seemed as it had a formula one motor. We enjoyed the ride as if we were on a roller coaster. As always we were a bit more noiser than the rest as we would place our hands into the air as in a roller coaster. The bus had several stops which delayed greatly the time we expected to arrive at the top, time was clicking as we had to return to take the last bus direction Yangon. In these stops a man with a microphone took a ladder to be on our height level. He spoke in Burmese so we couldn’t understand one word. We imagine that he was telling some kind of story about the golden rock or about Buddhism. On the meantime children asked for donations for religious belief, a regular practice in Myanmar.

Once we arrived at the top Merel and I realized that we were short in time to visit the golden rock. It felt as Chinese tourism: arrive to the location, take a picture and after some minutes go back. Sadly we were obliged to do this. Many people hanged around this relic, but surprisingly the rock was empty. Merel could not enter as women weren’t allowed… as any religion sexiest politics still preserve.

Again we said bye bye to Beto. He decided to sleep beside the golden rock. Only pilgrims were accepted to sleep here so he would have to find his own way. He finally managed to do it by sleeping in the “tourist office”, a small structure. He told us that the place was magical as during the night thousands of candles were lighted up and every local was by the rock praying to Buddha. A good way to enjoy this location.