Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, also known as Golden Rock (star)
Offerings of all kinds--candles, incense, fruit, candy-- for the Buddha at Golden Rock.
Sunrise at Golden Rock
Buddha in Bagan. During the kingdom's height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed - over 2200 remain today.
Mohinga, a traditional Burmese rice noodle and fish soup, for breakfast.
Burning offerings for Buddha, Golden Rock.
Aung San Suu Kyi, on the cover of Ladies. Currently a Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma, she was previously a political prisoner, kept under house arrest in Burma for almost 15 years from July 1989 until her most recent release on 13 November 2010.
Sunrise over Bagan
A Ganesh, remover of obstacles, at the pilgrimage site of Mount Popa.
Traditional Burmese lunch at Inle Lake. Rice with toasted garlic, fish and vegetables.
Room with a view at Inle Lake, where most everything is built above water.
Wearing the traditional women's Pa'O headdress, crafted to look like a dragon. As the Pa'O origin story goes, that they are derived from a Burmese shaman, Zawgyi (male) and a dragon (female). Face is smeared with thanaka, a paste made from bark that cools the face when the breeze comes.
Fishing in traditional style at the entrance to Inle Lake. Word on the lake is that this is performed primarily for tourists, as they now fish with more modern gear.
Sunset over Inle Lake
A beautiful Pa-O mama and her baby.
Bagan temples galore
Sleeping Buddhas at Pindaya Cave, home to hundreds of Buddha statues.
Burmese noodle soup. For breakfast.
Burma punks, celebrating Pa-O National Day to remember ancestors, such as King Thuriyasanda, whose birthday is also celebrated on National Day, and past leaders.
Grand parade on Pa-O National Day
Myanmar (Burma)– What consumes most days:
Rising around 4am, to the sounds of chanting monks metallically over loudspeakers, much like the call to prayer.
Lying awake marveling at both the vastness and universality of the world (in spite of sub par internet, our guide recently deleted his Facebook page after he and his gf split and she married someone else. He couldn’t handle seeing pictures of them together, happy) wait for the sun to rise.
The sky starts to grey, and shapes begin to come into focus. The day arrives with a rising chorus of roosters and birds, presided over by a flaming pink orb. Generally we’ve found a vantage point from which to watch- whether it’s the top of an ancient temple or riverside.
“Afternoon is the evil time, the hours the Burmese call ‘the time when feet are silent’.” –George Orwell, Burmese Days
The days are ruled here by the sun, the temperature of the hour.
Breakfast comes in the form of a spicy noodle soup, Mohinga. I can’t shake the feeling that I’m getting away with something, like pancakes for dinner. The pulse of the day quickens and we abide, a lot of traveling to see things, by boat or by land, thousands of Buddhas, temples, pagodas, people and villages.
The people here are what make it so special. Open-hearted and warm. Smiles everywhere you look. People flocking to take pictures with a strange towering blonde foreigner. Afternoon, Orwell writes in Burmese Days (Harper & Brothers 1934), is the “evil time, the hours the Burmese call ‘the time when feet are silent’.” then the day mercifully begins to cool, sun sinking to a more forgiving place.
We retreat in view of it, tucked in somewhere for the night. Dinner is early, and so is sleep. It feels good to set your clock by the source.