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Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Delivery Driver


I have absolutely no idea what is in the boxes, Google couldn't help me but it's gratifying to see that they come in different sizes.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Backpacker Bingo Burma Style

A change from the non la, the flag t-shirts and the erroneous ao dai but still the fun continues. Spotted in Myanmar we have:

The matching pair - extra points for this - longyi and "ethnic" shirt combo's coupled with matching beards. I give myself additional extra marks for them having the poor taste/confidence to actually wear these to the airport. Spotted in international departures in Yangon.

backacker bingo double bubble

Wandering the temples of Bagan I came across this example; longyi, "ethnic" shirt and thanaka, I like to think he was haggling over the cost of a lovely hat to set off his outfit perfectly. He was in the company of another two similarly attired backpackers but they were cunning and I could never get them all together in the one frame.

Backpacker bingo longyi and thankaka Bagan cropped

Cambodia next, rich hunting grounds I think.

Yangon, Myanmar

There are no motorbikes in Yangon, they are banned. Coming straight from HCMC that took a bit of getting used to. Lots to see and find out. The danger of asking direct questions had been impressed on me but it didn't take much powers of detection to read between the carefully chosen lines of taxi drivers and temple guides.

Shwedagon Pagoda dominates the city, it's breathtaking

Shwedagon main stuppa

Shwedagon with child

Spires Shwedagon

Elsewhere the reclining Buddha is stunning

Reclining Yangon

The harbour is worth a look

Harbour Yangon

The taxis are great feats of keeping things together, this is my favourite makeshift seat of the entire trip, our regular taxi had nice matching lino on the floor in a tastefull wood grain but that was no competition for the deck chair guy.

Rangoon Taxi

A great starting off point, well about the ONLY starting off point for a trip to Myanmar. We flew via Bangkok because the Vietnam Airlines flights only go via Hanoi at the moment making a longer and more expensive option. Visas on arrival worked well, there was a wait of about 45 minutes and minimum commotion.

Bagan, Myanmar

It's all about stuppas:

Temple vista at sunset Bagan

Thousands of them

Stuppas soft light

Ploughing with oxen in Bagan, Myanmar

Main temple Bagan stuppa, Myanmar

Birds around stuppa Bagan

and Buddhas of course

Grin and gilded, Bagan, Myanmar

reclining and encarcerated

Sleepy smiling Buddha

And some goats.

Goatherd Bagan
Amazing and exhausting and well worth visiting.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Myanmar, Inle Lake

Feeling a bit out templed after the visits to Yangon and Bagan we spent a day just lazing on the deck of our hotel room and taking advantage of the spa treatments and books before taking in the attractions that Inle has to offer. In truth some of the nicest things are sitting quietly and listening to the silence or glow worm spotting but they don't make good pictures so here are some other attractions.

The deck where the lazing took place
Inle Princess Hotel deck.

The pace of life is slow and hanging about seems to be a bit of a local passtime, not that I'm complaining.


Waiting at the boat park on market day

Of course floating and rowing is a big part of life too.

Floating Monks on Inle Lake

boatmen b&w

Punks Not Dead

The biggest draw is the Leaping Cat Monastery where, it is alleged, lots of cats leap through hoops. Maybe they do in the high season but we saw one half hearted leap.

leaping cat

Sleeping Cat Monastery seems a more appropriate name

sleeping cat in monastry

sleeping cat monastry

However, it's a beautiful building and the views from the walkways are lovely

floating gardens Inle

And if you really need your cat fix you can visit a stilted cat centre where they are reintroducing the Burmese cat. They're friendly and will happily climb on you and purr like small outboard motors. Meals and coffees are served here too.

Burmese cats in Myanmar, Inle Lake

If cats aren't your thing what about a pig?

Pork Luncheon Eat

Pigs - usually found around the edges of markets for a purpose unknown and unexplored. I particularly liked the ubiquitous Myanmar Shopping Bag.

Shopping baskets at the market Inle Lake

and the dragonflies

dragonfly Inle

and the buildings

Inle domestic scene

and the twilights

Inle twilight

Safe to say, I liked it all, if you haven't had enough of other people's holiday snaps feel free to click on through to flickr where there are more, oh so many more.

Myanmar, Pyin Oo Lwin

Pwin Oo Lwin, previously known as Maymyo, was the British Hill Station during their occupation of the country. It now houses a lot of government organisations and military training centres on the approach roads including the enigmatic Internet City("nothing happens there" said the guide and I can't find anything about it on the internet but it's big and it's there). However the provincial city itself is pretty unchanged and the air is fresh and cool. It's a bit like Dalat with British colonial architecture instead of French.

Flowers are one of the biggest exports and they travel downhill on motorbikes or trucks
while uphill trundle the trucks heading for China - it's about a 10 hour trip from
where these pictures were taken.

Flower delivery

Big flower delivery

The colonial architecture is still very evident. This picture shows a house which is only
used for a few weeks of the year as a holiday home, that might explain why the croquet lawn
is in such a state.

Colonial building

Hillstations seem to bring out the enterprising in people, certainly the sign makers are taking full advantage of any opportunities to replicate well known companies.

Holiday Inn


Alas it rained so we didn't get a chance to see the Famous Flower Garden which was a real pity as it had a horse and cart constructed entirely from flowers at the entrance.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Mandalay in Myanmar

Mandalay in Myanmar, some of hundreds of pictures taken:

At a monastry in Mandalay, 1,500 monks queue for their main meal in silence
monk meal portrait

monk meal high contast

monk meal orderly queue

At a ceremony where novice monks enter the monastery for a short period

novice monk ceremony close up

novice parade retreating

Novice parade parents

Novice groupings

Mandalay is one of the centres of Buddha image creation, both bronze and marble

Bronze casting emerging Buddha

cracked casting

Marble Buddha factory

Buddha to go

Lots of colonial buildings but I'll leave you with the Post Office which is typically British and was also typically closed when we wanted to use it.

mandalay general post office
Thre are more, many, many, many more on Flickr, feel free to click through to them. I'll post pictures from Inlay, Bagan and Yangon very soon.