By Thiha, the Traveller @ Thiha Lulin
Although some travellers retold a freezing story of the icy morning at Pyaunggaung Bernard Village, a 45-minute drive from Mogok, I did not have experiences yet to enjoy such a situation. Environs of Bernard or Pyaunggaung Village where olivine can be extracted were filled with icy dusts in the mornings of cold season whenever the sky was clear with clouds. So, travellers from the tropical region and those from deltaic area of the country intentionally came to the village for enjoying the scene and to record it as a natural beauty. Grasping an opportunity to pay a visit to Mogok, I rushed to Bernard Village so as to view the snow-capped scene.
Bernard Village without disappearing simplicities
Mogok region was a residence of British colonialists 120 years ago. At that time they extracted various kinds of precious gems from Mogok with the use of machinery. I noted down something that the village was named Bernard concerning the name of British Ambassador Charles Bernard. Despite changing to new name Ywathaya, the village is still called Bernard.
Villagers look like Chinese. Their clothes and behaviors are similar to that of Chinese. They are honesty and frank. When I took photos on frozen parts after stopping my car, a woman from nearby house shouted, “How wonderful coldness it is! You are endurable.”
Heading to Bernard Village in icy morning of cold season
I started my trip from Mogok to the village at 5 am. Four-wheeled automobiles are the most suitable for driving along the hilly roads. Saloons can be used on the roads but these facilities are slightly rough and narrow. Especially, travellers need to take care of motorcycles which are driven with high speed. Some of them drive in the central way of the roads. That is why drivers of automobiles should take care of driving not to touch them. Moreover, all drivers must steer their vehicles along the roads because of ravines and hillsides on both sides.
Before enjoying icy dusts at Bernard Village, travellers will have an extra chance to view the beautiful scene of sunrise coupled with a bird’s-eye panoramic view of Mogok on arrival at Laypauk Pagoda. It is significant that travellers standing on that site can enjoy scenes of eastern and western parts of Mogok at night.
If travellers spend a short time of enjoying the sunrise scene at the site, they will arrive at Bernard Village at a time when icy dusts can clearly be seen in natural lighting of the morning. In fact, as icy duct is not snow, it immediately melts in sunray. That is why travellers should rush to the village so as to enjoy natural beauty of icy dusts within the period of one or two hours.
When I started my trip from Mogok in the morning, I saw icy dusts on the roof of car. So it was sure to see icy dusts in Bernard Village. As I noticed icy dusts on leaves and bushes on the way before arriving at Bernard Village, my soul could not control my heartbeat. On arrival at Bernard Village, I saw everything was capped with icy dusts. Roofs of the houses, crop plantations, parts of soil and grass were frozen under white icy dusts. When I broke a leave, it was so rigid. I noticed my pleasure when I saw the wet leaves and plants on which drops of the water pipeline were frozen. Generally I do not satisfy feeling of very coldness because of causing dullness. However, I was very active and happy that morning. I was not satisfied with taking photos over the scenes here and there.
Forgotten Bernard War Cemetery
Being a station of British troops, a war cemetery for British soldiers who died in action in the battles between Anglo-Myanmar wars is located near Bernard Village. In the past, the war cemetery which lost in the bushes was not important site. In fact, the war cemetery should be valued similar to that of other cities to catch interest of globetrotters. On my arrival, I had a chance to visit the cleaned cemetery. At that time, sunray helped melt the icy dusts around the cemetery but some icy dusts on the ground away from sunray were still frozen.
Market day in Bernard
If you have experienced activities of the market day in Bernard Village, it would be excellent on your trip. If you visit the market at the entrance to the village, you will have to observe traditions of hustle and bustle of the locals at the market.
Noodle shops open sale for delicious foods at the market whether it is the market day or not. As it is a good delicacy of Shan traditional noodle meals, I urge all travellers to taste such a kind of noodle.
Munitions Dump in Bernard Village
Visitors can see an over 100 years old munitions dump beyond a crop plantation behind a house in Bernard Village. It is a small one. Its position is located among houses and crop plantations. As it is similar to a warehouse where some materials are stored, I observed it. The travellers wishing to visit the munitions dump need to seek help of local people because of difficulty to give direction of ways to it.
At a time when Bernard Village hides under icy dusts
Actually, chances cannot be grasped every morning to enjoy scenes of icy dusts covering Bernard Village. Such kind of scene can be seen on the days between November to February when the sky space is not filled with clouds. I have known that environs of the village are not frozen within a week after raining or being cloudy. That is why it is not sure to have experiences of freezing in Bernard Village whenever everybody pays a visit to the village.
If you arrive in Mogok in the cold season, I would like to urge you to pay a visit to Bernard Village so as to enjoy scenic beauties of icy dusts in the morning.
May you all have a safe, healthy and happy trip. Translated by Than Tun Aung