|5 January 2006
This degree confluence is located 18km southwest of Monywa on the other side of the Chindwin River in a village called Shwe Tha Min. North of this village are the Shwe Ba Taung and Hpo Win Taung mountains with their famous cave temples. A little further north you have the S&K Monywa Copper Project mines. On the satellite image I had seen a barely visible line passing near the degree confluence which indicated some sort of road. It started from Salingy, a small village on the road between Pakokku and Monywa.
In the early morning we went with our car from the hotel in Monywa, crossing the Chindwin River by ferry and headed southwards to Pakokku. In Salingyi we took a turn to the west and drove on a sandy road in the direction of Shwe Tha Min Village. Everything went fine: the road was fairly passable and matched my GPS receiver’s waypoint route which I had created from the satellite image. On the right side of the road appeared a reservoir which must be fairly new because it was not shown on the satellite image which dates from four to six years ago.
Suddenly and to my unpleasant surprise the road was blocked by water. According to some locals who crossed the water by a small rowing boat the road was flooded because the dam in a little river was broken through. Unfortunately it was not possible to drive the car any further because the water was just too deep and it was obvious we had to take a detour. My GPS receiver displayed a distance of only eight kilometres to the degree confluence...
We drove back to Salingyi and followed the road to Pakokku further south. Later we turned to the right again, following sandy roads and trails to the northwest. After an hour of difficult and adventurous driving we reached the blocked road from Salingyi to the degree confluence again, but this time on the right side of the block.
Finally we arrived in Shwe Tha Min Village. From there it was only a five minute walk to the house of U Aung Min and Daw Khin Win where the degree confluence appeared to be in their tobacco field. To the north from the degree confluence was a small plantation with betelnut leaf plants. The plants were covered to protect them from too much sunshine. West of the spot was a well providing drinking-water and a place to do the laundry.
On the walk back to the car we met some local villagers who were curious about what we were doing. I gave them the "Letter to Landowners" in the hope someone was knowledgeable enough to understand the English letter. We got into the car and drove the sandy road further to the west and turned right to the Shwe Ba Taung and Hpo Win Taung mountains. From there we followed a tarmac road passing the S&K Monywa Copper Project mines where we visited some family in Mine Town before we returned to Monywa.