A Travellerspoint blog

Myanmar

Rangoon at a Glance

sunny 37 °C

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This is one of the most iconic buildings in Southeast Asia – if not the entire world – and it’s a fair bet that you’ve no idea what it is. Had we taken this photograph a few years ago we would now be uploading this blog from the dungeons of a Burmese prison, because this is the building in which President Aung San and six of his ministers were assassinated in July 1947. Following the assassination the government locked the gates and threw away the keys. The entire Minister’s Secretariat complex, built by the British in the late 1800s when Rangoon was one of the greatest colonial cities of the Empire, has been abandoned ever since and until recently the military junta took a dim view of anyone photographing it.
Here is the entrance to another iconic building – the house of Aung San's daughter, Suu Kyi. The Nobel Peace Prize winner needs absolutely no introduction, but here is Sheila standing at the gates in the forlorn hope of getting one...
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There is a reason that Noel Coward wrote, “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun,” while travelling in this part of the world and, to quote a popular1970’s BBC Tv series set in Burma and India, “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum”. It may be the height of the cool season but it’s still a baking 37 degrees in the shade - and the Burmese certainly know how to find shade…
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It is only a few years since the military rulers released Suu Kyi from house arrest and began welcoming the world to her doorstep but, we are told, the changes have been dramatic. We were authoritatively, though quite erroneously, informed that we wouldn’t see western TV, we would have difficulty using the internet and that cellphones and ATMs were just a future dream. Well, the future’s here…
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Although many people already have their own cellphones, young ladies on every corner will happily rent you time on theirs…
If you are reading this you know that the internet works without censorship, (if you can’t read this then please phone the British/Canadian embassies and report our mysterious disappearance). And, when it comes to television – just how many satellite dishes do you need to bring the world to your doorstep?
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Tonight – Chinese New Year, Burmese style. See you tomorrow, (hopefully).

Posted by Hawkson 07:14 Archived in Myanmar Comments (7)

The Many Faces of Bali

sunny 36 °C

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After a stopover in Bangkok we have now arrived in Rangoon, Burma, (we'll stick with the old names to avoid confusion). But we couldn't leave Bali without introducing you to a few of the wonderful people who made our stay memorable.
This is Juny, our delightful maid, who taught us Balinese cooking and wept when we left...
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And this is Gede, the pool boy/gardener, who helped us look after Nina the dog...
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Here's a peanut seller in Singaraja market who was happy because we paid 10,000rp for a huge bag of nuts - that's just $1 ...
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But this old market lady looked as though she'd had a very bad day...
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This lady loved being photographed with her offerings...
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while this is our new found friend, Eti, who just loved being photographed...
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We have been surrounded by beauty throughout our stay in Bali. Even Tony's cows and calves are pretty...
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And this handsome young man was very keen to show off his flambouyant cockerel...
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Unfortunately it is a fighting cock, one of the many thousands that participate in one of Bali's less appealing pastimes.
We will miss the many beauties of Bali but most of all we will miss the Balinese themselves - especially the perpetually smiling children. Here's one little five year old with a smile to brighten anyone's day...
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The historic sights of Rangoon await us outside the hotel's gates - so stay tuned

Posted by Hawkson 02:00 Archived in Myanmar Comments (4)

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