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  1. #1
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    Holiday in Burma

    I have started processing and uploading the photos I took in Burma. I will try to post one a day, similarly to my holiday in Thailand thread.

    For starters - U Bein bridge, the longest teak bridge in the world, near Mandalay, is on the cover of Lonely Planet's current guidebook. As almost everywhere in Burma, the main attraction here is people-watching.

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    There are lots more nuns in Burma than in Thailand. They wear orange and pink and shave their heads. Many young girls attend monastic schools, just like boys who become novice monks. Monks like to cover their heads with part of their robes, this is something I have hardly ever seen here in Chiang Mai.
    Also, I was wondering if the ban on intoxicating substances for monks does not include betel nuts? Just as among the general population, a high percentage of monks seem to be addicted - the stained teeth are hard to miss.

  2. #2
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    Re: Holiday in Burma

    We took a random walking tour of Mandalay on our very first day.
    I hope this is as close as I ever get to India. Even though I knew what to expect, it was kind of shocking. And exciting at the same time. A total assault on all the senses. The people were really nice and friendly. But then, it depends on your background how you interpret their stares - "geez, they want to take away my camera! they all have their eyes on them!" or you just see a bunch of very interested people. I don't know how many travellers visit Burma a day but we hardly ever bumped into other whites. It is not a total commonplace as in Thailand.

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    I was kicking myself for not updating my vaccinations properly. Thailand has some standards of hygiene and sanitation. Burma has almost no running water or reliable electricity, which shakes the foundations of each and every meal you need to have. Even a walk through the market feels like you will be infested with who knows what - on top of typhoid and hepA, even just looking at the food. Everyone seems to be spitting, peeing in the street, living there, doing all bodily functions there.
    We all had queasy stomachs for weeks but actually the only food poisoning I have had during the holidays came out of my own fridge. My parents had a generous supply of herbal whiskey to balance the effect of any dodgy meals we were forced to have. Because sometimes it is only dodgy meals you find. Unless you want to keep eating bananas for weeks.
    I loved Burma and I want to go back, but next time I will make sure I have more carbon tablets, updated jabs, and a huge supply of prepackaged emergency food from Thailand such as crackers, wafers, cans of tuna, chocolate, that sort of thing. Some of these are available (everything seems to come from China and Thailand) but often very difficult to find.

  3. #3
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    Re: Holiday in Burma

    Betti you are sounding more and more like poo ying Thai. Constant talk about food and eating.

    Itis great the way you are posting every day. It is so muchh easier to take in

  4. #4
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    Re: Holiday in Burma

    I do eat all the time.

  5. #5
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    Re: Holiday in Burma

    Actually when I was on the U Bein bridge talking to a monk he gave me advise on where to pick up girls

  6. #6
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    Re: Holiday in Burma

    all the things I miss out on just because I am not a man!

    I like taking pictures of children and then showing them on the screen. Sometimes people asked me to take their pictures or wanted me to pose for a family photo with them. Anyone has an idea why people would do that? It has happened more than once in Thailand as well.

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  7. #7
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    Re: Holiday in Burma

    There are numerous stunning wooden temples on the tourist trails in Burma. They have not been totally wiped away by modernisation like around here in Chiang Mai. The woodwork is stunning, full of intricate details.

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    This one is in Mandalay - too lazy now to look up the name - but I vividly remember the Lonely Planet map of the city is TOTALLY not to scale and it is ABSOLUTELY NOT only 2kms from the guesthouses. More like 5.
    Unfortunately not even my new camera was good enough to take a decent pic of the bats hanging on the outdoor "ceiling" areas around sunset.

    It is a really inconvenient and annoying custom that in Burma you take off your shoes and socks before entering the temple yard. Not only debris, spit, dog poo, mud - but also lots of loose nails on the platforms of the wooden temples. It is also really hot on the bits that happen to be in the sun. You adapt - local kids adapt and bring you palm leaves to spread on the floor! Next time I go, I am going to update my tetanus shots as well. Just in case. I was paranoid with each and every cut or blister that I had on my soles. I had never been worried in Thailand, where temple floors are usually kept spotlessly clean.

    Sounds like I am complaining all the time I loved these temples, I spent ages. The locals probably don't have an idea how special and precious they are. I am not exactly cheering for poverty and lack of development but I really do hope that these treasures will be preserved even when modernisation starts sometime in the future.

  8. #8
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    Re: Holiday in Burma

    public transportation in Mandalay - think carefully if you would like to take one of these for your daytrips (I honestly don't know why Lonely Planet mentions public vans as an option) or hire a taxi for about 15 dollars!
    and then imagine when the water festival hits and everyone wants to go home for the holidays. in Bagan, we watched as they squeezed 8 more people onto and into a van that looked like this. they tied people up on the roof with a rope!

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  9. #9
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    Re: Holiday in Burma

    Quote Originally Posted by Betti View Post
    public transportation in Mandalay - think carefully if you would like to take one of these for your daytrips (I honestly don't know why Lonely Planet mentions public vans as an option) or hire a taxi for about 15 dollars!
    and then imagine when the water festival hits and everyone wants to go home for the holidays. in Bagan, we watched as they squeezed 8 more people onto and into a van that looked like this. they tied people up on the roof with a rope!

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    These are really awesome pics of everyday lives of the Burmese people. Enjoyed them lots

    Did you go on the public van the local way?

  10. #10
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    Re: Holiday in Burma

    I have no problems with public transport in Thailand, but no, in Burma we opted for hiring a taxi for the day as there were three of us anyway.

    Mahamuni Paya is the most sacred shrine in Mandalay. In these pictures, local families take their boys to the temple to be ordained as novice monks dressed up in ornate costumes. In Chiang Mai, the Shan community has a similar ceremony, the difference is that here they believe the boys' feet should not touch the ground so they ride horses or relatives' backs around the temple. I did ask our taxi driver / guide about this but due to language problems could not figure out if these boys were ethnic Burmese or Shan.

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    (click on the photos for bigger size)

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