Saturday, September 24, 2011

BURMA {Myanmar}

The monday before I left Thailand I went up to Burma (Myanmar) for a day. By myself. With no cell phone. Probably not the safest thing for me to do ever but something I had to do. Especially since I was leaving on Wednesday and time was running out. I was supposed to go on Saturday but the tour guide that the group had been using was very hard to get a hold of. He is a Burmese man living in Thailand in a cave with monks and he rarely ever gets service. in a cave. with monks. So I finally got him to agree to meet me on Monday but I wasn't sure if he got my message about the time we were going to meet. But I took the bus 2 hours up to Mae Sai a northern border city that we go to a lot for the orphanage and DEPDC. And then I took a song tao to the border and waited near passport control on a bench for about 30 minutes. Then a man came up to me and asked if I was there for a tour with Saimoon. Yes I was. And so it began. Me and Saimoon on an adventure through Burma all day, as I rode on the back of a scooter with him. 

In front of the border of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Saimoon asked to take this picture for me, "good for remembrance," which was very nice of him and he continued to take pictures for me throughout the trip, without me even asking. 
it's monsoon season in southeast asia and it had been raining the two days previous to my visit so the market and surrounding streets were flooded, in some spots up to the knees. 
City of the Golden Trian

First stop: Buddhist nunnery. The ones in pink are Burmese and the ones in the light purple/white are Thai

They concentrate every body movement they make.

We visited a lot of small villages that day and all of them had a group of kids walking around or playing because it was a school holiday.

in Burma they wear cloth in the form of a skirt 


okay, orange means it's a monk but my impression was and still is that this person is a woman. so i am still confused on the gender of this individual. either way this person saw was very cute and shy especially since i took a picture of them washing. haha probably should've asked but there are some things you must sacrifice for the sake of the picture.

starving and a mother. somehow my problems don't seem so bad.
western puppies

small monks playing with puppies? adorable. 

so much trash everywhere. it was so sad. for the most part we were out in the country where it was beautiful but when we were in the city it was extremely poor and extremely trashed. i didn't take very many pictures of that aspect of Burma especially since i was on a scooter but it's the saddest place i have ever been and even though burma is a dangerous war-torn country i never felt threatened. however i did have bad feelings while i was there. it was a very seedy place where everyone was desperate to the point where they do what they can to survive. 

we also went to a cemetery where saimoon told me some very interesting life stories complete with some choice cuss words. saimoon was a drunk who would often sleep on tombstones. but now he has reformed. thank goodness for monks in caves.

baby butt #1

saimoon led me through some very tricky/slippery areas and when we would get to the really muddy spots he would have me hold on his towel just in case. 
in burma they put this off-white cream/paint concoction on their faces to protect their skin form the sun

baby monks!

buddhist temple again

the clouds in southeast asia are amazing

he also took me to a woodworking shop...

where we were served all kinds of fruit (mango, pomelo) with the salt mixture by...
this man. apparently he is the wealthiest man in the village and built up his fortune through his business.

then we drove up to another temple up on the mountain with a gorgeous view. this temple was heavily funded and therefore it was gorgeous. 

you can't really tell but there are monks bathing in this picture.

food offerings

it was just going to be me in this picture but saimoon decided he wanted them in it too haha they were timid about being in it and tried to resist but saimoon won in the end. 
love her.
me infront of the temple

every time i tried to take a picture of them they would run away...
so i put the camera down and snapped it secretly. my method for most of these pictures i took, and some of them actually look presentable. 
baby butt #2

another temple with a amazing view

for one of the upcoming festivals

saimoon explained what all these meant but i don't quite remember now, but he did go on a rant about how people who eat animals will be burned i think

sleeping people/monks

those piles of sand have significance for the upcoming festival but i have forgotten what that is
big holy tree

we also went to a chinese buddhist temple

chinese pagoda
and then we drove up the mountain to get a bird's eye view but it took a lot of effort to get up there. which includes driving through tons of mud in which we got stuck so saimoon had me get of the bike while he rode up leaving me to walk through the slippery mud and get very dirty. fun times. 

saimoon talking to some locals to ask for directions down the mountain minus all the mud. and again the clouds are amazing. 

first floor flooded of most of the buildings. which meant that most of the market was closed but i still managed to buy 66 movies all for around a dollar each. i have an addiction for movies so it was hard stopping. i was going to buy some fake ray bans too but i didn't really have time. because the border closes at like 5:30ish and the last bus leaves at 6 for chiang rai. 

overall i am glad i went to Burma. it was eye-opening and a great experience. i have never seen anywhere like it, but i don't ever wish to go back. the whole time i was there i just kept thinking about how i wanted to be back in thailand. but i made it home safely and survived burma all by myself without a cell phone. when i came back through customs in detroit on the way home the man looking through my documents saw that i went to burma and then proceeded to lecture me on how i shouldn't have gone to such a dangerous place and then got more mad when he realized that i didn't really care all that much haha, whoops. 

so that's it for BURMA. now onto the rest of Thailand. which should only be like 1 or 2 more posts! YAY!

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