Greetings from Myanmar - the land of the many golden stupas and pink people power! We're at the end of a two week family trip and have now returned to Yangon, and are back with occasional WiFi - Yay!
Myanmar is a fascinating place, it's exploding as a tourist destination and rightly so. An exotic destination emerging from it's forbidden years for those supporting Aung San Suu Kyi's tourism ban and it's booming. Last night we compared Beautiful Burma with our previous holidays in China, Vietnam and Cambodia and it comes out tops for shear diversity.
|Burmese ladies at a donation ceremony in Mandalay|
I remember finding Vietnam a rather depressing country on our various visits. Sure it's beautiful but you sure do travel with the weight of history. Our guides seemingly placing every historical detail in context to 'the war.' Cambodia by contrast has had equally, if not worse atrocities which are more privately born. In China, things are only mentioned behind closed doors within relationships of trust, not for a casual conversation.
Myanmar is somewhere in the middle. The Lady has emerged from years of house arrests, and Myanmar is open for business. A country whose future following the recent 'free and fair' elections remains as a wait and see, the Burmese are cautiously optimistic and we are happy for their hope.
We've loved the ancient history and all the different forms of travel. We've had sweaty, dusty journeys on people-powered trishaws. We've jolted along bumpy streets in pony and carts and cycled around Bagan, the land of ten thousand stupas. We've whizzed up and down lakes and rivers in noisy long-tailed boats and in between, we've had the luxury retreat of our own private air conditioned mini-bus.
|Paintings of Monks in Inwa|
All the while being intrigued and struggling to come to grips with the stories of the modern history. We've found the Burmese a humble and friendly nation, as yet largely undemanding of tourists and trustworthy in terms of giving us the best experiences. We've seen some awesome sights and some awful sights.
Our grubby clothes will be washed on our return, our feet can be pumiced back to pinkness after days of traipsing barefoot around sacred sites and we hold our breath for Burma in their next stage, post elections.
|Female Monks pretty in Pink, Mandalay|
They tell us a sign of voting was the ink-stained pinkie. As the pinkie stains fade let's hope that this life changing moment in Myanmar's history as military control is replaced by voters choice brings a brighter future.
Closer to home and talking of life changing moments, Daughter Number one left this morning for her new life in the UK. She leaves a hot, dusty, dirty Rangoon for an altogether different life. In life's lottery she lucked out with passports to education and the choice to live in either Australia or England. We will miss her!
I have so much to share in the coming days, when I get back onto decent wifi and have time to compose my thoughts.
I hope you are having a lovely weekend!