28 November 2012

kite kids

About an hour before sunset in the town of Nyaungshwe, children come out and look to the sky, a spool and string in hand as they fly their fluttering fabric kites.

bagan

The temples of Bagan rise gracefully like haystacks out of the mist- ancient and earth toned, thousands dot the landscape in the flat plain of middle Myanmar.
Built in the 10th and 13th century, they were constructed by a Buddhist king in the town's heyday and then, for reasons unknown, abandoned for a couple thousand years and regarded as a ghost town. Every pagoda is slightly different, though Buddhas abound in most.

27 November 2012

burma

Burma. How else do you know and understand a place, until you visit it?
It could have been Africa, the Middle East or Asia based on the sights and smells around us. Women, faces covered in a cosmetic natural face paint, balanced baskets on their heads as they carried goods and groceries down dusty roads. Men chewed leaves and nuts from the betel tree and smiled toothy red grins as they watched traffic roll by. Monks in red robes scurried past, alms bowls in hand.

Now called Myanmar since 1989 under government orders, Burma is sandwiched between India to the west, China and Laos to the north and Thailand to the east. Like many countries it has had its share of fighting between north and south and tribes and sects, and the British and Japanese have had the most foreign presence there the last century. Since 1962 it has been primarily a socialist state military regime and along with a strict and one-sided government came unhappy people and unrest. A National League for Democracy was founded in the late 80s and led by revered Aung San Suu Yi. Free now since the late 90s, the country is inching towards democracy and progress.

26 November 2012

06 November 2012

chiang mai

Chiang Mai, Thailand, Night Bazaar


Chiang Mai (population 250,000, founded in 1256) is a city in northwest Thailand. While Udon Thani was a lot of village and Bangkok too much sprawling metropolis, Chiang Mai is just right.

The city is a mix of interesting history (it's still surrounded by a moat and crumbing fortress walls), lots of Buddhas and wats (temples) that add to the Asian flair, a slight European influence (with cafes and the odd jazz bar or beer garden here and there), it's very walkable, and there is lots of fresh and cheap local food.

Wall surrounding Chiang Mai old city