November 10, 2016
When I wrote this a few days ago. the internet was truly terrible in our hosteland I promised to add photos later. I have now done so.
Weather is an odd thing.
It is always with us, but we can often underestimate its effects on us. I have lived half a century, but this lesson is consistently lost on me.
For example, on two consecutive trips to New Zealand, we visited both Rotorua and Lake Taupo in the North Island. [Note: it is not important to know either of these places except that both are near a lake and have lovely views.]
On the first trip, the weather on our visit to Rotorua was idyllic. We enjoyed warmth, high blue skies and a light breeze. Every flower was more beautiful, the lake shimmied in the distance and we fell in love. Our visit to Lake Taupo, however, was cold and overcast. Intermittent rain made any outside endeavor unpleasant.
By contrast, our return trip saw the exact opposite weather pattern. Rotorua was raining while Taupo was glorious. My opinion of the cities changed almost instantly.
Such has been the case here. We have had overcast days here that have made sunset and sunrise watching (a major activity here), plain and uninteresting.
This morning, I woke to see a weather report predicting rain all day. Happily, they got it wrong. It has been blue skies, cool weather and just a touch of rain.
Sure, we had to take our e-bikes through mud and puddles, but the sky was blue and the day lovely.
Of course, the e-bikes help as well. Having a midsize convenience that allows for maximum freedom is huge for the kids, especially Liam.
We we decided to ride the longest (and muddiest) route available to us.
While we rode, the weather cleared and the sites became alive. In that moment, we decided to do something that bothered a few of us. Apparently, the temples of Bagan was once a Unesco World Heritage site. But a few construction companies persuaded the military controlled government to put in a resort, including a travesty of a tower. This tower led to UNESCO stripping Bagan’s status as a world heritage site.
But even if the tower is a travesty, it provides fantastic views of the surrounding area, particularly since the sun was peaking through the clouds and making the orange temples jump out against the lush greenery.
Regarding the e-bike rides through the mud, our family loved it, especially whenever one of us got stuck in the mud. Liam spun 90 degrees in mud and I went into a puddle I assumed to be 4 inches deep only to discover that it was essentially a foot. Susie held her own.
The bikes gave us the chance to see a structure in the distance and simply say, “lets check it out.” What is how we ended up at the viewing tower and at least 9 widely different temples. We ended our day at the top of a temple that provided great views of the surrounding sites.
We, and 300 of our nearest and dearest friends, snapped shots and admired places we had visited before.