Lunch & Lounging with Locals, Inle Lake
One of the real treats we experienced on our trip around Inle Lake was dining and having an afternoon nap with a local family. Our boat man's brother in law is the gentleman who owns several boats and runs tours of the lake with them. Included in his tour package is lunch at his home on the lake. We arrived at his home (all the homes on the lake are literally on the lake and on stilts) and sat and chatted with him on the lower "lounge" level of his home while we waited for the other two boats to arrive. This lower lounge level is basically the first story of the home without exterior walls - think a deck, just below the house. After everyone arrived (roughly ten of us in all) we were escorted upstairs to the dining area. We sat on the ground at low tables and dined on one of the BEST meals we've had the honor of partaking in. There was fresh, whole lake fish fried in a blend of curries and spices, sautéed morning glory greens, an array of Burmese style salads that we had to have seconds and thirds of, and of course the staple of any diet in SE Asia - rice. Like every meal we've had in Myanmar, this one was accompanied by an herbal tea. Fresh fruit for dessert was the perfect ending to this dietary adventure. After lunch we all retired to the lower deck level to take a short nap on bamboo mats and pillows that our hosts provided. This practice of napping during the day is very common due to the high heat. Once, we went to the pharmacy and didn't know if someone was working or not. As soon as we said, 'hello?', a friend face popped up from behind the counter - she was taking her mid-day nap. We enjoyed our nap after lunch. It gave us the energy we needed to continue the rest of the tour throughout the day. Again, what an honor for us being invited into the home of a local Myanmar family to share a meal together.