Chinlon on the Chindwin

#7 of several posts from Burma and the Chindwin River.  


About the only “sport” we saw being played along the Chindwin was Chinlon.  It can be played two ways, each using a woven bamboo ball about 7 inches in diameter.  The simpler form is a lot like hacky-sack — a single team stands in a circle and tries to keep the ball in the air, passing it around in sometimes elaborate ways.

The other form is sort of a hybrid of volleyball and soccer.  The basic play and court look like volleyball with a shorter net and that smallish bamboo ball.  Like soccer, you can’t use your hands: just your feet and your head.  But like volleyball, the ball can’t hit the ground:  it comes over the net from the opposing team at as fast as they’re able to deliver it.  It looks very difficult.

Also impressive:  Notice the guys in the picture just below — playing a very acrobatic game wearing those long skirt-like “longyis” that are the traditional attire of both men and women in Burma.

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In Bine village, the chinlon court sat right next to a pair of 500-year-old stupas.  You can see a group in the background playing the one-team hacky-sack version of the game.


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