Catch of the day in Yenangyaung

Yesterday we asked Lyon – who manages the guesthouse – if he could arrange a fishing trip with a local guy. No problem he said. So this morning at 6.30am after a short breakfast Diego, Enzo and I walked to the nearby village where we were picked up by two motorbikes. After a rather adventerous ride through fields and narrow paths we arrived at the dry and sandy shores of the Irrawaddy. There we met our fisherman – an older, cigar smoking and very very taciturn guy – who led us through the dry riverbed to the actual shore.

The fisherman made some preparations and we chitchatted with some families living a simple and kind of nomadic life on the shores of the Irrawaddy. The families in the village and the fishermen families on the shore live with approximately UDS 1-3 a day which gets them through the day but not more. The boys were excited and in the first hour we just glided along the Irrawaddy – observed some birds, jumping fishes and many farmers manually working the land. As I was getting the feeling that the fishing part would not really happen (…the taciturn guy had still not talked… but was very friendly), he stopped the boat and started throwing out the net.

Then again a long waiting in the hot sun (currently at 2pm it’s 37 degrees in the shadow). After an hour or so we started to haul in the net (200-300m long) and started counting. We got roughly two dozen fishes – mostly very small ones and one medium sized ‘thing’. All in all I would say 300g of fish. Enough? We were already under the sun for about three hours when the net was thrown out again and hauled in after a while…this time zero, nada, nil fish. Not sure if we encountered bad luck, empty river is overfished or other reasons. I guess that the boys started to look miserable and luckily we drove back to the starting point, walked and drove back to the guesthouse – we arrived around noon quite exhausted! We even got to keep the catch of the day, despite my insistence to hand over the fish to the fisherman’s family. No chance. So we handed the fish over to the girls in the kitchen and 10min later me and the boys had rice and fried fresh fish on our table – yummy!

Even if the trip was exhausting for the temperatures the boys loved it and I believe they got a real insight how life is in Mynmar aside the touristic hotspots. And for myself: I guess I have probably never witnessed a reality of (harsh) life that is more distant from our circumstances at home.

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