| 05.03.2005 Myanmar
Greetings from Mandalay, where I finally found internet access!
2 weeks have passed since I arrived in
Myanmar and by now I have got used to the change from frenetic India:
here towns are less chaotic and people shyer. Everybody smiles
spontaneously on the streets, which puts me in a great mood!
Men and women dress in longyi (sarongs
tied at the waist) and the faces of women and kids are painted with
thanaka, which gives a unique touch to this fantastic land. Unlike some
of its neighbouring countries, being closed to the rest of the world
preserved Burmese culture and habits. Maybe this is the only positive
aspect of the unjust and repressive military regime that expresses
itself in self-celebrative propaganda around the country.
The hot season has begun and during
the last week I have looked for fresher air on the Shan mountains, East
of Mandalay. I particularly liked the town of Pyin-Oo-Lwin, which was
an English hill station. Here the atmosphere is relaxed, colonial
villas and pagodas are scattered in the green and strawberries are the
sweetest I have ever tasted....
Click here for the first Myanmar pictures
| 19.03.2005 - Myanmar: The Golden Land
My second fortnight in Myanmar, I went from Mandalay back South, stopping in Monywa, Bagan and Pyay on the way to Yangon.
Bagan, the attraction No.1 for all visitors to Burma, I cycled in the
heat and on the sand, without being able to cover the whole
archeological zone in 3 days: there are thousands of pagodas and
temples in the area.
In Sale, which doesn't have any
guesthouses, I had to spend the night at a Buddhist nunnery: in Myanmar
the locals are forbidden to invite any foreigners overnight. I could
hardly sleep at all: the light stayed on all night, the heat was
incredible and the cockroaches creeping on my legs kept waking me up!
Since I was sleeping on the floor of the main room, at 4 AM I had
finally the pleasure to hear the novices chanting their morning prayers
(rather screaming them) a couple of metres away from my mosquito net...
here I boarded the old ferry to Pyay, on the Irawaddy River. I spent 3
relaxing days among onion sacks and Burmese passengers, transporting
local goods to Pyay or smaller villages on the way there.
boat people cook, sleep, wash, take a bath (with water pumped from the
river),... In the morning the women like to smoke cigars; after taking
a bath they pulverize thanakha roots on the stones and smear their
faces and arms with it.
At night, if the boat stops in the countryside, people chat and sing songs until it's time to unlace the mosquito nets.
Click here for the latest pics of Myanmar
A big Thank You to Myanmar Airways International (MAI)
for transporting me in all comfort
together with my bike and luggage from Delhi to Yangon
and then further to Bangkok!
MYANMAR Part 1: Yangon to Pegu, Mandalay to Pyin-Oo-Lwin and Hsipaw
MYANMAR Part 2: Mandalay to Monywa and Pakokku, Bagan, Sale to Pyay and back to Yangon