Wonderful country – Myanmar

We came into Mandalay, Myanmar- to a wonderful reception – unknown to us The Water Festival – and New Year.  Water festival is a 5 day celebration before New Year.  Essentially – the whole country comes to a standstill – shops/restaurants, offices closed  for a 5 day water fight.  Who doesn’t fall in love with a country that does that.  As we were told – the Burmese love to celebrate all festivals

Our plan was to leave today – and continue on to Vietnam – however – appropriate to the Water Festival – an unseasonable rain storm in Myanmar today – low cloud – low visibility and rain at times heavy – so no chance of getting N113MF up and over these surrounding mountains.

So instead of pictures of our journey into South Asia – I will share some shots of the wonderful country of Myanmar and Mandalay.  Our handler – Yamin – a lovely young woman from Mandalay told us that her father is a tour guide – so we spent a day and a half travelling with our handler and her father – Zaw.  Really lovely time – and so informative.  Myanmar is a country that is opening up to tourism – so we were able to see and learn things we wouldn’t have without them.IMGP0791.jpg

Just outside our hotel on Saturday morning – day 2 of Water Festival

IMGP0794

There were hundreds of trucks filled will people of all ages (although mostly young people) driving around with barrels of water – throwing it at people – and people on the streets throwing water back at the trucks.

IMGP0850

The water festival is a part of a cleaning ritual to welcome the new year.  Traditionally people would gently sprinkle water on one another as a sign of respect – but because it is the hottest time of the year – it has become people dousing strangers and passersby in vehicles in water.  The act of pouring water is a show of blessings and good wishes.

IMGP0800

It felt like such a festive – happy celebration.

IMGP0831

They were very friendly to Dylan and I – we got wet – but they ran up to us and poured on us – careful to avoid my camera:)

IMGP0806

IMGP0835

We drove to Bagan that morning and the water festivities continued the WHOLE way there – people on the sides of the road spraying all the vehicles – open trucks and motor bikes.  I am so glad we were in a van with closed windows.  People on the roads got absolutely soaked!

IMGP0865

This truck was full of people in the back:)

IMGP0797

I am so very impressed how women sit on the back of motorbikes!!

So many motor bikes here.  Actually Mandalay was once known as the “city of bicycles” however that that changed since the advent of motorbikes coming from China.  Motorbikes are cheap and so they have replaced the bicycles.

Zaw – our tour guide – primarily works as a tour guide around Myanmar and has his own company for bicycle tours.

IMGP1000

IMGP0903

We drove to Bagan.  Here is a picture with Dylan and Yamin and Zaw

IMGP0920

Bagan is an ancient city – during the kingdoms height between the 11th and 13th century over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed – over 2,200 temples and pagodas remain today.  Bagan is an important place for the people of Myanmar and it is expected that all Buddhists from this country come here at least once in their lives.

IMGP0930

Zaw took us to a place where they make palm sugar.  This is a picture of a woman boiling down the liquid gathered from the palm tree into a syrup.  Each pot the liquid is reduced and becomes thicker.

IMGP0933

The syrup being made into candy.

IMGP0938

The palm syrup is also distilled with rice to make a type of 35 proof liquor.

IMGP0944

Mount Popa – a best known pilgrimage site – that Dylan and I went to the top.  So many people here as it is a holiday weekend.

IMGP0951

And monkeys.

IMGP0982

Many markets up the steps to the top of Mount Popa.

IMGP0860

And of course the great food of Myanmar.

A final interesting fact of Myanmar – they work on a 8 day holiday schedule – one day off every week – falling on the 8th day – so it changes every week)

 

If anyone is interested in visiting Myanmar and is looking for a guide – for a tour but especially a bike tour – I would highly recommend Zaw (no last names here) – Bike Myanmar Adventures .  He is very informative – wonderful to spend time with – has been a tour guide for 20 years – and his English is perfect – so we were able to learn so much about this country from him. (in case you are interested in more information to contact him: zawzaw21@gmail.com)

 


3 thoughts on “Wonderful country – Myanmar

  1. Very interesting post! Wonderful to have connections to a personal guide, (and thankful that your camera stayed dry…we love your pictures).

    Like

  2. A much needed rest in the beautiful country of Myanmar. Thank you for all the beautiful pictures and communication. It adds so much more to your trip as we follow your flight with great interest. In my research of The Quest Aircraft Company I too have come to understand and respect what an outstanding aircraft the Kodiak will be for MAF. The founders of this great company had a truly mission oriented vision. One of its founders was the late Bruce Kennedy who I admired and watched closely as he lead Alaska Airlines as former CEO, here in Seattle, and also former Chairman of the board for MAF. While I do not have the technical expertise and training as a pilot, I have enjoyed reading my child hood buddy Fred’s expert analysis from his piloting perspective. My prayers continue for your safety for the remaining part of your trip and for your safe return home. You are truly heroes !!

    Jim

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s