I don`t remember the name of this temple in Bago, what is naturally enough for schizofrenic , I just remember four Buddhas , watching in different directions and that this temple is very close to Bago Star Hotel.
So , there was a little boy sittin` on the bench , tradin` frozen syrop. He had a bronze handbell to press the customers . I liked it . He asked 4,500 Kyats for it , I bargained with 4,000 Kyats , we shaked hands on it , he took a look at me like at an idiot ( he was right ) and ran to his village to brag about .
Why did I want this handbell ? Schizophrenia , as was said.
But then my little son now playin` with this burmese handbell...
Be bored ? I`m not sure this is the apt words. I just know what will be not enough for me .
That will be not enough fo me these jolly or confused smiles of young walking girls with thanakha on their faces ; little kids , who are happy if you just wave them with your hand and say `Hello` or give them some sweets and then make photo ; when walking down the street monk for no particular reason asks you on his way ` Where are you from ?` and getting answer just smiles and goes his way...
That will be not enough for me these friendly shouts ` hello ! ` from driving fossil lorries , full of smiling faces , not enough for me when you are coming to the Zoo and all the faces turn away from rhino , gogglin` on red and curly chevelure of my wife with their open mouths.
And my dirty feet after visit another temple...
That will be not enough for me strict but just major from old Mandalay brewery , friendly and inquisitive lt.-colonel from Dagon brewery and hospitable and talkative owner of Bagan`s restaurant , who still remembers how one russian woman by name Nina saved his life and health many years ago...
That will be not enough for me people for whom money still are not the goal of their life...
That will be not enough for me these birds` singing , these impudent squirrels , stealin` my bananas ; heavy duty lei , shaking you in wooden cart and pouring your beer ; clever slogger elephants and , of course , snake`s blood...
Yes , I`m crying , because I see that life is spendin` and only God and Satan know about the next meeting with Golden Land.
I feel like jumpin` out from lei`s cart and they keep on their silent strange way now without me...
I was born and lived all my life in Russia,but I am sure now,that my horoscope didn`t lie to me that time - in previous life I lived in Burma , or what the hell I was doin` there third time and why this land directly connects with birth of my two childs ?
Kyay Zu Be , babushka Burma , and... and...
take my last Good Bye !
SEE YOU !!!
After breakfast we have some time to kill, so we go and sit by the pool, when the staff arrive with a large birthday cake with my name and date on it. They must have noted the details from the passports when we checked in. There is a large kitchen knife, plates and forks all decorated with pink ribbon. The birthday card has a picture of the hotel on teh front and is signed by all the managers. What a nice touch.
We force down a small slice each - I really don't like sponge cake - and leave the rest for the staff to share.
Fondest memory: Peter arrives early to take us to the RV Pandaw - with a birthday cake, hand made acrd and a present of several old Burmese coins. He must have overheard me saying yestrday that I collect coins. How sweet. I take the cake with me, and we have a small slice each in the cabin on board the boat before going for lunch. I really don't like sponge cake.
At lunch on the boat that day, dessert is - you've guessd it - a birthday cake! Fortunately, there are rather a lot more of us to share it this time, and I have just a very small slice to show willing. I REALLY DON'T LIKE SPONGE CAKE!
It certainly has been a birthday to remember!
In every guidebook and everywhere online it is said that the only way to have money in Burma is having crisp dollar bills. Well, it is the easiest way that is for sure. In all hotels and guesthouses you can pay with dollars. And sometimes you can only pay with dollars (for example the 3 dollar 'entrance fee' for foreigners to get onto Inle. Most of the time the bill doesn't have to be 100% new but i have had money refused because of a slight crease or because i had folded it without thinking about it (though luckily the customs officers at the airport don't make this a problem. I had put my money in my back pocket without thinking). Don't bring any CB-numbered bills. They can be exchanged but usually at a much lower rate (the national bank doesn't accept them since they believe they are forgeries). Have some large denomnitations since they give you a better exchange rate and some smaller denominations to pay for hotels, entrance fees and the like.
In Yangon and Mandalay you can exchange traveller's cheques. At May Shan (a guesthouse near Sule Pagoda) but they only accept TC from 50 $ and up and charge a hefty 25% commission. The Sedona hotels don't accept traveler's cheques anymore since they had too many problems with them. But the Eastern Hotel in Yangon does exchange them for 10% commission (8% if you stay with them)
Hotel Central in Yangon (and probably some other places) do exchange euro's, thai baht and even chinese Yuan. The rate is good too. You can exchange this also on the 'black market' but if you feel less comfortable doing this, go to the Central Hotel. The rate is quite good there and if for $1 -$2 you have peace of mind, it might be worth it.
Fondest memory: In case of real need (like me overstaying about a month and not having counted on and budgeted for that) you can get a cash advance on your credit card at the Sedona Hotels (visa and mastercard for sure not sure about the others though). Nowadays they can check the card online and you'll only have to wait a little while. Only on sundays & holiday days the service is not available. They charge 7.3% commission.
I wanted to pay ahead as much as possible to avoid carrying a lot of cash. To do this I booked and paid as many hotels as possible by credit card before arriving in Myanmar. The sites that were the most useful were: Precision Reservations, Asia Rooms, Direct Rooms.
These sites sent hotel vouchers which were then shown to each hotel on arrival. We did not encounter any problems with this method!
In terms of exchanging money:
You are able to pay for the taxi from the airport in US dollars. Make sure that you have enough small bills as they will not be able to change a US$100!! In fact, you will find that very few vendors can change a $100 bill. We changed our US dollars in US$100 lots at a time. The rate in Yangon (Central Hotel)was 1350 kyats to the dollar whereas in Bagan, Mandalay it was closer to 1250 kyats. In Inle suprisingly the exchange rate was 1350 kyats. Make sure you count carefully.
In terms of money and other things: this is taken from one of the official sites-
It is advisable to bring for personal expenses like meals, drinks, buying souvenirs etc. enough US$ in cash to Myanmar. You can use old and new US$ notes here in Myanmar. In case of using 100 US$ notes > ONLY new notes after 1996 will be accepted.
For banking reasons, we are unable to accept the following USD currency notes:
(1) CB serial numbers for USD 100 notes
(2) AB serial numbers for USD 50 notes
(3) Notes with "small head",
(4) very dirty and damaged notes
Very sorry for inconvenience, but this restrictions are done by the Myanmar banks, money changers and most Hotels here in Myanmar
You will need to do a bit of a balancing act as far as making sure that you are not left with too many kyats at the end of your stay. You will find that apart from very small vendors and paying porters most people will favour the American dollars but the exchange rate will be in their favour!!That is why throughout our journey we only exchanged between the three of us
Well Just imagine that you are living in a hermit like, insular country like Burma. The Government controls everything, from TV and Radio to Newspapers and Magazines.
The Burmese cannot just go into the nearest Newsagent and pick up their edition of Time, or buy a copy of Asian Wall Street Journal or the IHT. So bring in some 'contraband'. The People I met couldn't get enough.
Fondest memory: The Picture to the left shows some local guys, plus the tummy of a Child Monk sitting on the floor of a Budhist temple, reading my National Geographic (and my Newsweek) that they themselves fished from my Rucksack. In exchange the youngest Guy Ali gave me a tatty out of issue Kyat note that read 'Bank of Burma', legal tender before the Military Goverment came to power. A treasure for me, in exchange for a couple of magazines, treasures for them.
Burma was colonised by the British in 1886 and became independent in 1948. There was a brief period of parliamentary democracy when U Nu served as Prime Minister until 1962 when he was deposed in a military coup by General Ne Win. Apparently Ne Win didn't know what to do next. He's not an economist, not a scientist, not even a politician. He's a general. Since the coup, Burma has been a repressed country cut off from the rest of the world.
Ne Win began a policy of extreme isolationism, non-alignment and neutrality. He rejected investments by Western and other foreign governments, nationalized industry, banks, the import/export trade, and retail business.
To retain power through such tragic failure he used the skills he had as a general: fear, disappearances, murders, arrests, and torture. He is believed still to wield power.
During his brutal military reign the economy collapsed. Burma went from being the "rice bowl of Asia" to the distinction of United Nations Least Developed Country in 1987. It is now on par with Ethiopia and Chad.
Fondest memory: My parents were brought up in a different Burma and many of the older residents remember the good days with fond memories. They had very happy and fortunate childhoods. My parents had cooks, nannies and housekepers and houses with huge compounds. That sadly all changed quitre dramatically when they were forced to leave the country with not much more than the clothes on their back.
Who says money dont grow on trees ??? After my third trip to Burma, I beg to differ...
As you can plainly see the money trees are now in full bloom in Burma. This especially seems to be the case during Chinese New Years when this type of decoration is popular... (and their currency is next to worthless, so it dont cost so much to have a substantial "money tree" as a home decoration....)
I like photographing and I try to make the Galleray of my own
Fondest memory: Everlasting Love
People can see the quick separate, ending divorce, having affair, unfaithful, betray and inreliable love in every way. But you know the love of our own mother will not let suffer to their children because she is only one can give the greatest love.
To my mom (For Mother's Day)
Longyi Babes! You'll bump into them even when walking with your eyes closed! hahaha Eh?.... can't do that, that would defeat the purpose wouldn't it??? Duh!
Fondest memory: I'm so used to the western culture of sexiness , what with short mini pants, bared lovely baby fat mid-riffs, boob busting tight baby tees, low waistline D&G panty/tattoo baring hot pants etc. etc.(not that I'm complaining), so I never expected to see much of that in good ole' traditional Myanma to begin with. OK, OK too much MTV!
What greeted me were men & women in longyis(sarong-like wrap) & in abundance too! " Weird! ", I thought. "I never saw so many people dressed in their traditional clothing in everyday life before in my life!". "And why are the men in skirts? And what's that yellow thing the women smear on their cheeks?" I mumbled to myself...
However, 3 days later into my trip I was finding it 'odd' when I saw some Myanmese women in baby tees & tight jeans & the yellow smears(thanaka) were missing from the cheeks! Hmmmmm... By the end of the trip, I was totally convinced that LBzz are the sexiest on planet Earth! hahaha
This Myanmese sweetie plopped herself right in front of my camera after I had set myself up for a shot of the Buddha behind her & flashed me the cheekiest smile! I almost died as I never expected it from a Myanmese girl as they're normally quite demure & shy! Sacrilage!!(I forgot about the Buddha shot after!) ahahahaha I just hit the shutter release & this shot came out. She had turned away! Digital laaaaaaag...gack..gack... @#$##!?? She joined what I assumed to be her family in prayers right after the shot while I played football in the dusty courtyard of Sulamani Pahto with the camera as the ball....
Favorite thing: Spending some relaxing time in the Mahabandoola Garden is quite interesting. In the early morning you can watch groups of people doing Taichi and other exercises. The Old Town Hall is a pretty cool building as far as the coloring and architecture goes.
Favorite thing: All over Burma you can see Monks in the morning walking with their offering bowl. Local families and businesses will place food on top of the bowl for the monks to take back to the Monastery to be shared with the other Monks. Sometimes there are only 1 Monk and a couple of times I saw a couple hundred at the same time. Everyone seemed very giving.
Gold is the most precious metal. Yes, Myanmars love gold. Gold is used every where: pagoda, monasteries, accessories of the nobles, and so on. Most pagodas in Myanmar are covered with gold leaves, or for those who cannot afford use gold paint in the modern days.
When you get to Myanmar, or if you have ever been to Myanmar, this question will need not be answered. You will see golden things or gold-covered monuments in every direction you turn.
Fondest memory: Pagodas
Favorite thing: I loved the colored buildings and the style of the Architecture of Yangon. The areas around Sule Paya were the funnest for me. They seemed to be teeming with life and activity. Getting good shots of the buildings is a little difficult as the streets are quite narrow. A Wide Angle lense could help.
The amount of water that you can see on the picture came down in about an 1,5 hour. It started to become really dark and suddenly there was this enormous downpour of water. It was a fantastic view i have to admit but that was easily said since i was standing in the doorway of the hotel and didn't have to go anywhere. It would have been a lot less fun had i been walking around somewhere. It wasn't the only time we had little rivers in the street but the one time the water came highest (and down fastest). So be prepared for 'wet' circumstances. Have something like sandals or slippers (even though i can't really walk around in so much water with slippers unlike most Burmese) that can get wet without a problem. I do have waterproof boots but they are just not high enough for this level of water.
Then again, don't let this picture deter you if you want to come during monsoon season. Normally the water comes down fast but also disappears real fast. It rains maybe an hour or 2 per day and the rest it is perfectly nice weather for the remainder. With the odd exception of course. But in general it is not too much of a bother.
Kandawgyi Palace hotel is located on the shore of Royal Lake. I hope these pics will help you to...more
Myat Lay Road, New Bagan, Bagan, Myanmar
Good for: Couples
Great hotel, arguably our favorite in Myanmar. You can tell the owners put a lot of thought into...more
More Regions in Burma