After 19 days in Burma, I've managed to access Blogger at an internet cafe in Bagan. Blogger-hosted sites are firmly blocked throughout the country, and ironically my ability to update now is the direct result of routing access to the net via Saudi Arabia.
Truthfully, I'm not quite sure where to start with Burma. I've got a huge, swirling mass of memories to sift through, and more to be added in the remainder of my time here. Without question, my weeks in this country have been more than magical. I've taken a rickety, bumpy overnight train to the northern city of Myitkyina to attend a huge Kachin State Fair (in attendance: thousands and thousands of Kachin from around the world, and approximately 2 dozen tourists), where professional photographers took pictures of us tourists with the locals, for the locals to purchase later. A reverse-fishbowl experience! From there, a leisurely boat ride down the Ayeyarwaddy to Sinbo, and then a more adventurous leg to Bhamo where our boat broke down (twice) and we ended up stranded on the river at dusk, with no boats in sight to rescue us. Bonus: I now know the Burmese word for help. For optimal solar-eclipse viewage, I then took a 2 night slow-ferry back to Mandalay that included a serious karaoke-off with the captain (in English and Burmese!) and shots of bamboo whiskey with the crew. And I'm presently living glorious, bicycle-and-temple filled days exploring the thousands of stupas nestled into Burma's central plains. I am overwhelmed by the beauty of Bagan's ruins, with each turn yielding a new temple with its own colourful frescos, gilded Buddhas and crumbling stones to discover. These events are merely highlights, and the time and distance between them is replete with even more adventures, tasty food (and, sadly, food poisoning) and smile-inducing thoughts.
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