Myanmar October 2006

October 21, 2006 - November 12, 2006

Saturday, October 21 - Flight Madrid - Bangkok - Yangon
Sunday, October 22 - Arrival Yangon
Monday, October 23 - Yangon
Tuesday, October 24 - Kyaiktiyo/Kinpun camp, Golden Rock
Wednesday, October 25 - Bago & Yangon
Thursday, October 26 - Heho & Inle Lake
Friday, October 27 - Inle Lake
Saturday, October 28 - Inle Lake & Pindaya
Sunday, October 29 - Pindaya & Kalaw
Monday, October 30 - Trekking to Palaung Villages
Tuesday, October 31 - Mandalay
Wednesday, November 1 - Mandalay
Thursday, November 2 - Maymyo
Friday, November 3 - Sagaing & Monywa
Saturday, November 4 - Phowindaung & Mandalay
Sunday, November 5 - Boat to Bagan
Monday, November 6 - Bagan
Tuesday, November 7 - Bagan
Wednesday, November 8 - Flight to Ngapali
Thursday, November 9 - Ngapali
Friday, November 10 - Ngapali
Saturday, November 11 - Flight Yangon - Bangkok
Sunday, November 12 - Flight Bangkok - Madrid - Bilbao

Bagan - View from Shwesandaw PayaSatcha and I decided that we wanted to take a big trip this year. We were thinking about going to Vietnam when we started hearing of people who had been to Myanmar. These people had been to both Vietnam and Myanmar and said that Myanmar was much more beautiful. Vietnam had exploded with tourism whereas Myanmar was still very virgin in that sense. So, we decided to go to Myanmar.

We organized the trip with a travel agency in Bilbao. They contacted an agency in Myanmar who provided the hotel reservations, transportation and local guides.

This trip was amazing and impacted me in so many good ways!!! Myanmar is beautiful!!! And the people are even more beautiful!!!!!

Streets of YangonThe people are wonderful. They were so friendly, genuine and always Monywa Morning Marketsmiling. They always said hi as we walked by on the streets and kids would also wave and say hi. They also loved seeing themselves in a picture. After taking a picture we'd show them the results on the screen of our digital camera and they thought it was so funny to see themselves. One lady asked us to get the picture out of the camera for her to have.

Christine buying sandalsThey are not used to seeing "white people", and especially not used to seeing "white people" wearing a longyi. Satcha and I each bought longyis because we were told that this would show the people a sign of our acceptance to this tradition. A longyi is the typical Satcha wearing longyipiece of clothing that the people from Myanmar wear. It's a piece a piece of cloth sewn into a cylindrical shape worn around the waist going down to the feet (similar to a skirt). It's tied in a knot around the waist. Everyone, men, women and children, wear longyis. It definitely helps you keep cooler, not having to wear pants, with the heat and humidity that they have. As we walked along the street EVERYONE looked at Satcha, staring, pointing and smiling at him. It's very tricky to tie the longyi around your waist and keep it from falling. Pretty often it's necessary to adjust the knot, which the locals knew how to do very easily, but since Satcha wasn't used to tying it we would stop on the sidewalk while he tried to get it tied. Two times two different guys stopped to help Satcha tie it!!!! It was quite a site...while these guys helped him everyone on the street would stop and watch!!!!

Kids wearing thanakaPeople wear thanaka, a yellowish-white paste made from ground wood and water. It's applied to the face and sometimes the arms of mostly women and girls, sometimes men and boys use it. It is used as a sun cream and make-up. It really makes your skin soft.

Shwedagon PayaShwethalyaung BuddhaThere are pagodas everywhere and always filled with money, gold and jewels. People donate the majority of what they have to the pagodas. If it isn't material goods that they donate, it's their time, cleaning the pagoda for example. People spend a lot of time meditating and praying in these beautiful pagodas. There are also many Buddha statues all over Myanmar. My favorite was the Shwethalyaung Buddha, the reclining Buddha.

The electricity goes out at times; it just turns on and off unexpectedly. In many towns there are no street lights, so at night it's really dark as you walk down the street. At the end of the night when the shops have closed, when you walked down the street you see groups of people huddled around a small TV in their shops or at restaurants.

Kids looking in trashThere is barely any sanitation. The sidewalks are loose Man making betelnutblocks of cement and below them you can see all the trash that people throw on the side of the streets. There are a lot of rats and cockroaches. People chew betelnut with tobacco and spit out the liquid (it's like a red chewing tobacco) which leaves red spots all over the street and sidewalks. There was a really strong smell in the streets from all the food stalls and markets lined along the sidewalks and the fish drying in the sun.

Pick-up truck busTraffic was crazy. There are so many types of vehicles on the street: oxen carts, horse carts, bicycles, trickshaws, pick-up truck buses, Trafficregular buses, cars, semi-truck buses. And, there seem to be no rules to the road. People drive to not hit another vehicle, person or dog sleeping in the middle of the road or to avoid potholes. Cars honk to pass a person or vehicle on the road. People would pack into and on top of the buses; the buses looked like they were going to tip over during a turn.

One legged canoe rowingInle Lake was my favorite area to visit. There are towns built in and around the lake. Kids take boats to get to school. People Women of Inle Lakewere growing crops in the middle of the lake, tomatoes that looked delicious. There were Buddha statues in the middle the lake. The life in that area revolves around the lake.

This trip was a very humbling and beautiful experience for me. These memories will stick with me forever.

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marie ange said...

Hello Christine! soy amiga parisina de Tirma! Me dio el link de tu blog que lei con mucho plaser y atencion! Me encanta! Estamos preparando con mi esposo una vuelta al mundo y vamos a pasar por unos paises que visitaron! asi que queria preguntarte (si no te molesta) unas cosas sobre Myanmar?...
Bueno Christine, si te da tiempo, quedamos en contacto? Gracias, y
Saludos! Marie Ange

Christine said...

Hola Marie Ange!! No hay ningun problema! Estoy encantada de responder a todas tus preguntas!! Puedes enviarlas por comentarios en el blog o me puedes pasar tu email. Hasta pronto! Saludos.