Je bekijkt de reis...
Reisverslag Leaving Maesod
27 april 2015
I am in Myanmar now, for the third time actually, although I never wrote during my previous visits. This is a land of magic in which the time has stood still for 50 years, but it is also at the beginning of a transition. The same transition that changed the other countries in Southeast Asia from economically closed military dictatorships into corrupt civil dictatorships that are in name democratic - to attract foreign businesses. As everywhere, people seem to enjoy the prospect of becoming the latter, but I often wonder about the merits of the process.
The people of this country do not stop to amaze. Although the sight of Shwedagon Paya or Kyauk Talap Paya is already enough reason to come here, the people are the main attraction. An endless amount of stories can be told.
There was the cave temple of Kawthathaung near Hpa-an. In this cave I was admiring some beautiful centuries old white marble Mon buddha statue when an eager attendant decided to help me out a bit. Even though I tried to explain to him - in English - that my Burmese is not good enought to understand him, he insisted. Frantically pulling his hair with one hand and indicating at his bared teeth, red from the betelnut, with his other, he then gestured at the statue, all the way saying things in Burmese. At last I understood that he told me the teeth and hairs of holy men are enclosed inside the statues. He was not aware that this information might seem slightly morbid to me. He then dragged me into another corner of the cave, where a crack in the wall opened, hardly big enough to fit through. Nevertheless I managed to find myself in an incredibly hot and small room in the middle of the rock. The heat was produced by hundreds of butter lamps. In two directions smaller cracks opened and these were stuffed full of buddha statues, small and big. He started telling me another story but it was so hot I appologized and made my way out.
Then there was the taxi driver who lined the doors of his car with his old underpants, to make sure nobody could scratch the varnish. He took another passenger on the way to downtown Yangon, a lady who, upon seeing me, conjured up a banana from her handbag to offer it to me. Because foreigners need bananas, period. Yet the hospitality behind the gesture is incredible!
Or there was the guesthouse owner who, in his free time, outlined all pictures and photos in the pile of magazines in the reception room with pink or purple markers. This he did with extreme care and dedication, so that the rouge almost blended in with the pictures. Only after reading for a while you begin to feel that something is slightly off, then realize that all readables in the room have it. I was lucky enough to catch him in the act, else I would still be wondering why the magazines look so psychedelic.
And there are many more stories to tell about the people of Myanmar. Their naive curiosity and sheer friendliness keeps amazing me and the handful of other tourists you find here (really not many). Maybe next time I will write something about my adventures in the Indian embassy, because that is a chapter in itself. For now, love and regards from Yangon!
Foto's bij verslag (1)
27 april 2015 10:02 | Door: Edo de Roo
Myanmar ... oh ja, vroeger heette dat Burma/Birma ;-)
28 april 2015 17:54 | Door: Hanny
Oh...nu wel gelezen dus. As good as ever...you're a born storyteller and your memory is astounding