Wedged between five Southeast Asian countries, this photographic journey of Myanmar recalls a golden age which emerged over one thousand years ago: monasteries with crimson-robed monks, Mandalay's Buddhist scripture thought to be the world's largest book, and the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda gilded in sheets of gold. Moved by its beauty, Somerset Maugham's description, "like a sudden hope in the dark night of the soul," is an apt allegory for the country today. Another Englishman, George Orwell, immortalized Burma in his novels and you will see remnants of British colonialism in the hill station town where he served, deep in exotic teakwood forests.
The irrepressible Irrawaddy River is the economic artery bisecting Myanmar. Travel by boat on the picturesque RV Pandaw and immerse yourself in the river culture, sharing food and festivals with natives from the country’s 67 separate ethnic groups.
On Inle Lake where most swim before they walk and live in houses on stilts, watch the Intha people compete in boat races, rowing with their feet.
You may ponder the future of this bewitching, fertile country which can feed its own population and ask if Myanmar’s authoritarian government will pull up a drawbridge to shield its celebrated civilization from the world.
|"It's a bit like going there and getting a great history lesson at the same time. I was not prepared for the sort of adventures you have had in these exotic places."|