Emplacement

What is Myanmar?

Aou 22

Just a few clues...

A few obviously striking things about Myanmar :

- both women and men, children and adults wear facial makeup.

tanaka

They put a tree pigment called tanaka all over their face and sometimes arms and go on the street, to work or to school.

- women and men, children and adults wear wrapper around their waist called lonji.

longji_ride 

- Monks - like Guillaume mentionned - are EVERYWHERE!

From early in the morning to late at night. A Myanmar man told me "If you throw a stone at night in Yangoon, you'll hit a monk". Yes, monks are not only devoted to Buddha and meditation. My dear Fabrice Dubesset, the ultimate monk-magnet, can testify.

 

- Myanmar is called the land of a 1000 pagodas. Buddhist pillars built everywhere, especially in Bagan. An ancient city that seriously competes with Angkor Thom, in Cambodia, when it comes beauty, landscape and temples.

 bagan

 

It is difficult to find any landscape in Myanmar without its load of golden pagodas. Yes, they are always covered in gold.

The average daily profit here for a teashop owner is 2000 Khats (1.5 USD) but still the population donates so much to the monks and the temples... That is what Buddhism is in Myanmar...

pagoda

 

How faithful are Burmese people?

This is how big their faith is here

 

buddha

 

- Myanmar is a former british colony. It is now a military dictatorship. Very little civil rights for the people, no press freedom. Forced labour, political prisoners (including a Nobel Prize winner), a massive army.

 

Quite a number of the roads, highways, buildings, train tracks and communication system used in Myanmar are those built by the British about 50 years back.

And thank god for that > from what people say in Myanmar, the state is unable to build anything  as good as this suspended train track.

 

train

The state tried to build a new version of this bridge but they failed. So now, trains run slowly, slowly on this old tracks

 

 

- Most of the Myanmar is still very rural

rural

This is what Myanmar's 3rd largest city looks like.

molemine

 

- a country where it takes you more than 10 hours to reach a point a stone-throw away.

You can travel in buses blasting buddhist preechings or Burmese Karaoke tunes, with no room leg and people sick throughout the trip or you can travel in pick-ups that break down every half hour...

 

picks_pu 

 

- Myanmar is, like Japan, one of those countries where you come to see, observe and discuss with the people more than to see the sights. And people in Myanmar, like people in Japan, are definately  worth meeting!

 

People in Myanmar are deprived from all their individual rights and still, they are the happiest and most friendly people I have met so far! Even in the most touristy places, restaurant owner, taxi drivers (generally the worse people on Earth according to me), guest house owners, shop owner and local people are the friendliest!

 

I met a French guy, Herve, you was followed into the bus by his cab driver because he had forgotten his 300 USD digital camera on the seat!

 

Like India, travelling in Myanmar will remain more of a life experience than a sightseeing visit. Here are a few the people I shared this experience with...

 

 

GUILLAUME TEISSEIRE

A good unvi friend from Paris, he came to meet me in Inle lake. What a strange place to come and spend two weeks summer holies, non?

inle 

 

 

This is a picture of Guillaume after a few days in Myanmar during rainy seaon...

 

w_g_up 

 

This was Guillaume's first time in Asia. Hope you liked it, man, it was "so not touristy"!

 

PM_g 

 

FABRICE "DOMINATOR" DUBESSET

Another Crazy story : I met  Fabrice Dubesset in Lagos, NIgeria 3 years ago. Then I was working for the French Embassy and he was working for L'Alliance Francaise. We worked together on an Nigerian TV program.

 

Years later, thousands of kilometers away from both Nigeria and France, in one of Inle's many guesthousees, I see a Zidane-looking stature standing right next to my room. There he is, once again, Fabrice Dubesset.

 

He's a 30 year old traveller in doubt > is he going to settle at last, get a flat, a girlfriend, a dog, then a kid? is he going to keep on travelling, packing and unpacking his bag? Can he find a girl that he can travel around the world with?

 

fab 

 

Funny, touching and in so many way a living paradox, Fabrice...

 

 

MICHELLE

White South African English teacher, leaving in Viet Nam. She wants to quit to become a writter... Lived in France, Greece, England and now in Viet Nam. Light and young hearted woman in her thirtees.

 

michel 

 

While we hung at with her in Kalaw, flower city, local people would ask us, the black man and the white women where we were from. And to their biggest surprise, the black man would say "I'm from France" and the white woman with red hair would add "And guess what, I'm from South Africa".

 

 

In Kalaw, as you are walking around, kids run up to you to offer you flowers, to welcome you. This with the greatest smile and generosity...

school_burma

 

 

school_burma

 

 

Myanmar is the land of the happy and friendly people.  I highly recommend you visit... Guillaume, do you agree?

 

 

w_g

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Re: What is Myanmar?

Image de Guillaume

Yo Wale,

je ne le dirai jamais assez, c'était un plaisir de voyager en ta compagnie. Je recommande cette expérience à tous les lecteurs de ton blog. Voyagez avec Wale : il a des capacités d'organisation, de négociation, de récolte d'info, de flair du mauvais plan, de connexion avec les habitants et les routards hors du commun.

Deux seuls défauts, mineurs : le sens de l'orientation d'un aveugle défoncé au crack, et une curieuse propension à choisir parmi dix charettes celle qui est tirée par un poney asthmatique qui n'a même pas la force de monter jusqu'à l'abattoir en haut de la colline, parmi cent trickshaws (un genre de vélo/side-car) celui du vieillard qui a deux fois l'âge d'Eddy Merckx (asthmatique, lui aussi).

A part ça, trois commentaires pour éclairer les photos sur lesquelles je figure.

1. Sur la photo dans le bateau. Contrairement à ce que pourraient laisser penser cette langue baladeuse et mon charme animal : Fabrice n'est PAS un prédateur sexuel prêt à se jeter sur moi.

2. Sur la photo suivante, lorsque Wale précise "picture of Guillaume after a few days in Myanmar during rainy seaon." il veut attirer l'attention sur les coups de soleil brutaux dont j'ai été l'objet. L'observateur attentif aura remarqué les jolies bandes blanches laissées sur mes pieds par la marque des sandales.

3. Enfin, sur la photo "à l'ardoise" il faut expliquer la raison qui me pousse à me cacher dans cette petite niche, et qui a permis de Wale de se foutre de ma gueule pendant tout le voyage (en plus de mes coups de soleil.) Le bouddhisme oblige à retirer ses chaussures pour visiter les temples, mais Bouddha n'avait sans doute pas prévu que la plupart des temples seraient pavés de briques chauffées à blanc par le soleil. C'est pourquoi j'ai passé la majeure partie de mon voyage à sautiller dans les temples en poussant de ridicules petits cris, les briques achevant de cuire mes pieds de Parisien, déjà rôtis sur le dessus par le soleil , sous les rires de Wale, me narguant de ses panards endurcis de routard. Et c'est pourquoi je passais mon temps à l'abri de petites niches ombragées.

A très bientôt, Wale, savoure la suite.

Guillaume

Re: What is Myanmar?

Image de visiteur

Salut les compéres,

Et bien je vois qu'on s'est laché! Bon Guillaume, je vois que ton site est en ligne, je vais y faire un tour de ce pas!
ps: tu as raison de préciser en 1
ps2: le texte du billet n'engage que son auteur!

A+!
fab (j'ai pas envie d'un chien!!!)



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